blog advertising is good for you

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres







"Arguably the greatest book on political realism in the 20th century was University of Chicago Professor Hans J. Morgenthau's Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, published in 1948. In that seminal work, Morgenthau defines the status quo as 'the maintenance of the distribution of power that exists at a particular moment in history.' In other words, things shall stay as they are. But it is not quite that clear. For as Morgenthau also explains, 'the concept of the 'status quo' derives from status quo ante bellum,' which, in turn, implies a return to the distribution of power before a war. The war's aggressor shall give up his conquered territory, and everything will return to how it was. The status quo also connotes the victors' peace: a peace that may be unfair, or even oppressive, but at the same time stands for stability. For a change in the distribution of power, while at times just in a moral sense, simply introduces a measure of instability into the geopolitical equation. And because stability has a moral value all its own, the status quo is sanctified in the international system. Let us apply this to Asia. Because Japan was the aggressor in World War II and was vanquished by the U.S. military, it lay prostrate after the war, so that the Pacific Basin became a virtual American naval lake. That was the status quo as it came to be seen. This situation was buttressed by the decades-long reclusiveness of the Pacific's largest and most populous nation: China. Japanese occupation and civil war left China devastated. The rise to power of Mao Zedong's communists in 1949 would keep the country preoccupied with itself for decades as it fell prey to destructive development and political schemes such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. China was not weak, as the United States would discover in the Korean and Vietnamese wars and later turn to its advantage against the Soviets. But its revolution remained unfinished. The economy did not truly start to develop until the late 1970s, after Mao died. And only in the mid-1990s did China begin its naval expansion in a demonstrable and undeniable way. Thus the United States, in its struggle with the Soviets, got used to a reclusive China and a subordinate Japan. With these two certainties underlying the Cold War's various animosities, the United States preserved calm in its lake. But the 21st century has not been kind to this status quo, however convenient it may have been for American interests." (STRATFOR)





"The battle for control of the U.S. Senate is where the action is this year in American politics. Right now all signs point to a near standoff in the U.S. House elections. Barring a major change in the political environment in the next few months, the 114th House is expected to closely resemble the 113th House with a slightly larger or slightly smaller Republican majority. In contrast, party control of the next Senate is definitely up for grabs this year. The main reason why Democrats are at risk of losing control of the Senate in November is not because of public discontent with the Affordable Care Act, continued weakness in the economy or President Obama’s mediocre approval ratings. All of these issues may have an impact on the Senate elections. But the Democrats’ biggest problem this year is that they were so successful in the 2008 Senate elections. While Barack Obama was capturing the White House in 2008, Democrats gained eight net seats in the Senate, winning 20 of the 35 seats at stake. Now Democrats must defend all of the seats that they won six years ago, including several in states that usually support Republicans. Of the Democratic seats up for grabs this year, seven are in states that were carried by Mitt Romney in 2012, including six that Romney won by a double-digit margin. In contrast, Republicans are only defending one seat in a state that was carried by Obama in 2012 — Sen. Susan Collins’ seat in Maine. And Collins is so popular that she isn’t a credible Democratic target. A simple model based on a large body of political science research allows us to make fairly accurate predictions of seat swing in midterm U.S. Senate elections. This model is almost identical to one that I have used to accurately forecast seat swing in midterm House elections. The three predictors are the results of the generic congressional ballot question in national polls in early September; the difference between the number of Republican seats and the number of Democratic seats at stake in the election; and a dummy variable for the president’s party." (CenterforPolitics)




"I went down to Michael’s to lunch. Michael’s was quiet, yet packed, unlike today’s lunch which will probably be vocal pandemonium and table hopping. Yesterday had its share of NYC and international VIPs. Lesley Stahl was at the corner table. Chris-craft  tycoon Herb Siegel was next door. Alexandra Trower, the Lauder VP, was on the other side. Gordon Davis was lunching with Diane Coffey and a man I didn’t recognize. Anne Fulenwider, the E-I-C of Marie Claire next door to them. Christy Ferer was hosting a table of very attractive ladies in the bay. Candia Fisher (Fisher-Landau Center for Art) was nearby, as was famous banking executive Sallie Krawcheck (former president of Global Wealth & Investment Management division of Bank of America; Dave Zinczenko, publisher/editor/tv personality was lunching with business associates; Nikki Haskell was with John Morgan and his wife Connie. Nikki heads out to the Coast today or tomorrow to take in all the upcoming Oscar parties." (NYSD)



The Two 007s


"In the movie business, conventional wisdom has it that to succeed at the box office a film must include profanity, obscenity, blood, gore, blasphemy, and, of course, lots of sex. There’s only one little problem with this theory. Empirical data illustrates that the opposite is true. Clean, wholesome family affairs generally do much better at the till. Yet motiveless violence and crimes committed at random continue to be the order of the day. The awful Quentin Tarantino leads the pack among the talentless directors now forming our culture. His dialogue is mostly mindless, he makes no distinction between right and wrong, and most of his characters wallow in violence and brutality. His point is slaughter for slaughter’s sake, and in slow motion to boot, in case we missed any of the gore.
The pattern of honoring ugliness, violence, and brutality in films is a recent phenomenon. The message seems to be that portrayals of cruelty and dementia deserve more serious consideration and automatic respect than any attempts to convey nobility or goodness. In the past thirty years the entertainment industry’s most influential leaders have demonstrated a powerful preference for the perverse. Even the stars have followed this pattern. During the golden era of Hollywood—the 1930s to the 1960s—stars were different from you and me. They looked, talked, and lived better, and had replaced the millionaire robber barons as the dream figures in the popular imagination. Now they look as grubby as the characters they portray on the screen—or better yet, like homeless people. They talk like thugs and act like drug dealers, menacing fans and waiters alike. Most are incapable of stringing a sentence together without the word 'like' repeated ad nauseam. Which brings me to the point of my story. I mostly live in Gstaad, Switzerland, an alpine village that turns ugly only during Christmas and the month of February. The rest of the time the extremely rich people who own chalets here are away screwing their fellow man elsewhere. Two men—both of whom I met and became friends with in Gstaad—have been knighted by the Queen. Both played 007 and both are gentlemen of the old school: Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore, the latter being a friend of long standing." (Taki)



"This past Monday night, Ward and Nico Landrigan of Verdura hosted a cocktail reception and a lively discussion of “Memos: The Vogue Years” about Diana Vreeland with the book’s editor (and the subject’s grandson) Alexander Vreeland, moderated by New York Magazine Design Editor Wendy Goodman. Memos: The Vogue Years, published by Rizzoli New York, is an amazing compilation of more than 250 pieces of Mrs. Vreeland’s personal correspondence, selected by her grandson.  Mr. Vreeland was on hand to sign books for those in attendance.
Sicilian Duke Fulco di Verdura began his extraordinary career in Paris as jewelry designer for Coco Chanel for whom he first designed his signature Maltese Cross brooches and cuffs. With a Hollywood connection through his friend and client Diana Vreeland, Verdura designed colorful jewels for stars of the era including Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich. Fulco di Verdura and Diana Vreeland enjoyed a lifelong friendship and years of collaboration.
" (NYSD)


No comments: