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Monday, November 24, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres








Photograph by Jock Fistick.
DEEP FOCUS Angela Merkel shares a moment with then French president Nicolas Sarkozy during a European Council meeting, in Brussels, March 13, 2008.


"As the old Market Church bells tolled in Hannover last October 3 on German Unity Day, commemorating Germany’s re-unification, Angela Merkel walked briskly over the cobblestones and paused at the entryway of the church to greet a few members of a children’s choir, dressed untraditionally in red sweatshirts and black pants. She herself was in her chancellor-of-Germany uniform: a brightly colored jacket, simple necklace, black pants, and low heels. She had TV pancake makeup on, but her sensible-matron look—cropped, softly colored blond hair, little lipstick—is always carefully calibrated to appear as if she were wearing no makeup at all. Only a couple of security guards could be seen anywhere in the church; there was no fanfare like the playing of “Hail to the Chief,” and, going up the aisle, she did not pause to shake hands with any of the congregation of 1,200 religious leaders, dignitaries, and diplomats. To think that only 25 years ago Angela Merkel was a divorced 35-year-old East German physicist specializing in quantum chemistry, who was not allowed to set foot in West Berlin and had never uttered a political opinion in public, was a striking affirmation of both the ability of Germany to recover and her own ability to succeed. After nine years of her rule, however, many Germans still see her as from the East, not really one of them. They understand that as Merkel plays an ever enlarging role in the world—going head-to-head with Putin, charming China, exasperating and infuriating her European Union partners with her unyielding demands—she, who wants nothing to do with being seen as a 'female' leader, has become The Man striding across the global stage. But, even so, Germans seem puzzled by Angela Merkel. 'She came as an outsider and she stayed an outsider,' Ines Pohl, editor of the Berlin alternative daily, Die Tageszeitung, commonly known as Taz, told me. 'She’s spooky, because how can she manage all these things? She’s not really a woman you can love—admire and be proud of, yes. But you always feel her killer instinct.' 'She governs by silence,' says Dirk Kurbjuweit of Der Spiegel, who wrote a 2009 biography of Merkel. 'It’s her biggest advantage and disadvantage. She never says something fast. She waits and waits to see where the train is going and then she jumps on the train. Part of this she learned in the G.D.R. [Communist East Germany]. She knew she had to watch her words—there’s nobody better at [vague] words than Angela Merkel.'" (VanityFair)




Thursday night's Pratt benefit in the ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental on Columbus Circle.


"This week’s calendar was the reason for last week’s calendar – people packing in their events before the long upcoming holiday. For example, last Thursday night was a calendar-jammer. Over at the Mandarin-Oriental, Pratt Institute held its 'Legends' evening, a scholarship benefit where they honored Iris Apfel, Kim Hastreiter, founder and editor-in-chief of Paper Magazine; and David and Sybil Yurman, the jewelers. Down at Cipriani Wall Street, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation honored Senator Tom Harkin and Travis Roy at its annual A Magical Evening: Gala Benefit. Over at Metropolitan West the IDEAL School and Academy held its 10th annual gala, honoring trustee Kenneth Mehlman." (NYSD)





"There was a time I was related to a former Prime Minister of Peru.  I was in Lima visiting, he was obsessed with security and never left his reinforced apartment in the San Ysidro area without a bodyguard as well as a couple of revolvers, one in his jacket pocket so that it sagged like the belly of a pregnant bitch, and another stuck in the waistband of his slacks. Sometimes when we drove around the city he liked to drive with the security guard in the passenger seat, buckled in and looking impotent. Lima’s streets were busy with impatient drivers and few police and fewer rules, all the cars seemingly racing instead of merely getting from place to place. But the former Prime Minister had his own tricks to stay alpha in the face of all those lesser dogs at the wheels. He would, while pressing the horn of his car with one hand, and steering with the knees of his long legs, with his free hand he would wave around one of his pistols, right out the window and directly at the shocked faces of all around. One day, we were walking into a restaurant which was a bungalow with a squad of ninjas on the roof all dressed in black and pointing AK47s, security for the restaurant, this was the 1980s, a different time. A time of violence and hunger strikes and sit ins at the Parliament and a time of riots in the big city square where authors were considering running for elected office." (Christina Oxenberg)

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