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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres







                            


"Proudly over the top in his villainy, Abubakar Shekau told the world he has the girls. Dressed in fatigues, with a rifle slung across his chest and masked men at his sides, the head of the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram took a few weeks — allowing the horror and international outrage to build — before claiming credit for what most already assumed: He and his followers are responsible for the abduction of more than 200 young women from a school in Nigeria last month. 'I will sell them in the market, by Allah. I will marry off a woman at the age of 12. I will marry off a girl at the age of nine,' said Shekau in an hourlong video statement yesterday. Their crime was pursuing an education (boko haram translates roughly to 'Western education is a sin'). Women, he said, 'should go and marry. Stupid people. Talking about human rights and democracy. Nonsense.' The world is finally listening, in horror." (NyMag)


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"The U.S. government commands few capabilities more potent than its power to declare information secret. Even when the judiciary and Congress exercise their checks-and-balances powers over the executive branch, the American secrecy machine still finds a way to shunt aside substantive discussions about a host of programs and policies.With little or no public input, the U.S. government has kidnapped suspected terrorists, established secret prisons, performed 'enhanced' interrogations, tortured prisoners, and carried out targeted killings. After the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden pilfered hundreds of thousands of documents from the NSA’s computers and released them to journalists last summer, the public learned of additional and potentially dodgy secret government programs: warrantless wiretaps, the weakening of public encryption software, the collection and warehousing of metadata from phones and e-mail accounts, and the interception of raw Internet communications. The secrecy machine was originally designed to keep the United States’ foes at bay. But in the process, it has transformed itself into an invisible state within a state. Forever discovering new frontiers to patrol, as the Snowden files indicate, the machine molts its skin each season to grow ever larger and more powerful, encountering little resistance from the courts or Congress. In his new book, Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma of State Secrecy (Princeton University Press, 2013, 304 pp. $35), the Princeton political scientist Rahul Sagar ably documents this growth in secrecy and the problems it poses, excavating from his thorough research a concise history of concealment and revelation from the Revolutionary War to the present. Atop this scholarship, he adds legal analysis and an attempt to map a regulatory framework that will keep the country secure, make the government accountable, and still preserve Americans’ civil liberties. Yet in overestimating the damage leaks cause and underestimating how hard it will be to stop them, Sagar arrives at recommendations that are ultimately too impractical and too restrictive." (Jack Shafer)


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"This thing will probably show up on your Facebook at some point today, most likely under one of those two-sentence headlines that everyone sneered at last year and then started using exclusively in let's say… January? Like this one from the Washington Post: 'Just 7 percent of journalists are Republicans. That’s far fewer than even a decade ago.' There are other headlines that would also be accurate. 'Just 28 percent of journalists identify as Democrats. That’s fewer than even a decade ago.' Or: 'Haha, so the whole libertarian journo-man thing is a 90s thing?' Or: 'Finally, a majority of journalists have realized that identifying with a political party is more trouble than it's worth.' Or: "Twenty years of screaming 'BIAS' has had a measurable effect on how journalist take voluntary surveys.' Or: 'The internet did this.' All of these would work! But none of these would work on Facebook. In any case this is possibly the least important graphic in what otherwise feels like an important document about fatigue and uncertainty. " (TheAwl)




"There was a major luncheon at the Pierre. Fountain House was hosting a symposium along with it (the subject was Dual-Diagnosis), and honoring Dr. Mitch Rosenthal, founder of Phoenix House. Mitch, who is known far and wide for his work (and his camaraderie) continues to work tirelessly behind the scenes for Phoenix House and its work. Then early yesterday evening, the Ford Foundation – Darren Walker, President – hosted an evening celebrating Jessye Norman with an interview of the great American diva, followed by a reception. At about the same hour, the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art hosted the Arthur Ross Awards at the University Club with cocktails and dinner.  While over at the New York Junior League headquarters in the old Vincent Astor mansion on East 80th Street, the French Heritage Society was hosting a lecture by David Garrard Lowe, the historian. The subject: 'Sarah Bernhardt: Actress of an Age.' The nighttime calendar for that wide array of social gatherings that make up New York today, was full and influential in the current media scheme of things. The largest focus was set on the Met Costume Ball which is the property of Anna Wintour (and therefore Conde Nast). This gets huge attention in the entertainment media. My web mailbox last night was filled with photos of attendees, and their gowns and accessories and even details about their makeup. The look from what I could see from these photos was a kind of a retro Yvonne de Carlo/Debra Paget/'50s look (although most wearing it have never heard of the girls). The day began over in that neck of the woods with Michelle Obama coming to town and cutting the ribbon on the entry to the newly named Anna Wintour Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum. It was reported to be an emotional moment for Ms. Wintour and the First Lady extended her comforting arms at that moment when tears came to the fashion editor’s eyes." (NYSD)




"More artists, more exhibitions. Last night at the new Leila Heller Gallery on 43 West 57th Street, there was a preview of a new exhibition: 'LOOK AT ME: Portraiture from Manet to the Present' curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody and Paul Morris, a founding director of the Armory Show. The show was of particular interest to me because Beth and I are old friends. We’ve known each other since she was fresh out of college. Her interest in art and collecting was already apparent, in retrospect although in the early days she was feeling her way into the process. I don’t know that it was intentional, but then she married an artist — James DeWoody, with whom she had her son Carlton and daughter Kyle — and about that time her interest began to develop into the connoisseurship that belongs to her today. In all the years that we’ve known each other well, we’ve never discussed this business of her life work, which is:  Collecting. She is now a notable collector in the art world, and not accidentally has she been compared to Peggy Guggenheim. What I always knew about her even before she became a committed collector was that she is a great and natural nurturer of talent. I have personally benefited from that nurturing as have many others.  Beth loves talented people. She is by nature in their thrall. This show that she curated with Paul Morris is a clear reflection of that thrall of hers. The subject, the subjects, the artists and the attitudes are all aspects of the lady’s vivid artistic interest. This is a new gallery for Leila Heller, who is now also an old friend and whom I met through Beth DeWoody about twenty-five years ago. Leila, who is also the mother of two growing sons, has been in the gallery business for a number of years. In the last several years she has been expanding her interest and business. The Fifty-seventh Street location, now her second in the city, is big -- eight floors. Thomas Arnold will lead the new gallery. Arnold comes from 14 years with Mary Boone Gallery where he managed 150 exhibitions." (NYSD)





"Time is a flat circle, which is why the television industry’s decades-old rite of spring is once more nearly upon us: Upfront week begins next Monday. If you’re just tuning in, the upfronts are when the broadcast networks unveil a slew of new programming for the year ahead, while conveniently ignoring the bloody carcasses of the previous season’s failed efforts. (Cable networks and digital outlets have been performing a more low-key version of the same dance for the past few weeks.) While the ad buyers of Madison Avenue are the main target for all this hype, networks have increasingly made upfront week a consumer-friendly affair, taking advantage of all the media attention to begin marketing their new wares to the masses. As we have each of the past four years, Vulture will be out in force covering TV’s marathon of self-congratulation and salesmanship. So, bookmark our handy 2014 Upfronts situation room, home to our knee-jerk reactions to the new shows and schedules, our first-look clips of all the fresh programming, and our insider coverage of the presentations and after-parties. But before the television industry’s big week begins, we’ve got our own tradition ’round these parts: our annual series of pregame reports analyzing how each of the Big Four broadcasters are looking as May Madness begins. (Nope, no CW: They’ve got a different business model that the other guys, more like a cable network. For what it’s worth, however, the C-Dub had a pretty decent year and is in much better shape than it’s been in a while.) These daily rundowns will give you the skinny on how the individual networks performed during the 2013–14 season, what factors are stressing each of them out heading into next week, and which pilots seem to have the best prospects of moving forward to series. First up: NBC, which may have finally found its groove after a decade of turmoil." (Vulture)

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