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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres















"What a difference a year makes in America’s national newspaper war.
As we look back at 2013 — and forward to 2014 — we see that The Wall Street Journal, an innovative leader in the digital news business, seems to have lost momentum in its titanic battle with The New York Times. 
When Rupert Murdoch bought the Journal and its parent Dow Jones six years ago, he declared that war, aiming to blur the historic line between a business newspaper and a general interest one. The declaration was pure Rupert: part real animus, part envy, part bluff, and wholly aimed at winner-take-all. Even as the deep recession wounded all publishers, Murdoch invested in the conflict, establishing The Wall Street Journal as a pioneer in news video, tablet innovation, and global growth, while also investing in old-fashioned reporting resources, launching expansions both in general news and in coverage of New York City. His moves on offense contrasted with the strategic retreats of the Times. The proud company was forced to sell its new headquarters space, take on onerous loans, and live perilously on the edge. For much of the past half decade of hand-to-hand combat, the Times appeared uneasy in its footing. Through tough times, it managed to hold together its core asset — the 1,100-or-so–strong newsroom. But for much of 2012, the eight-month search for a new CEO emphasized the Times’ double vacuum of leadership and strategy. The media’s whispering classes conjectured that the Times was taking so long to find a CEO because the choice could be the one that would make or break the Times’ ability to survive as a standalone, Sulzberger-family–directed institution. Then, enter new CEO Mark Thompson, immediately dogged by various BBC messes, as he worked to establish credibility for himself on this side of the Atlantic. Today, the tables have turned a bit." (Nieman)








"French President François Hollande is denying a front page story that he’s having an affair with actress Julie Gayet, but some Parisians think he planted the story himself. The Socialist has been living for years with journalist Valérie Trierweiler. But one resident in the City of Light told me,'We’ve been hearing about this a lot in the last year or so, quiet whispers.' The French magazine Closer finally ran a seven-page photo exposé this week under the headline 'L’Amour Secret du President.' And some cheese-lovers think Hollande’s team purposefully planted the story to embarrass and rid themselves of Trierweiler. The buzz in the French capital is that Hollande has been over Trierweiler for some time and that she won’t move out. 'She likes being first lady, even if most of France doesn’t like her or approve of her as first lady. After all, she’s only his girlfriend, not his wife,' said my source.'There have been calls for her to not be allowed to travel on the government dime because they are not married.' Hollande, 59, also never married former French presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, with whom he has four children." (Richard Johnson)










"Back on solid ground, it’s another Moscow early, early morning, on the closing weekend at Osen. The girls are always getting that taste. Big full lips, full asses, hands on asses. The MasterCard with Delta miles clicks along the glass tabletop. Caplets spool through the vertebrae. The couch is finally starting to feel comfortable. It’s always some equinox here, with the smoke sticking around and the speaker sound that just keeps blowing. Gorobiy backs into his sleeping chamber a few floors above Osen’s dance hall, a white-cloud enclosure with a high-perch bed. His hideaway is all plasma screen and low-flying chandelier, the long dawn sunlight fighting the curtains. The time flakes off and falls away, like that wall inside you separating right from wrong. Gorobiy wears a white shirt and nothing else, and the girl spread beneath him has diamonds in her eyes and pink gum in her teeth. And you get to watch. One door down, the go-go dancers are mixing glitter and baby oil on their palms, polishing up their $15 tans so that their skin will reflect the light that bounces around the dance floor. They’re stepping in and out of sheer gear, their wax jobs pencil-line or altogether smooth. It’s not a tough formula. Mind yourself around the eight-foot Candy Land people on the stairs. A dozen models are moaning, 'Oy, ya khochu fuck,' horse-hoofing on knee-high D&G boots. A waitress in a black-and-orange uniform hoists a bottle of Cristal in the air, fire spitting from the white-hot sparklers in her other hand. She pushes open the saloon doors with the porthole windows, and the Moscow party you could never get into begins to singe the edges of all you can see. Fifteen years ago, there wasn’t a single club in Europe’s largest city. There were only a few restaurants. Think of 1991 as Year Zero. The Soviet Union fell that Christmas, and that soon kicked everyone off the dole. Free-market capitalism and the oligarchs’ personal armies took over, and a country’s life savings vanished, followed by murder in broad daylight, house music, privatization, freebasing. Yel­tsin handpicked Putin and nobody got thrown in jail, nobody who wasn’t asking for it. Gorobiy, now 37, says he started earning a living by trading wedding bands. Then he found himself throwing a party at the Cosmos Pavilion of Moscow’s VDNKh, the Soviet utopian fairgrounds. He would set up a few lights, turn on the tape machine, and watch the dancers knock into rocket boosters and assorted space junk.Thousands of people came to what amounted to Russia’s first raves." (VanityFair)












"'I thought about taking you on a date and bringing you flowers and making you feel really uncomfortable. I thought about doing a drug deal in front of you, just to see how you would react.' Alexis Wilkinson also had nobler dreams of visiting MoMA, but the museum closes at 5:30 on Saturdays, we’re all the way downtown, and the fresh slush piles will add at least fifteen minutes to the trip. So the 21-year-old Harvard junior proposes a more realistic plan: happy hour. “Get ready, because I’ve got a lot of traveling to do,' she warns. 'This is going to be an ecstatic hour, if I can manage it.' As the cab heads east on Grand Street, Wilkinson describes her hectic schedule. Back in December, the economics major was elected president of the Harvard Lampoon, the 138-year-old comedy magazine that doubles as a feeder into writers’ rooms for The Simpsons, Parks and Recreation, and late-night shows. Wilkinson will be the first black woman to ever run the overwhelmingly white, male Lampoon. (Notable alumni: John Updike, George Plimpton, Conan O’Brien, Simon Rich.) She suddenly had to make time for the resultant media interest, which started right in the middle of Harvard finals. This is a well-earned 5 p.m. drink. After some fumbling with Google Maps, Wilkinson, who is wearing ballet flats (with socks) despite the snow, successfully navigates us to Verlaine, a Lower East Side bar with rectangular-potted plants and a Haim soundtrack. She orders a litchi martini, removes her coat, and begins mocking her own sweatshirt." (NyMag)

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