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Saturday, September 06, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres






"When Americans look around the world today, we see one crisis after another. Russian aggression in Ukraine, extremism and chaos in Iraq and Syria, a deadly epidemic in West Africa, escalating territorial tensions in the East and South China seas, a global economy that still isn’t producing enough growth or shared prosperity — the liberal international order that the United States has worked for generations to build and defend seems to be under pressure from every quarter. It’s no wonder so many Americans express uncertainty and even fear about our role and our future in the world. In his new book, 'World Order,' Henry Kissinger explains the historic scope of this challenge. His analysis, despite some differences over specific policies, largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century. During the Cold War, America’s bipartisan commitment to protecting and expanding a community of nations devoted to freedom, market economies and cooperation eventually proved successful for us and the world. Kissinger’s summary of that vision sounds pertinent today: 'an inexorably expanding cooperative order of states observing common rules and norms, embracing liberal economic systems, forswearing territorial conquest, respecting national sovereignty, and adopting participatory and democratic systems of governance.'
This system, advanced by U.S. military and diplomatic power and our alliances with like-minded nations, helped us defeat fascism and communism and brought enormous benefits to Americans and billions of others. Nonetheless, many people around the world today — especially millions of young people — don’t know these success stories, so it becomes our responsibility to show as well as tell what American leadership looks like. This is especially important at a time when many are wondering, as Kissinger puts it, 'Are we facing a period in which forces beyond the restraints of any order determine the future?'  For me, this is a familiar question. When I walked into the State Department in January 2009, everyone knew that it was a time of dizzying changes, but no one could agree on what they all meant. Would the economic crisis bring new forms of cooperation or a return to protectionism and discord? Would new technologies do more to help citizens hold leaders accountable or to help dictators keep tabs on dissidents? Would rising powers such as China, India and Brazil become global problem-solvers or global spoilers? Would the emerging influence of non-state actors be defined more by the threats from terrorist networks and criminal cartels, or by the contributions of courageous NGOs? Would growing global interdependence bring a new sense of solidarity or new sources of strife?" (Hillary Rodham Clinton)



BY GENE ARIAS/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK/GETTY IMAGES.


"In 1986 I attended something called a ‘Ladies Lunch’ in honor of Joan Rivers. This lunch was hosted by Betsy Bloomingdale at her impressive Bel Aire home. I was the guest of a guest and knew no one. Recently married to a starving artist I was sporting a very tiny engagement ring. I was dreading Ms Rivers catching sight of it. In those days, when you saw Joan Rivers on the Johnny Carson show, sh...e had a routine about engagement rings where she would raucously insult the bauble. All for a laugh. Everyone loved her, including me. The time came for me to be presented. She grabbed at my hand and loudly crowed, 'Show me the ring!' After briefly examining the ring, with a warm and maternal kindness, she looked me in the eyes and said, 'Looks like a family heirloom.' And she thanked me for attending the lunch. Great manners." (Christina Oxenberg)


Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera


"The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT's annual lunch is always a natural photo op for New York-oriented publications. It’s a major social event that now serves as the starting gate for the autumn social season. I go into events such as this with a camera with the intention of taking some pictures so the reader can get an idea of what I’m looking at as a guest. The many professional party photographers there do the real work of recording the overall party. So I don’t worry about the quality or quantity as I try to give you, dear reader, a chance to see (and look at) the party when you’re in it. I state this because on Wednesday last at the luncheon at the David H. Koch Theater’s Promenade, there were many photographers taking it all in thoroughly. We can thank them for the photographic record they make for us to peruse. I, on the other hand, found my table and pretty much stayed nearby to get my pictures. This is who was nearby, stopped by, were sitting there, all waiting for the luncheon to begin and the honoring of Carolina Herrera. This is what I saw while there and when leaving." (NYSD)





"A few years ago when a tourist was enjoying breakfast on her beachside hotel balcony she watched a Key West policeman kill a man. The tourist took to social media and shared the sighting. The man was homeless and she clearly saw four policemen sit on him and one in particular shoved his face in the sand. And he died. The cops in Key West are out of control and particularly nasty... to the homeless, who they pick on with an evident savagery. Predictably they denied all wrongdoing of the homicide on the beach and since they are protected by their conch brethren nothing will happen. Largely, tourists only see the glittery sunshine in Eden. Since long before I came to town there has existed an evil that dwells scarcely beneath the surface. Something all the tourists see is Mr Chapman, a colorful man often around town on a bicycle outfitted like a mobile disco with flashing lights and loud thumping music, a local attraction. A man with a blissful smile, dark skin and a white beard. A conch, as the locals call themselves, albeit of Bahamian descent. The Chapman family have owned their own home for a couple of generations, in a house on Chapman Lane. Mr. Chapman is exactly what one would hope to find in Paradise. When he wasn’t on Duval Street pedaling his boom box bike, he could be found outside his home, comfortably reclined and with a cold one in his front yard. Mr Chapman has a grandson and you'll see them both on Duval Street in the afternoon, the little boy following on his own miniature boom box bike, following his grandpa, charming as a duckling.Everyone here knows this family. Making it all the more befuddling when local Law Enforcement found it necessary to destroy Mr Chapman’s ancestral home. Allegedlly there was a perpetrator the police were looking to apprehend and they believed he was hiding out at Mr Chapman’s. They could have knocked on the door. Instead, they smashed their way in." (Christina Oxenberg)

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