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Monday, August 05, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres




"The decision by Amazon founder and space explorer Jeff Bezos to buy the Washington Post for $250 million in cash has been met with speculation from all sides about what exactly he has to gain by owning a newspaper — political influence, delivery routes, digital synergy? — but the truth is it doesn't matter: The Post's price tag is barely 1 percent of Bezos's net worth (hovering around $25 billion), and even that was "generous," in the words of David Remnick. (Post veteran Gene Weingarten said it was "about as risky and consequential a purchase for [Bezos] as a used 2003 Honda Civic might be for me.") The truth is, the era of major print publications as mammoth businesses is all but over, and now that their worth on the open market is reflecting that reality, a new generation of the moneyed elite is picking them up, for cheap, as playthings — in the same category of purchases as, say, a yacht or a tiny island. In the simplest sense, it marks a transition in the role of newspapers in the modern economy. When Warren Buffett bought a major chunk of the Washington Post in the early seventies, there was no notion that it might have been for any other reason than to make money. When the Sulzberger-owned New York Times paid $1.1 billion for the Boston Globe twenty years ago, it was a business move. The families that owned major papers — the Sulzbergers, the Grahams, the Bancrofts — were not astronomically wealthy people who did it as a side project. Rather, they were rich people who were tethered to a certain industry, and the newspapers they owned represented the bulk of their wealth. Even if they could be good journalistic patrons, they still, fundamentally, had to make the publications they owned work as businesses." (NYMag)


"Jeffery Self and Cole Escola—a young comedy duo who parlayed YouTube success into two seasons of a cable TV sketch program—played two sold-out shows in New York this weekend, their first since splitting three years ago. Separately, each has continued a trajectory of online mini-celebrity—especially Mr. Self, who moved to Los Angeles in 2010 and closely chronicles his personal life on social media. Millennial, fearless and wildly funny, Jeffery and Cole exemplify a new generation of digitally native performers. But their audience is confronted with a challenge: when artists choose to broadcast their most private moments on social media, where is the boundary between life and performance? Directed by Christian Coulson, 'Jeffery and Cole: Older and Wiser'—near as I can tell, they are both 26—was rapturously received at the 70-seat Duplex cabaret.
Very few in the entirely gay crowd would have been encountering them for the first time; in 2009, Logo TV turned their popular YouTube comedy series 'VGL Boys' into the cable sketch show 'Jeffery and Cole Casserole.' But even allowing for a friendly room, the young comedians displayed an electric chemistry that threw off sparks in both set pieces and absurdist asides." (Observer)


"This past Friday, August  2nd, the Alzheimer's Association hosted its official Rita Hayworth Gala Hamptons Kick-Off Reception in Watermill, NY.  The reception was hosted by Anne and Jay McInerney at their Ashgrove Farm home, along with Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, to celebrate the upcoming Rita Hayworth Gala in New York on October 22nd.  This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Rita Hayworth Gala, which Princess Yasmin started in honor of her mother, Rita Hayworth, who died as a result of Alzheimer's.  To date, under Princess Yasmin Aga Khan's leadership, over $60 million has been raised through the Rita Hayworth Galas." (NYSocialDiary)


"For the first time in 39 years, Al Roker—a man paid large sums of money to wake up at an ungodly early hour, laugh as if he were not awake at an ungodly early hour, and occasionally make on-air jabs at Matt Lauer—overslept. This news came for most people via Twitter when the longtime Today star tweeted: 'After 39 years, it happened. I overslept and missed a show.' Surprisingly, the show was not NBC’s popular morning program, Today, but an even earlier morning show, ironically titled Wake Up with Al, which airs at six a.m. Eastern Time on the Weather Channel. The good news—aside from the built-in P.R. for Wake Up with Al—is that the incident made for an entire segment’s worth of breaking-news conversation on Today, for which Roker had finally roused himself. And after 39 years of going largely unrecognized for its tireless work waking the weatherman for America, Roker’s usually trustworthy alarm finally received an on-air shout-out." (VanityFair)


"Roger Federer is among the greatest champions ever, if not the greatest of all time. If one goes by the record—17 grand slams—he has the top spot by a mile. He’s been (sorry for the cliché) a credit to the game, a great sportsman whose only mistake in my not-so-humble opinion is to keep competing. Just before this year’s Wimbledon I wrote in these pages that he was no longer a threat. Alas, I was proved right. Roger lost in an early round to a player ranked 116. He followed it up by losing in Hamburg to a player ranked 114, and now here in Gstaad, his own backyard, to a German ranked 55 in the second round. (Mind you, one of the greatest Greek tennis players of all time, Taki, was proud to pass one round in the Swiss Open back in 1956. He continued playing for another ten years, but Greek tennis was not renowned back then and never will be. Taki resembled Roger in the fact we are both males and that’s where the resemblance ends.) The lower ranks continue to take their toll on Federer, and that’s why I’d like to see him get off the circuit and enjoy a relaxed retirement.The trouble is he’s only 31, can still hit the ball like very few can, and knows no other way of life except that of a touring pro. To know when one’s no longer a top banana is very, very hard. Losing the killer instinct in sports is as subtle as the aging process: By the time one sees the light, it’s too late. And who am I, among the most obscure players ever, to give advice to a great champion? Well, as Oscar said, old men teach, young men do, or words to that effect. I just don’t like to have people remember him losing to lesser players, as we tend to do, but rather in his glory days, winning effortlessly and elegantly. My only wish is that I’m wrong, but as an ancient Greek, that happens almost never, septuagenarian conceit or not." (Taki)



"Each year, Hamptons summers used to provide at least one good story or juicy marital scandal that occupied idle conversation throughout the season. You’d hear about it even in New York. It was usually about New Yorkers having affairs or stealing someone’s wife or husband. The story usually carried into the following autumn season with divorces or reconciliations (not as often), new marriages and the old story of who got what and who didn’t. These days it takes a lot more than some marital infidelity to get people talking (or looking). Very little can survive the 140 characters of Twitter, and even then it’s swept away into the terminal morass of quadrillions of lost voices traveling across the universe. However, there is one going on right now in the Hamptons that has got a huge coverage in the British tabloids but practically nothing over here, and even very little in the Hamptons. I asked one of the local hostesses about it, mentioning the woman involved, and she replied: Do we know her? It’s a reality TV scandal, if you will. It involves Simon Cowell, the British TV producer/ personality, and a woman who summers in Bridgehampton named Lauren Silverman. The possibly soon to be former Mrs. Andrew Silverman. Mrs. Silverman is an old friend (more than a year) of Mr. Cowell. So is/was her husband. They were such good friends that evidently she is now pregnant with Mr. Cowell’s child. Mr. Cowell does not deny that he’s the father. He’s made it clear that he will cover his responsibility for the child’s welfare and well-being, but he did not indicate he was going to marry Mrs. Silverman, who is said to be in love with him and plans to divorce/dump her husband ... and run off to the Show Business Xanadu of Mr. Cowell....if she were writing the happy ending." (NYSocialDiary)

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