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Monday, December 10, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Over the last four years, many commenters have labeled President Obama a foreign policy realist (see also hereand here). At first, I scratched my head at this appellation being applied to him because 1) I heard him speak and watched him act; and 2) I know by reputation and in some cases professionally and personally his foreign policy and national security staff and few of them strike me as realists. While most analysts and pundits continue to call him a realist (methinks they do protest, more on that below), some are lamenting that he appears to be 'slipping' into a more Wilsonian mode, and heaven forefend, a Bush 43 mode. I'm not quite sure what is going on here, but I can speculate: 1) these commenters are trying hard to give a president who is criticized for not caring much about foreign policy something to hang his commander-in-chief role on; 2) they are trying hard to be sure that their man in the White House-oft-criticized for apologizing for the United States and relying too much on the United Nations-is not called an idealist, a term that is held in derision by some; or 3) they are simply still attacking President George W. Bush over Iraq because they cannot get over it and see 'his' war as the ultimate violation of realist doctrine; that is, Bush invaded Iraq to change the nature of its government, Obama has invaded nowhere to do such a thing. This latter argument would fall into the category of the ongoing claim that 'our guy is not your horrible guy.'Let's look at the tenets of realism and see if President Obama lives up to them." (ForeignPolicy)


"Until recently, politics in Morocco involved red carpets and speeches in high Arabic that the average citizen could not understand. But on a campaign swing this fall through a working-class area of this port city, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane stood on a makeshift podium in a muddy vacant lot. He spoke without notes, kissed babies passed forward by the crowd and promised, as he has done all along, to fight corruption and return the government to the people. 'We will get stronger with the help of God and accomplish what we wanted,' he told the crowd, which roared its approval. But more and more Moroccans are questioning his ability to do that, wondering whether Morocco’s version of the Arab Spring brought anything more than cosmetic changes to this impoverished country, which has been one of America’s most stable and staunch allies in a region marked by turmoil.  A year ago, it seemed Moroccans were giddy with the sense that they had found a gentle, negotiated answer to the popular uprisings in the streets." (NYTimes)


"Grey and rainy weekend with day time temperatures reaching up into the low 50s.We lost two prominent and popular New Yorkers last week: Mona Ackerman and Saul Steinberg. Mona, who was only 66 when she died this past Wednesday (12/5/) after a long battle with ovarian cancer, was known professionally as Dr. Mona Ackerman. She was a practicing psychotherapist and also wrote an advice column for the Huffington Post called 'Dr. Mona Knows' ...  I wouldn’t characterize Mona in any way as a party girl. Although she had a spectacular venue for such and used it advantageously at times. She just loved people, and there are many today who will always remember her for her hospitality and her welcoming presence. On that particular night, Mona’s neighbor and friend Georgette Mosbacher was giving a holiday party also a few floors below chez Ackerman. So they’d put up a sign (along with coat racks in the lobby). The party ran from 6 to 9. The block between Fifth and Madison was gridlocked from the limousines double-parked. Hundreds came and went, shuttling between Ms. Mosbacher’s and the Ackerman apartment ... Two days later, last Friday, Saul Steinberg, the legendary entrepreneur and financier, also died, in his sleep at his East Side townhouse. (It so happened that his mother Anne, in her mid-90s, also died on Friday at her home in Florida, unaware of her son's passing.) Saul was 73 and although his health and mobility had been seriously impaired seventeen years before in 1995 when he suffered a stroke, he had otherwise been in robust health. I had been a guest of him and his wife Gayfryd only this past Thanksgiving when there were 27 at table, only two of whom – myself and designer David Monn – were not close family members. Saul sat at the head of the table, as he always did, and was in a cheerful mood, jovial in the paper crown that he’d acquired from the party favors that were placed by everyone’s plate: King Saul presiding over his loyal subjects (family and friends)." (NYSocialDiary)


"Perhaps the age difference was too much this time — art dealer Vito Schnabel has called off his short-lived fling with Demi Moore after she joined him at Miami’s Art Basel. Page Six can reveal Vito, 26, broke things off with Demi, 50, after she arrived in Miami last week to party with the stars at the busy art fair. One source told us, 'Vito has worked very hard to be taken seriously in the art business, and doesn’t want to be seen as somebody who dates celebrities. He hated having photographers follow him around after word got out about him and Demi.' The source continued, 'And Vito wasn’t too happy that Demi flew down to party at Art Basel while he was working to build his business. It was a distraction he didn’t need while all the big collectors were in town.'" (P6)


"In the immediate wake of the election, Republicans felt so stunned — in no small part because they had deluded themselves into expecting victory — that it seemed momentarily possible that the party’s long march to the right may halt or even reverse. But the future of the party is already taking shape, and that future will be, in some form or fashion, a conservative reaction against the Republican leadership that has sold them out. The smarter Republicans have already shaken off the trauma of electoral defeat and begun positioning themselves to capitalize. One important indication comes from National Review Washington editor Robert Costa, who writes today about Tom Price. You may not have heard of Price, but the conservative House member is conferring with Grover Norquist and right-wing members of the House, and setting himself up to challenge John Boehner in the event of a budget deal. Boehner earlier this year offered Price a leadership position on the condition that he offer full support to Boehner, a condition Price tellingly rejected. Costa quotes a Price ally, who hilariously tells him Price 'is hoping for the best, hoping taxes don’t go up with any fiscal-cliff deal.' This is hilarious because this is tantamount to saying Price is hopeful the sun won’t rise tomorrow morning, but if it does, he may have to challenge Boehner. But the truest indicator of the future of the party is Marco Rubio. The most unabashed of the 2016 candidates, Rubio is extremely skilled at discerning what his party wants and positioning himself as the man to give it to them. Last week, Rubio spoke at a party event in New York, a speech that prompted New York Times columnists David Brooks and Ross Douthat, whose defining trait is to always see a Republican moderate around the corner that never arrives, confidently predicted a Republican moderation yet again. Each cited Rubio’s speech, a paean to the party’s future as the shining beacon of hope for Latinos, the poor, and other problematic constituencies." (NYMag)


"Why do so many respectable newspapers and magazines go weak at the knees the moment an unreadable autobiography of some illiterate rock star is published? I guess no hack, however literate, can resist dropped names, or perhaps it is simple hero worship—tout court, as the French say. I’ve never read a single one, only some reviews, and they leave me absolutely cold. So they took a lot of dope, slept with lotsa groupies, and then trashed the hotel suite. Big deal. Seen and done that, and it’s no longer fun. But give me something well written about someone I met, however briefly when I was young, and I’m hooked. Elsa Maxwell, for example. I just read Maxwell’s How to Do It, and it sure brought back memories. Top Anglo-Saxon society types, especially in New York, turned their noses up at her, but European socialites enjoyed the action at her parties, and she was a fixture in Venice and Monte Carlo  ... I used to see her at El Morocco and various chic parties on the Riviera back in the 50s, and she once told me not to look as eager as I did when meeting some sweet young thing. It was good advice, but I never took it because good advice is useless when one is very young. Maxwell was born in 1883 and died in 1963, just as the horrible 60s were becoming the vogue. She was a gossip columnist, radio and television personality, and a party-giver extraordinaire. Rich social climbers used to pay her to throw flamboyant bashes, parties that would include minor royalty—always the Windsors—and luminaries such as Onassis and Callas. Maxwell’s great crush was la Callas, an unrequited love to be sure, and fans of la diva still curse Elsa for introducing her to the Greek tycoon. Elsa grew up in San Francisco and her childhood was hardly humble, a fact she denied later on, posing as a poor girl who made it in society through talent and grit. She sang and played the piano in the manner of Princess Margaret and would shout at people to be quiet while playing, just like the Princess. She had great enemies such as Lord Beaverbrook and many friends, including Cole Porter and Marilyn Monroe." (Taki)


"The drama over acclaimed artist Peter Beard’s work continues. We reported that Beard’s wife, Nejma, has started tightening the reins on his valuable works, many of which he gave as gifts to New York and Hamptons friends, party pals and club and restaurant owners over the years. Now we’re told that Nejma kicked up a stink about Peter’s work hanging at Nello Balan’s Upper East Side restaurant, with a source saying, 'Peter’s work is hanging in the restaurant and [Balan also] owns other works. She claims that Nello has copied these paintings and sold them to others. But if she had proof, wouldn’t she have sued him?' But Nello told us, 'I respect Nejma. It’s more than normal that she’s trying to protect her husband’s interests. She wants to make sure Peter’s art is properly distributed. I have been Peter’s friend, and I have been showing his art for years on Madison Avenue. But I own my artwork. I bought the paintings 25 years ago.' Asked about Balan, Nejma said in a statement, “The Beard Studio will not tolerate the unauthorized copying of Peter’s work.'" (P6)


"THE LAST time I saw New York’s A-List event-planner Peggy Siegal, she had just gotten off a plane from L.A. and was rushing into the star-studded screening of 'Les Miserables.' “I was in L.A. for four hours. Now I’m here. I think I’m getting pneumonia, oh wait — I have to talk to Russell Crowe.” And she was off. Later, looking much refreshed, she changed into a denim and plaid-shirt get-up, like some glam farmgirl. That’s Peggy, a continual tornado in stiletto heels. Now, here is Peggy again, in the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar, interviewed by Derek Blasberg. They give her four fab pages — including an incredible photograph of her from high school, as captain of her twirling team. (What, you think she could ever have been 'just' a twirler?)  The piece is full of great observations about Peggy and hilarious quotes from her, including this: 'I’m 65, but probably look 55. That’s not by accident.'" (Liz Smith/NYSocialDiary)

"One of the highlights of coming to Miami during Art Basel, aside from the art, of course, is the smorgasbord of fabulous pool parties. We dipped into several throughout the week: Our favorite so far, which exceeded all expectations, was NADA and Friends and Family's day-into-night bash at their Deauville digs on Saturday, produced by writer/photographer/man about town Johnny Misheff. The pool area was decked out with creative installations, including an array of linked blow-up dolls with masks around the hot tub, Scott Ingram's floating cinder blocks, and a boat designed by Justin H. Long, Timothy Stanley and P. Scott Cunningham. Reportedly before we arrived, they used the boat to present a Norse funeral for drowned poet Hart Crane in the pool. There was a tricked-out custom DJ vehicle designed by Cyril Duvall, where DJs like NguzuNguzu and Tim Barber took turns on the tables. Dent May and his band played live after dark. The best and most bizarre part came at dusk, when Genevieve Belleveau and Labanna Babalon of Korakrit posed on a pedestal in the center of the hottub, sporting layered thongs and head-to-toe yellow body paint, while onlookers (including several babies and children) gawked at the colorful spectacle.Flavorpill brought their Lunch Break series to the Fontainbleu hotel for three days, complete with sack lunches, Absolut cocktails and DJs including Casey Spooner." (Papermag)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

someone should tell her that he plans on using Peter Beard's artwork at the other restauarnts he is opening outside the country.