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Monday, September 30, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

 
 
 
"I am writing this from Greece, having spent the past week in Europe and having moved among various capitals. Most discussions I've had in my travels concern U.S. President Barack Obama's failure to move decisively against Syria and how Russian President Vladimir Putin outmatched him. Of course, the Syrian intervention had many aspects, and one of the most important ones, which was not fully examined, was what it told us about the state of U.S.-European relations and of relations among European countries. This is perhaps the most important question on the table.
We have spoken of the Russians, but for all the flash in their Syria performance, they are economically and militarily weak -- something they would change if they had the means to do so. It is Europe, taken as a whole, that is the competitor for the United States. Its economy is still slightly larger than the United States', and its military is weak, though unlike Russia this is partly by design.
The U.S.-European relationship helped shape the 20th century. American intervention helped win World War I, and American involvement in Europe during World War II helped ensure an allied victory. The Cold War was a transatlantic enterprise, resulting in the withdrawal of Soviet forces from the European Peninsula. The question now is: What will the relationship be between these two great economic entities, which together account for roughly 50 percent of the world's gross domestic product, in the 21st century? That question towers over all others globally. The events surrounding the Syria intervention, which never materialized, hint at the answer to this question. The Syrian crisis began not with the United States claiming that action must be taken against al Assad's use of chemical weapons but with calls to arms from the United Kingdom, France and Turkey. The United States was rather reluctant, but ultimately it joined these and several other European countries. Only then did the Europeans' opinions diverge. In the United Kingdom, the parliament voted against intervention. In Turkey, the government favored intervention on a much larger scale than the United States wanted. And in France, which actually had the ability to lend a hand, the president favored intervention but faced a less enthusiastic parliament.Most important to note was the division of Europe. Each country crafted its own response -- or lack of response -- to the Syrian crisis. The most interesting position was taken by Germany, which was unwilling to participate and until quite late unwilling to endorse participation. I've talked about the fragmentation of Europe. Nothing is more striking than the foreign policy split between France and Germany not only on Syria but on Mali and Libya as well." (STRATFOR)
 
 
 
 
"'Walt and Jesse forever!' shouted Aaron Paul while bear-hugging Bryan Cranston at last night’s Breaking Bad–finale extravaganza. The Emmy-winning drama’s conclusion may not have been as warm and cuddly for Walter White and his meth-cooking soul mate, Jesse Pinkman, as viewers had hoped—how could it be with a Nazi machine-gun shootout?—but inside the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, at an awesomely immersive send-off event hosted by Netflix, AMC, Bushmills, and the Kind Campaign, the atmosphere was decidedly heartfelt. In fact, when Jimmy Kimmel welcomed the show’s complete cast onstage during a Q&A later that night, the discussion was derailed by what looked like one massive Breaking Bad group hug. 'Maybe this was a bad idea,' Kimmel wondered aloud. 'There are now more people up here than there are [in the audience].' Indeed, cast members who had turned up to celebrate the Breaking Bad finale fittingly among the deceased included Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, R. J. Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, and Giancarlo Esposito, as well as the actors responsible for playing Ted Beneke, Skinny Pete, Uncle Jack, Badger, the Twins, Gale Boetticher, 'Eyebrows,' and Huell! (Huell, or actor Lavell Crawford, at least, had thankfully made it out of the safe house.)." (Vanityfair)



"Thursday night I went to the Boys' Club of New York’s annual Fall Ball in the grand ballroom at the Pierre. I thought this was my “first” Boys' Club gala but no, someone told me I’d been once before. I only remember having conflicting commitments on the previous times I’d been invited. It’s a black tie dinner dance. I somehow had it in my mind that it was one of those crusty old-time affairs that had been going on every autumn since Lindbergh flew the Atlantic. I practically expected Eleanor Rooseveltian dowagers to be the chairladies. I know, that’s ridiculous; but if you never saw it, all you have is your imagination, right? Well, I was wrong. I arrived at the Pierre almost 45 minutes into the cocktail hour which was held in another ballroom, and which was jammed. I somehow knew the minute I walked in the door that this was a good one. Not crusty at all – although with a certain crowd, the likes of whom see each other year round at all their watering holes, country houses and places in Manhattan, Greenwich, Far Hills, etc. The women looked beautiful and the men in black tie all look sort of smart no matter what else – a man can’t lose in black tie no matter where the avoirdupois rolls. It was all definitely a younger group than my imagination’s idea." (NYSocialDiary)



"Yesterday was Wednesday of course and I was at Michael’s of course which was its very busy self. Among the guests: Lynn de Rothschild (Lady Evelyn de Rothschild) was with General Wesley Clark and Field Marshal Lord Guthrie. Nearby: Sanford Stein; Michael Holtzman, Liz Kaplow, Ed Reilly, Joe Armstrong with David Zinczenko. Around the room: Andrew Stein, Matt Blank. Adam Brecht, Barry Frey: Joe Kemen with Andrew Ross Sorkin, and British businessman Sir Martin Sorrell ... I was with Dini von Mueffling, a lifelong New Yorker who 22 years ago started a charity called Love Heals with Alison Gertz, her friend and schoolmate who contracted AIDS when she was sixteen after having sex for the first and only time with a bartender that she met at Studio 54." (NYSocialDiary)


"Alec Baldwin says billionaire investor turned-film producer Arki Busson is his Hollywood archenemy. The sharp-tongued actor, who met with Busson in Cannes while pitching an Iraq-set romance film, fired off in TV Guide after the mogul told Baldwin he’s only considered a TV star, not a movie star. 'He reminds me of a B-level villain in a Bond film,' Baldwin tells the magazine. 'It’s a part Robert Davi would play if you couldn’t get Alan Rickman with a cat in his lap. He’s a pockmarked toady who hops from yacht to yacht and bed to bed. So when some bloated little toad like Busson labels me a certain way, I say to myself, ‘Consider the source.’ If movie stardom meant being trapped on a yacht with Busson, I’d rather be a weatherman for Ch. 4 in New York.' Blustering Baldwin, who’s launching a talk show on MSNBC, also ranted about movie studio executives, saying they know nothing about moviemaking. He tells TV Guide, 'I’m not blaming them — they only have what they have. They’re all factotums of multilateral corporations. It’s all money, money, money.'" (PageSix)

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