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Monday, February 11, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"It took about all of two minutes after Pope Benedict XVI announced his impending resignation today for the speculation about his successor to begin, and so far, overseas bookmakers are picking two black cardinals, Ghana's Peter Turkson and Nigeria's Francis Arinze, as the front-runners. Ladbrokes and William Hill have both put Turkson and Arinze in the top two spots, odds-wise, while PaddyPower has them tied in second behind Quebec's Marc Oullet. Obviously, the selection of the first black pope, following about 2,000 years of nonblack popes — for comparison, Obama broke a streak of a mere 220 years — would be a momentous occasion for the Catholic Church, and for racial progress in general. But don't get too excited just yet. The bookmakers don't really have any idea what they're talking about. If the name Arinze sounds familiar, it's because he was also a top pope prospect during the last papal vacancy, in 2005. Along with Italy's Dionigi Tettamanzi, Arinze had the best odds of becoming the next pope according to PaddyPower. Experts at the time pointed out that Africa was Catholicism's fastest-growing region, that the reign of the Polish John Paul II — the first non-Italian pope since 1523 — had set a precedent for geographic diversity, and that Arinze had the relevant experience of being the Vatican's liaison to the Muslim world for nearly two decades as the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. And yet, when the white smoke appeared fifteen days later, it was Germany's Cardinal Ratzinger who had been elected pope. PaddyPower's initial odds had placed Ratzinger in fifth. The rationale for electing a black pope in 2005 is as valid today as it was eight years ago." (NYMag)


"To paraphrase Shakespeare, nothing became the papacy of Benedict XVI like his leaving it. I mean that as more than a backhanded tribute. How much suffering has mankind endured at the hands of leaders who could not bear to relinquish power, either because they feared the personal consequences of letting go or because they genuinely considered themselves indispensable? How rare are the big men who accept the verdict of time? In the Catholic Church they are once-in-six centuries rare. I have a soft spot for powerful people who know when to step down, and Benedict deserves respect for that. The first reaction will be, understandably, to search out the back story, the real story – the undisclosed carcinogenic time bomb, the incipient Alzheimer’s, the impending next wave of scandal that pushed him from the pontiff’s chair. Dig away, but I will not be surprised if his own straightforward explanation holds up: 'in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of the faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me…' Given the bookish, precise intellectualism of this pope, I would bet it was the 'strength of mind' more than physical infirmity that convinced him he could not, at 85, keep up with the challenges." (Bill Keller)


"Sir Roger Moore told the Sunday Telegraph that he enjoys the slow pace of life in Switzerland. As do I. One cannot have too much of a snowy peak under a blue sky any more than one can have too much of Schubert. Looking out from my bedroom window all I can see are pine forests, rock cliffs, and snow. Not a bad scene for the winter blues. Yes, nature has been degraded, with chalets being built ever higher in the mountains, but I can take it. After a heavy snowfall everything is still and serene. Greed takes a back seat, and the only sounds one hears are those of the skis beneath him. I cross-country ski during February, the worst time to be in Gstaad because the 'chic' people arrive en masse ready to party. After 55 years as an Eagle Club member I am putting my name up for the committee to try and stop the barbarians at the gates. I am a long shot, as some of my views are considered extreme. Such views include banning non-skiers, or at least not giving them access to the good tables on the terrace. I also would like to see the old and the ugly banned from the club on weekends, but as someone pointed out, that would be self-defeating. Oh, well; I can always start my own club, which I am seriously considering." (Taki)


"From the Ayse Wilson opening I went back uptown to Michael’s where Michael and his wife Kim were celebrating their birthdays. Both born on February 10th. Michael has a few years on Kim and this year was what some people think (when they’re younger) was a milestone year. The evening was a big dinner for sixty in the Garden Room (the dining room was very busy too, very cozy and intimate with the candlelight and the new menu). I couldn’t stay for the dinner but the hors d’oeuvres were being passed generously and guests were arriving. Michael introduced me to Blythe Danner. The McCartys have a wide array of good friends whom they see on both coasts. Michael, of course, is a gourmand, to put it mildly. His idea of a good time is a feast with great wines, lots of things to savor and indulge in, capped off by some guitars jamming. Everyone feels right at home as a result. I had to go off to another dinner (a birthday too, for my old — but very young looking — friend Marianne Harrison, but I know I left a wonderful dinner and party behind." (NYSocialDiary)


"Even in the dead center of a Paris winter, when the sun hasn’t been out for hours, if not days, Olivier Zahm’s eyes are all but invisible beneath the Coke-bottle-thick prescription amber lenses of his Ray-Ban aviators. Seeing him in public without them would be like spotting a unicorn in the Jardin du Luxembourg.'I like the look,' he explains. 'I also have a problem with migraines. I’m sensitive to the light. But the world is much more beautiful in color.'Zahm is sitting at his desk in his office on Rue Thérèse, a few blocks from the Palais-Royal and just down the street from the apartment he shares with his girlfriend, designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi, and their 6-week-old son, Balthus Billy. 'I’m not a baby fan,' he says, 'but when you have one, it is very joyful. I change diapers. It takes two minutes.' From a desk drawer he pulls out a rainbow assortment of other glasses. He removes the amber ones, and his eyes are momentarily visible. He squints. 'Do you like purple?' he asks, quickly slipping on a violet pair. 'It helps. You have to protect yourself from the ugliness and vulgarity all around us.'At 49, Zahm, with his sunglasses, bed-head, and motorcycle jacket (today, a Rick Owens), is a glittery, grungy subspecies of celebrity editor. And unlike his more famous peers—Anna Wintour, Joe Zee, Anna Dello Russo, Grace Coddington—he has achieved this status despite never having had a reality show, run a Condé Nast title, or trotted around with a pineapple on his head, as Dello Russo is wont to do. As editor and creative director of Purple Fashion magazine, a 75,000­circulation biannual publication (only available on import for $40 an issue in the U.S. at specialty newsstands), he has established himself as one of fashion’s more influential taste­makers by relentlessly promoting sex in fashion, and fashion as sex. If many women’s fashion magazines almost seem to decouple sex from libido, Zahm can’t stop thinking of ways to fuse the two." (NYMag)


"Essence axed its fashionable editor-in-chief, Constance White, the first day of Fashion Week, Page Six can reveal. The Time Inc.-owned magazine, which recently laid off 500 people in a cost-cutting move, dismissed White on Thursday after two years at the helm, we’re told. White’s staff drew some controversy during her tenure — a white male managing editor was reassigned to another division after his Facebook page revealed racially charged comments about the Rev. Al Sharpton. And Australian-born fashion director Ellianna Placas, who was the subject of protest when she was hired at the African-American-targeted mag in 2010, was let go a year after White took over. On Friday, an Essence rep confirmed White had left the company and said executive editor Vanessa Bush would serve as acting managing editor." (PageSix)


"After the break Howard (Stern) came right back and said Jason Bateman has been around Hollywood for like 100 years. Howard said he started acting at 12 years old. Robin said he's a good looking guy. Jason said he wishes he was a great looking guy. He said Howard is. Howard said Jason is in good shape ... Jason said there are so many things to do in New York and it's not the same out in Los Angeles. Howard said he knows how insane he became going to other cities when he was starting out. Jason said that fueled his ambition though. Howard said Jason knew he had talent though. Jason said he appreciates it now and he works so hard.  Howard asked Jason if he was rejected from movies that would have revived his career. Jason said nothing comes to mind. He said there were some things he almost said no to that he's glad he didn't. Juno was one of those things. Jason said that he read the script and he was in a weird mood at the time. He said no but then they went to another actor and they got 2 weeks away from shooting and that actor sent a text message to Jason Reitman saying he was out. Howard asked who that was. Jason said he can't say who it was. Howard said that guy has to be kicking himself. Jason said he'll write it down. Jason said that Jennifer Garner told him to go back to Jason and see if he would reconsider. Jason said she wanted him to play the part so he reread the script and what sealed the deal was his daughter being colicky and screaming crying so when they told him that the shoot was 3 weeks, he said he was in. Jason said that Juno was a great thing for him. He said that it made like $150 million and they shot it for $7 million. Jason said he got a taste of the gross on that. Howard said he still gets a check from that. Jason said he does. He said he's very grateful for that." (Marksfriggin)


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