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Monday, January 28, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

 
 
"The joint appearance by President Obama and Hillary Clinton on 60 Minutes wasn’t about the Democratic nomination in 2016, as some analysts have insisted this weekend. Watching the actual interview Sunday night, I am certain it was about something both much more immediate and long lasting. It was President Obama using TV – and the folks at 60 Minutes happily allowing themselves to be used – to write the first draft of history on Clinton’s performance as secretary of state.
In a most immediate and partisan sense, it was Obama using one of the biggest tents in popular culture to slap down Senators Rand Paul and Ron Johnson for their insistence during the Benghazi hearing last week that Clinton was not worthy of the office she held. It was as if Obama was saying, 'You guys think you’re going to shape the perception of her tenure with your grandstanding attacks in a Senate hearing, watch this. I can have the biggest news audience in television, one of the biggest audiences in all of popular culture with this Top 10 show, any time I want it. CBS News always plays ball with me — ever since I gave them that exclusive with my ‘brain trust’ right after the election in 2008. This is how you use TV to write the first draft history. And, by the way, boys, it isn’t journalism writing the first draft, as you guys like to say. This is stage-managed, prime-time show-biz TV doing it.'" (David Zurawik/DailyDownload)
 
"At 83, (NYRB editor Bob) Silvers looks fit and well. He has an old-boy charm – today enhanced by a dapper suit and a loud, striped scarf – and radiates genial warmth. His favourite restaurant in New York, he says, is Perry Street, run by French restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but it’s been closed since superstorm Sandy. 'They’re drying out or something,' he laments. His second choice is EN, a Japanese brasserie he describes as 'very convenient' – it’s in the same Hudson Street building (a former printing press) as the NYRB. EN, which means 'destiny' in Japanese, turns out to be a large loft space with dark wood panelling and surprisingly low tables and chairs, which give diners the feeling of being very small. Silvers is interested in food only 'up to a point: frankly, I’m in the office most of the time, and people tend to bring me one thing or another ... ' he says, laughing as tends to in response to questions about himself. As an editor working at a literary magazine, I find Silvers’ work ethic inspiring, if hard to mimic; he is in the office seven days a week, often until midnight, where he keeps a bed in a cupboard. He edits every piece in the NYRB himself. Contributors speak of his long polite memos revealing an encyclopedic knowledge of even the most obscure subjects, as well as a disregard for normal working hours; many have stories of receiving clippings and queries from “Bob” in the middle of the night or as they sit down to Christmas lunch." (FT)
 


"On Saturday night over at '21' Charlotte Ford and her nephew and niece, Al Uzielli and Allegra Ford, gave a birthday dinner for 30 in honor of their mother and Charlotte’s sister Anne. This was a family affair with a few friends of Anne and Charlotte. Besides Anne and her son and daughter, that included Kimm Uzielli, Al’s wife, and their two young daughters (whose life in Los Angeles is a featured story in the latest Town & Country written by Georgina Schaeffer -- who used to be the Managing Editor at Quest under this writer). Also attending were Charlotte’s daughter Elena Ford and her three daughters and son; and the sisters’ brother Edsel Ford, his wife Cynthia and their four sons." (NYSocialDiary)


"Former Facebook president Sean Parker may not have made the confidential list of 2,630 world leaders, chief executives, and professional pontifs who ponied up $40,000/week–layoffs be damned!–to attend this year’s World Economic Forum. But 'the dean of the Davos party scene' still delivered.
Mr. Parker’s fiancée, aspiring musician Alexandra Lenas, gave birth to their daughter, Winter Victoria Parker, earlier this month. But fatherhood doesn’t seem to have slowed down the party hardy billionaire. On Friday, he hosted a VIP party attended by Marissa Mayer, Dan Loeb (the hedge fund founder who helped install her at Yahoo), business insider Henry Blodget, Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales, and a bearded, grinning Lloyd Blankfein. The event, billed as 'Future Of Philanthropy Nightcap,' was cohosted by Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff and London-based 'PR supremo' Ian Osborne and featured performances by John Legend and Mark Ronson." (BetaBeat)


"When it comes to success stories in the entertainment world, it doesn’t get much better than the one about a pair of regular guys from Colorado, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who took cutout paper dolls, animated them and triumphed on cable television, on the Web, at the multiplex and on Broadway. Last week, Mr. Stone arrived at a coffee shop in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York so bundled up that he resembled Kenny, who always shows up on 'South Park' encased in a big orange parka. He was leaving the next day for London, where the fourth production of 'The Book of Mormon' will soon begin a run.   Over the course of 16 seasons and 237 episodes, 'South Park,' an assault on good taste built on the misadventures of four crudely animated and crudely spoken boys, has entered every pore of the culture. In the meantime, the two creators have helped put Comedy Central on the map, made four feature films, produced a sitcom and landed a Broadway hit with 'Book of Mormon,' produced by Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino and created along with Robert Lopez. Now Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker are about to finish a video game version of 'South Park,' and they recently announced that they were forming a production company called Important Studios, valued at $300 million. The success of 'South Park” is a stark lesson in the fundamentals of entertainment: if you tell stories that people want to hear, the audience will find you. This is true no matter how fundamentally the paradigms shift, or how many platforms evolve." (David carr)


"Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter still evoke the verbose sophistry of Sartre, although the tourism and jewelry trades have replaced the rendez-vous des intellectuels. Yet the sheer stunning beauty of the 7eme reminds one why Paris is still the most romantic capital of Europe, the city Papa Hemingway called a fine place to be young in, the city that’s a necessary part of a man’s education. Late at night I walked the empty cobbled streets thinking of the art movements born in these sidewalks: Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism—you name the ism—and when Paris was the place to meet great artists, where Dali, Max Ernst, and Joan Miro embraced surrealism and other foreigners such as Chaim Soutine, Modigliani, and Giacometti went their own Parisian way. No other city in the 19th and 20th century can boast such a concentration of talent, with the greatest Americans such as Papa, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Ezra Pound, and Henry Miller thrown in for good measure. Yet as I walked the streets where these great men had paced long ago, my mood was a sad one, as was the occasion of my visit. My close friend of over 55 years, Jean-Claude Sauer, had died in a military hospital of complications for which we can thank Uncle Sam’s spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam. I have often written about Jean-Claude. He was for 45 years the number-one photographer of Paris Match. Our friendship had begun in a smoky Paris bistro back in 1958, just after he had returned from military service in Algeria. JC, as the Americans called him, was a paratrooper who had served with distinction in that savage war of peace, as Alistair Horne was to call it in his definitive book of that conflict. Jean-Claude had caught the bug of combat and went on to Biafra, Vietnam, Yemen, and back to Algeria, taking pictures while always pursuing the fairer sex come hell or high water, as they say in Wyoming. (Where for a while he owned a farm until boredom almost killed him.)" (Taki)

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