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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"In David Marsh’s book The Euro there is a hilarious cameo of Margaret Thatcher in Strasbourg in December 1989. This was the European summit where West Germany and France agreed to create the euro. But Thatcher’s mind was on greater things. The Berlin Wall had fallen, she’d been reading books about the origins of Europe’s 20th-century wars, and in Strasbourg her mission was to block German reunification. 'Twice we beat the Germans,' she told the other government leaders at dinner.'Now they are there again.' Meeting the French president, François Mitterrand, at the summit, she pulled maps of Germany’s pre- and postwar borders out of her handbag, writes Marsh. 'Pointing to Silesia, Pomerania and East Prussia, she told Mitterrand: ‘They’ll take all of that, and Czechoslovakia too.’' I spent most of the Thatcher years outside the UK. I could see that she fascinated foreigners; she (and her handbag) lodged in the minds of even quite apolitical people. But if she personally seemed larger than life, it was an optical illusion. The mark she left on geopolitics was modest. And especially over Germany, her worldview sometimes led her into disastrous misjudgments. Thatcher could never forget the outsize stature Britain had had in her youth. Born in 1925, she came from the generation whose formative geopolitical moment was standing alone against Germany in 1940 after continental Europe had caved. When she first stood for parliament in 1950, the UK still considered itself a superpower planning to hang on to its sizeable empire. She always seemed to believe that, with a bit of willpower, those days could be brought back. Just before becoming prime minister in 1979 she warned that, unless Britain changed,  'our glories as a nation will soon be a footnote in history books … lost in the mists of time, like Camelot'. Projecting Britain globally was, in her mind, inextricably linked with projecting herself globally. She became an international brand. Few foreigners noticed the passing of other recent British prime ministers (in Jim Callaghan’s case, few Britons noticed either), but her death is world news." (Simon Schama)


"Although they have since become a crucial element of modern society, in many ways newspapers were just the best packaging and delivery mechanism for information we had available at a certain point: a way of aggregating everything from local election coverage to foreign reporting. Now, of course, we have an almost unlimited ability to create, package and distribute our own content — and that means journalists and even those involved in news events can reach an audience directly. What if more media companies thought of themselves as platforms for helping that to occur? That’s one of the ideas contained in a new book from Nicco Mele, a lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School who acted as operations director for Howard Dean during his 2004 presidential race. In the book, entitled “The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath,” the author looks at how the social web and digital technology in general have altered the balance of power between the individual and the organization. And in a recent piece at the Nieman Journalism Lab, Mele argues the same thing is happening to the mediaAs Mele suggests in his piece at the Nieman Lab, many traditional media organizations not only don’t help their journalists make use of social tools to connect with their readers, they actively discourage it with restrictive social-media policies. But what if they tried to enhance that connection and build on it — and perhaps even tried to share in the monetization of it? ... This is the essence of the “personal paywall” that I tried to describe in a recent post: the idea that individual writers are what increasing numbers of readers are connecting with and seeking out — not impersonal media brands or institutions. Why not provide Nate Silver or Nick Kristof with as many tools and resources as possible to make that easier? The New York Times is clearly thinking along those lines, according to new executive editor Jill Abramson, but it would be nice to see that idea expand and accelerate beyond just a chosen few at one newspaper. Instead of thinking of the newspaper as the pre-eminent brand, why not think of it more like a talent agency or a record label: an entity that gets its value from helping to develop and promote a variety of voices — in whatever way it can, across whatever platforms. Newspapers have always promoted their star writers, but any value captured has gone solely to the larger brand, the assumption being that those journalists should consider themselves lucky to have been chosen." (Matt Ingraham)


"Collector and art writer- turned-gallerist Adam Lindemann opened his Madison Avenue Venus Over Manhattan space Thursday to show off 'Gang Bust' — an exhibition of paintings by William N. Copley (a k a CPLY) alongside provocative new riffs on the works as curated by artist Bjarne Melgaard. At a Monkey Bar reception, Sid Bass (who hasn’t made many public appearances since his split with society doyenne Mercedes Bass) chatted in a booth with Parker Posey. Guests included gallerists Paul Kasmin and Gavin Brown, Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, W editor Stefano Tonchi, Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers, and Copley’s son William B. Copley." (PageSix)


"On Tuesday, April 9, more than 260 friends of God's Love We Deliver gathered at the 10th Annual Authors In Kind. This literary luncheon, held at the Metropolitan Club, was emceed by Board Member, author extraordinaire and Authors In Kind founder, Linda Fairstein. Linda introduced each guest author, who then took the podium to share anecdotes and remarks about their work to the delight of our many guests. The authors signed books before and after the event, meeting and greeting guests and fans. This year's authors included: Linda Fairstein, Author of the Alex Cooper crime novel series; Linda is supporting the 14th book in her series, Night Watch. Sandra Brown, Low Pressure. From the international bestselling thriller writer comes another carefully crafted tale with riveting characters and brilliant plot twists. John Schwartz, Oddly Normal. A poignant and well-documented account of what it meant to be a father raising a son coming to terms with his sexuality. Danny Meyer, Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home. The CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group takes us behind the scenes of his acclaimed and beloved restaurants to share the food that the chefs make for one another before they cook for you ... Wednesday night, April 3rd, Patricia Clarkson welcomed more than 200 guests to The Mandarin Oriental an the Hale House Spring Gala. They honored philanthropist Sharon Bush and Christine Larsen, Executive Vice President-Firm Process Improvement at JPMorgan Chase, for their tireless dedication to the cause.  Following the cocktail hour, Lauren Bush Lauren, Ashley and Pierce Bush took to the stage to present their mother with the Mother Hale Award for Mothers Who Make a Difference while Hale House Board of Directors member Neil H. Wilcox bestowed Larson with her award. Sharon Bush came to New York after her divorce from Neil Bush, son and brother of two of our Bush Presidents, and made a life for herself and her three children." (NYSocialDiary)


"One day in early February, I met Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin for breakfast at the Gramercy Park Hotel, one of their regular joints, just a few blocks from their apartment on Park Avenue South. The first thing Weiner said when I sat down was that their 13-month-old son, Jordan, had just moments ago taken his first step. They were both giddy, kvelling with baby-pride, especially Weiner, who, with all his free time, has become his son’s primary caretaker. This is what life is like now for the man whose name is invariably followed in print by some version of 'the disgraced former congressman who sent out a lewd picture of himself via Twitter.' He seems to spend much of his time within a five-block radius of his apartment: going to the park with Jordan; picking up his wife’s dry cleaning and doing the grocery shopping; eating at his brother Jason’s two restaurants in the neighborhood. This is what happens after a scandal: Ranks are closed and the world shrinks to a tiny dot. It is a life in retreat. And for a man who was known, pre-scandal, for his overweening ambition, his constant presence on cable news, his hard-charging schedule that verged on lunacy, well, it has been quite a change. Because of their careers, Weiner and Abedin are pros when it comes to small talk, chatting about the baby, their two cats and the pleasures of domestic life. But as the conversation shifted into why we were there, Weiner got serious and went into problem-solving mode; Abedin, while still cheerful and talkative, started to look a little nervous. As Abedin pointed out to me later, she has a tendency toward pessimism. 'Anthony,' she said, 'is a glass-half-full person. He doesn’t dwell. He’s not negative.' They present as two people who have painstakingly pieced their private life back together: they cook dinner and watch TV and have friends and family over to their spacious prewar apartment for special occasions. They seem to be functioning again as a couple, even unselfconsciously bickering in front of the waiter. But what they do not yet have a handle on is their public life." (NYTimes)

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