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Monday, November 10, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres




"Even at this late date in the Obama presidency, there is no surer way to elicit paranoid whispers or armchair psychoanalysis from Democrats than to mention the name Valerie Jarrett. Party operatives, administration officialsthey are shocked by her sheer longevity and marvel at her influence. When I asked a longtime source who left the Obama White House years ago for his impressions of Jarrett, he confessed that he was too fearful to speak with me, even off the record. This is not as irrational as it sounds. Obama has said he consults Jarrett on every major decision, something current and former aides corroborate. 'Her role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing,' says Anita Dunn, Obama’s former communications director. Broader, even, than the role of running the West Wing. This summer, the call to send Attorney General Eric Holder on a risky visit to Ferguson, Missouri, was made by exactly three people: Holder himself, the president, and Jarrett, who were vacationing together on Martha’s Vineyard. When I asked Holder if Denis McDonough, the chief of staff, was part of the conversation, he thought for a moment and said, 'He was not there.' (Holder hastened to add that 'someone had spoken to him.') Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks (she opposed Larry Summers at Treasury and was among the first Obama aides to come around on Hillary Clinton at State) and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration—'you can be my person over there,' is a common refrain. And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan 'bilats,' the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiatenine by nine, eight by eight, etc.our side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president." (TNR)


Jazz Johnson and Dirk Wittenborn.

"Wednesday night, you may remember, there was a book party for Jazz Johnson and Dirk Wittenborn. Peggy Siegal first gave me this book and said 'this is perfect for you' (meaning, something to write about), and we’re having a party for them.' I accepted it with feigned interest, thinking 'why would I even wanna read this?' Nevertheless, a job is a job.I go to the party, as you may have read or not. I meet the authors to take their picture. Jazz is a beauty and Mr. W is a rather dashing looking man with a smile that is naturally ironic. They look like they’re having a good time at the party which is filled with friends and relatives, almost none of whom I knew. They looked like they cudda cared less whether or not someone took their picture. Ms. Johnson is a Johnson & Johnson Johnson, a family of billionaires. They look like they’re having a good time, and that was the point. And now that I’ve started the book, I’ll bet they were having a good time. There’s a blurb by Plum Sykes on the back of the book: 'Any social climber coming to America should read this hilarious book on the plane in. Jazz and Dirk will show you how to win friends, influence people and never have to fly commercial again.' Plum’s obviously a friend, and a friend would definitely say something nice, right? The thing is it is serious. It could be helpful to a lot of people. Not just in social climbing per se, but in getting along in life and with other people. However, but ... it is hilarious. I’m laughing about it – and nothing specific – just in thinking about it. How can I tell you that? I’m going to run a couple of paragraphs right at the beginning of the book to give you an idea of the voice and the consciousness of the authors. They make the case for the Social Climber: How is it our culture can forgive banks their debt, the Kardashians, their toxic bad taste, and Donald Trump his hair but still discriminate against the social climber? Know that social climbing is an expression invented by snobs to make other snobs feel superior to you. Turning dreams into reality is what “The Social Climber’s Bible “ is all about." (NYSD)



"Visionaire launched its first issue, 'Spring,' in 1991 at the Rizzoli bookstore in New York for a mere $10, and quickly become known as less a traditional magazine showcasing art, fashion and design, and more a piece of art itself—and one of the most expensive 'magazines' out there.In 1992, if you were part of the fashion erudite and purchased Edition 5, “The Future,” you received an issue printed on Plexiglas (it last sold on eBay for $900.) By 1997, with Issue 23, 'The Emperor’s New Clothes,' fashion and clothes were left aside for a collection of oversize nude portraits. But these were just the beginning, (those who wanted to subscribe were in for some trouble). By Issue 53, “Sound,” in 2007, the magazine was a portable vinyl record player accompanied by five 12-inch records of 120 original one-minute tracks created by artists from David Bowie to Karen O. Some issues went for $250, while the 'Larger Than Life' issue, which was seven feet tall, was $1,500.For the 64th edition, released this fall for $325—simply titled 'Art'—conceptual artist John Baldessari was the primary collaborator, exploring the artistic capacity of selfies. Baldessari did not miss the irony of his work for the issue, remarking, 'I’ll probably be most remembered for putting dots over people’s faces, so it’s funny to do an issue devoted to selfies of famous people.'" (VF)



"I was driving to where the boulevard takes a sharp left and merges with the coast road. The sight of the glittering Atlantic sucked my attention and I dragged my eyes from oncoming traffic to admire the horizon of refracted sunlight and sparkles. However, instead of awe inspiring shiny sea I was faced with a pair of eyes. Oily dark eyes wide with terror. I was stunned and nearly lost control of my car. The tiny reptile was pressing himself flat and hugging the windshield. I...n his eyes I clearly read a heartbreaking desperation. I steered to the side of the road, and parked. My heart was racing with this sudden responsibility. I slipped out as fast as I could and rushed around to the front passenger side. Unfortunately my actions further terrified the wigged out gecko and he bound off the windshield and wound himself into the wheel spokes. No no! Get out of there! I waved excitedly at him.  He stared at me like I might be insane and he scooted down the tire. He was on the ground and then the unthinkable happened, he rushed into the traffic. Oh no! I implored, horrified at the raised threat level, and I ran around to herd him, at least out of harm’s way. Mercifully he responded, and dashed past me and towards the beach. I was already shaking from anxiety but I pursued him so that he settled far from the busy road." (Christina Oxenberg)





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