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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Arianna Huffington doesn’t do anything halfway–not even chilling out. When she appeared on the cover of FORBES in October 2010 the Web mogul was in the midst of a frenzy of activity that would culminate four months later in the sale of t he Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million. The merger was its own ordeal, with reports of stormy turf battles between Huffington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. 'We had to kind of transform HuffPost from a startup to a global media company without losing the startup spirit, and it’s not easy,' she says now. These days the 62-year-old Huffington is taking things a bit easier. Sitting in her homey office at AOL HQ in Manhattan, three months after a hip replacement forced her to take some rare downtime, she rails against the startup culture’s always-on-duty ethos. 'There’s this mythology around sleep deprivation and stress that it’s necessary for creativity and success,' she says. 'I think we need to burst this myth.' With the zeal of a convert, she has banned glowing screens from her bedroom, drinks ginger juice in lieu of morning coffee, uses a Jawbone Up bracelet to track her sleep and got AOL to install nap rooms for her employees.
Her obsession with balance is good business for AOL, whose advertisers prefer lifestyle and 'how-to' pieces over the liberal-tinged political news HuffPost is known for. Making more of it –like her new “GPS for the Soul” app for managing stress–is priority number one in 2013. She also wouldn’t mind winning a second Pulitzer Prize to match the one HuffPost nabbed last year.While her fellow HuffPost cofounders have gone on to create startups like BuzzF eed and NowThis News, the famously ambitious and protean Huffington is content where she is. 'If I was simply presiding over the same HuffPost, I would probably have that itch, but HuffPost is changing all the time.'" (Forbes)


"'Hanky-panky' is American slang for doing what comes naturally. On this Valentine’s Day week, I offer you Swoon, a book about great seducers—and why women love them—one I knocked off in an afternoon. It is author Betsy Prioleau’s third book about hanky-panky. (Her book Seductress examined history’s most powerful sirens.) Betsy Prioleau is the wife of probably the nicest doctor I’ve ever had, a New York gentleman whose only bad habit is having his practice in the city. What the author tells us is that rather than being cold lady-killers, Romeos love women. In fact they’re fools for love. I completely agree. The first requirement for a seducer is to be mad about the woman. In order to seduce in general, one needs charm above anything else. And one needs to adore women. Charm and persistence equal victory, but if those two fail, then try laughter. Make a woman laugh and you’re halfway home. These are Taki’s Tips, which are available to young men who subscribe to The Spectator or follow Taki’s Mag ...Aly Khan, the father of the present Aga Khan, was no slouch in the seduction stakes, either. A very good amateur rider and diplomat, he spent his time chasing the opposite sex, which was considered a worthy pursuit back then. He was killed in a car accident in Paris in 1960. A friend of mine, Aris, once told me that listening to a woman is the quickest way to her bed. In other words, there’s almost no female desire like the desire to be heard. I told him it was beyond me. When lightning strikes, I have to speak nonstop. I reminded him that a disagreeable, five-foot-four, bandy-legged morose type with a hump on his back by the name of Chateaubriand had mistresses flocking to him because he caressed them with his talk. His fame helped get the ladies, but mainly it was his conversation. He even cheated on his greatest love, Juliette Récamier, 'hymned as the loveliest woman in the world.' Good for you, François-René. At worst, with its ritual techniques of persuasion, seduction has something dishonest about it. Seduction, unlike a marriage proposal, can never occur between equals. One person usually wants it more than the other. Its inherent imbalance explains why in a way it is exploitive." (Takimag)



"Jonah Lehrer, promising young golden boy of Gladwellian think-journalism, has had a bad eight months. Caught plagiarizing himself last June; soon after, caught fabricating quotes, and forced to resign from his plum gig at the New Yorker, and rapidly cast out of the chosen fold to wander the wilderness as a sort of fallen angel. Even the Knight Foundation, which just this week paid Lehrer $20K for his big mea culpa speech, is already saying that it regrets doing so. Some are urging him to donate the money to charity. All in all, his no doubt meticulously-planned return to the spotlight has fallen flat. So lots of people in journalism are still (rightly) sickened by what Jonah Lehrer did. Great. What should become of people like him? Jonah Lehrer was not the first high-profile journo-criminal, and he won't be the last. The offenses vary—plagiarism, fabrication, lazy or corrupt reporting—and so do the aftermaths. All offenders suffer a period of universal condemnation, and all are fired, but what then? Some leave journalism entirely—Jayson Blair became a life coach. Some stay quiet for a while and then drift back into writing through outlets of either a lower profile or a different ideological bent—Judith Miller became a theater critic and Fox commentator. Others fall out of the public eye entirely—anyone talked to Janet Cooke lately? And some—if they are young, and promising, and polite, and have all the right friends, as Jonah Lehrer does—will try to rehabilitate their image enough to make another bid for their former media glory." (HamNo/Gawker)



"As dowdy citizens hunkered down to watch President Obama’s State of the Union speech, the oligarchs entrusted with dressing the nation spent Tuesday night celebrating what turned to be the busiest night of New York Fashion Week. The evening kicked off with a party for CR Fashion Book, Carine Roitfield’s lavish magazine. As a fleet of black luxury sedans idled outside the Casa Lever restaurant in Midtown, fashion and art luminaries like Anna Dello Russo, Giancarlo Giammetti and Richard Phillips sipped Champagne. Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records and several clothing brands, said he had recorded the president’s speech on TiVo. 'My dream is that he talks about the prison-industrial complex and how it destroys the fabric of communities,' he said.
The consensus was that this Fashion Week (with notable absences on the party lineup) had been unusually sedate. “We had too much of too much for too many years,' said Giovanna Battaglia, a stylist, who wore a Balenciaga top with netting that branzini could swim through. 'Instead of going so big, people want to be more intimate and reserved. It’s a natural swing.'   By 10:30 p.m., those in relentless pursuit of revelry migrated downtown to the Standard East hotel, where the avant-garde label Rodarte hosted a less button-down party. The graffiti-lashed basement teemed with a younger constituency in leather jackets, personality glasses and baseball caps (not for sports teams, obviously).  Designed by the Mulleavy sisters, the latest collection dabbles in tie-dye, Grateful Dead prints and other ’70s and ’90s stoner couture as homage to their childhood home of Santa Cruz. 'I think you’ve got to know it to recognize it,' said Laura Mulleavy. Her sister, Kate, was more helpful, using the 1987 horror film 'Lost Boys' as a reference point. But she found the weekend’s snowstorm bloodcurdling. 'I was really freaked out by the snow,' she said. 'I’m not really good at it.'        By midnight, the beautiful bloc had converged outside the other Standard hotel, in the meatpacking district. While pleading their way into the Purple magazine party, many complained that door policies were undemocratic. Upstairs, it was politics as usual: Olivier Zahm found candidates for black-and-white photos, Lindsay Lohan haunted a banquette, and slivery models mixed with grungy party regulars." (NYTimes)


"American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer Marcelo Gomes gave a rare look into how choreography is created with the help of ABT dancers Stella Abrera and Alexandre Hammoudi, on Monday February 4th in the studios of City Center at an evening called “Creating the Dance with Marcelo Gomes”, a benefit for Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). Over 200 guests, including Lisa Airan, Connor Whitney, Jennifer Chaitman, Arlene Cooper, Stephanie Foster, Heather Georges, Judith Hoffman, Karen Lefrak, Peter Lyden, Kamie Lightburn, and Libba Stribling, were among the delighted audience. This rare and fascinating peak into the collaborative process was moderated by Barbara Brandt and including composer Ian Ng, and musicians Dimitri Dover and Charles Yang. A spirited informal cocktail party with all the performers followed." (NYSocialDiary)

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