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Friday, November 22, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Readers of this magazine may have heard of a certain Massachusetts senator named Elizabeth Warren. She has also taken on too big to fail, as an antecedent to her agenda of building an economy that works for ordinary Americans, rather than using them as giant wealth-extraction machines. And Warren has something Brown and Vitter don’t—a national platform, with the ability to shape and transform the national debate. She has already used this power to provoke incremental changes, mostly because regulators would rather be on her side than in her crosshairs. Nobody is better positioned to put this new set of facts from the GAO to use than the Warren wing of the Democratic Party. To see this attitude change in real time, simply review the Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearings for Janet Yellen, nominated to take over the chair of the Federal Reserve. In 2009, Ben Bernanke sought confirmation for the same position, and when he was questioned about the Fed’s failures in financial regulation before the crisis, he vociferously defended the institution’s actions. Yellen, right in her opening statement, added financial regulation to the Fed’s core responsibilities, along with full employment and price stability—a huge shift. During questioning from Warren, Yellen agreed that the Board of Governors should reinstate regular principals meetings on financial supervision for the first time in 20 years, instead of relegating the decision-making to the staff level ... Warren is highly unlikely to run for President. But the next best thing is to have everyone chatter about a potential candidacy. That gives her policy arguments more resonance, and forces the regulators she helps oversee on the Banking Committee to listen. Warren’s presence makes it less possible for the normal course of Washington’s love affair with Wall Street to occur. And that’s as valuable as anything she can offer." (TNR)



"Crack may be one of the most addictive substances on earth—as the indelible images of crack babies supposedly born hooked drove home in the 1980s. But there are growing indications that some smokers can handle their shit. And just as onetime crack dens have been transformed into high-end real estate, the glass pipe, too, has been gentrified. Clouds of crack smoke are now wafting from upscale lofts on the Bowery and West Hollywood hotel rooms and from bungalows in Venice Beach and converted warehouses in Bushwick. The HBO comedy Girls got it exactly right. In one episode, über-uptight Shoshanna accidently smokes crack at a Brooklyn warehouse party, thinking the pipe she is casually passed contains weed. Hilarious, yes, but not ludicrous. Drugs follow money. And they follow young, edgy creative-hipster types eager to go through some kind of dark, skid-row rite of passage. Yesterday's scourge of the underclass is today's indulgence of the idle class. 'There's a stigma to crack that excites certain people,' says one 36-year-old fashion photographer who works on New York's Lower East Side. He says he knows 'tons of people' in fashion, music, and art who either have smoked rock or would be willing to try it as long as 'someone else in the room has it and knows what they are doing.' I randomly saw this play out on an autumn Sunday night in New York City's East Village. At a hip dive bar, I met Neil, an Internet executive, and his friend Keith, who works in the financial industry (both asked that their full names be withheld). When they rolled out of the bar at around 1:30 A.M., after an evening punctuated by blow and Adderall, Keith suggested they cap the night with crack. Neil bought four tiny blue Baggies, each containing a one-hit rock, for $10 a pop from a kid on a bike, then picked up a $3 glass stem from a corner deli. He and Keith started smoking their crack in the taxi on their way home to the industrial-chic Gowanus section of Brooklyn. "'t's like coke times 100,' said Keith, letting out an acrid belch of smoke." (Details)


"So a comedian undergoing glaucoma treatment walks into the Cognac Room at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan. He’s wearing a Mets cap and the black jeans that he might have slept in. He swigs some coffee and complains about a 2 p.m. wake-up call, which is understandable once he explains he went to bed at 9 a.m. 'I haven’t eaten yet today. I don’t know what time it is. Who am I? Where am I? What city? What hour?' says Bill Maher, gazing out the window at a grim November sky. 'May I use this interview as a one-issue diatribe against daylight savings? Fucking farmers. For the sake of two or three giant agribusinesses, the rest of us have to suffer. The one time we need more light, they take it away.' Outside on 55th Street, a pedestrian spots Maher, bangs on the window and cocks his fist in a gesture of solidarity. It should be noted that this passerby is black—as are a considerable number of Maher’s fans (and not just those he’s dated, a roster that includes several black women of the curvaceous gentlemen’s club variety). In explaining the popularity that a pallid Irish-Jew from New Jersey would enjoy with African Americans, New York magazine once quoted Christopher 'Kid' Reid, a Maher confidante and one half of the hip-hop duo Kid ‘n’ Play. “What people of color like about Bill is his honesty,' he said. 'Black people can smell fear in white people. They’re like bloodhounds. When Bill and I hang out, and there are people of color around, they gravitate to him.' To be sure, Maher’s fearlessness explains his political posture: He’s unapologetically liberal, populist and outraged. Accordingly, he’s a bête noire to conservatives and inspires their fury even when his commentary veers away from the political." (Politico)



"If I’m a billionaire, Lord Sugar is a gentleman. This sounds a bit phony, but if I were a billionaire I’d give 850 million away. 150 million greenbacks or 100 million quid should be tops for everyone. One can fly private, own a boat and a decent house and take care of the children and grandchildren. Billions make people very strange and suspicious of others, and make their children even stranger. The insane idolatry of money warps minds and character quicker than any drug or liquor. I have known many billionaires in my life—inflation churns them out regularly nowadays, as does criminality in the old Soviet Union—and the only ones who live normal lives and have normal children are both Greek and although very distantly related have the same surname." (Taki)


"Despite social media’s rise since 1998, there’s still a demand for traditional ways to consume gossip. But the names and outlets have changed drastically. Scandals and mishaps were covered by an elite guard consisting of Army Archerd of Variety, George Christy of The Hollywood Reporter, Rush & Molloy and Mitchell Fink of the New York Daily News, Beth Landman at New York magazine’s Intelligencer. and even the august New York Times had the 'non gossip, gossip column' Public Lives. All were in competition with us at the New York Post, which dominated the sphere with three gossip columnists — Neal Travis, Cindy Adams, and Liz Smith — as well as my former employer, 'Page Six,' the heavyweight column run by bon vivant Richard Johnson. Sure, there were celebrity magazines also covering the foibles of the rich and famous — but not nearly as many as there are now. US Weekly was US monthly and a news magazine, the European invasion in the form of the Bauer titles (In Touch, Life & Style) and OK! was years away, and People magazine had yet to become the favorite drop-off slot for publicists and their clients who just wanted to tell 'their side of the story.' Back then, People was still running lengthier, reported, in-depth, newsy articles, as well as not-so-nice pieces on celebrities from their detractors (sample headline: 'LeAnn Rimes 'Manipulative': Stepmom') — something that would never happen in the touchy-feely “we celebrate celebrities” People of today. The National Enquirer was given a run for its money by sister publication Star – which was, back before Bonnie Fuller and David Pecker, a downmarket, non-glossy, hard-hitting tabloid … with over 2 million readers. Now, the dinosaurs of the industry — Mitchell Fink, Beth Landman, and Liz Smith — have been put out to pasture. Neal Travis and Army Archerd passed away. First Rush and then Molloy retired from gossip — and even Richard Johnson left 'Page Six' (to eventually come back to the Post with his own column). And a horde of gossip-chasing entertainment websites have since sprouted up — TMZ, most notably — updating news not just every hour but sometimes every minute, ensuring that every iota of celebrity is covered from every angle. If something is happening and someone is on hand to witness it, you can be assured of finding out about it almost immediately." (Paula Froelich)


"Graydon Carter held a private dinner at the Beatrice Inn on Wednesday honoring Bono, Apple’s Jony Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson ahead of their Sotheby’s auction to benefit Bono’s (Red) charity on Saturday. 'This dinner is like a celebrity petting zoo,' Brian Williams was heard saying about the crowd, which included Mayor Bloom­berg, David Geffen, Anjelica Huston, Jimmy Iovine, Liberty Ross, Ralph and Ricky Lauren, Cindy Sherman, Jon Stewart and Dasha Zhukova. We’re told Bono toasted Carter, recalling when he once asked him to change the mag’s title 'from Vanity Fair to Fair Vanity. He said, ‘Um . . . no.’ ” (PageSix)


"Howard Stern had ravaged her and drained the usually witty brunette of her sass. By the time she finished his show Wednesday morning and arrived at the Bowery Hotel, Sarah Silverman was too tired to laugh — even at the fact that the guy interviewing her shared the same last name. Or maybe it just wasn't funny. 'It’s the name I’ve always had,' Silverman said, gazing at the wall, with nothing else to say about the matter. Apparently Stern had tried to get Silverman to instigate some 'comedian-on-comedian crime' by asking her to name other comics that she didn’t like, something Silverman was not about to do. 'You want to be an interesting interview,' she said, 'but you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, or make anyone in your life mad. So it’s a high-wire balancing act.' Deflecting Stern proved exhausting, especially because Silverman kept her ex-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel’s advice in mind and answered all of Howard’s questions immediately. To pause would reveal weakness, or something she wanted to hide, and it was important not to give Howard a cue to start digging." (Justin Rocket Silverman)


"This past Monday night, Seth & Alexi Meyers, Elie Tahari, Diane von Furstenberg, Glamour Editor-In-Chief Cindi Leive, Ann Curry, Top Chef Master Sang Yoon, NY Jets David Nelson, Alison and Howard Lutnick, Sarah Hughes, Sara Ziff, Chris Del Gatto and Veronica Webb and many others came out to support Worldwide Orphans at their 9th Annual Gala in at Cipriani in NYC. Seth Meyers hosted and the evening honored exceptional Worldwide Orphans ambassadors including long-time supporter Diane von Furstenberg and Dr. Sophie Mengistu, WWO Ethiopia Country Director. There were certainly some light moments throughout the night, though. Before walking the blue carpet, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg helped Dr. Jane Aronson tie her signature DVF wrap dress that Jane had put on incorrectly with the help of her two sons. Amy Poehler shared a video expressing the need for people to donate as it makes them skinny, but also shared that she was so upset that she couldn't attend as Seth has a restraining order against her. " (NYSocialDiary)

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