Friday, April 30, 2004

(sorry, no posts today, will resume tomorrow 5/1/04)

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Livin' It Up With Ali and Jack! (or, Ali, You Got Some 'Splainin to Do!)

Rush and Molloy report that Living it Up starring the oddly hyper Mrs. George Stephanopouolos, Ali along with her aging, charismatically challenged tv news mannequin sidekick Jack Ford (you know, the show with the nonexistent ratings) finally bit the big one (didn't you always know it would end up this way? why aren't we programming the networks?). Here's the poop:

"The syndicated talk show 'Living It Up! With Ali and Jack' was abruptly canceled yesterday with a stinging rebuke from King World Productions boss Roger King that left staffers stunned."

(The Corsair grabs a bag of unsalted popcorn, sits down in front of computer and reads on, excited at the prospect of another's downfall)

"The show, which appears locally on WCBS/Ch. 2, starred Ali Wentworth (aka Mrs. George Stephanopoulos) and Jack Ford.

"A snitch tells us, 'King World senior vice president Mike Stornello called everyone into the room and said the show had been axed. Then he put Roger on speakerphone, because he said Roger wanted to say thank-you to everyone.'

"But our spy quotes Roger as saying: 'There will be no thanks. I want to tell you how I really feel. This has been the most painful and expensive experience that the company has ever been through.'

"King called it 'a disastrous show,' saying 'no one has worked as hard as they could, [and it] cost a lot of money.'"

(The Corsair covers his mouth, then whispers slowly to himself: "oh no he didn't...")

"Ever the wit, Wentworth quipped after the tirade, 'Well, I feel better.'

"A King World rep told us yesterday: 'Roger expressed his disappointment and wished the staff luck in the future.'"

(The Corsair All purpose Simultaneous Translator: The fuckers cost me money, so I'm gonna get the motherfucking last word up in this here bitch.)

"The only person who didn't get an earful was co-host Ford. According to our source, he had left early to play golf."

Jack Ford's devotion to that shitty show is awe inspiring (wipes a crocodile tear) ... it gets me right here (pounds his chest, manfully). In George Gurley's Observer piece, he wrote, "Mr. Stephanopoulos declined to be interviewed about his wife, but released a statement through Ms. Raftery: '(Ali Wentworth's) talent is undeniable and completely unique. She is the most wonderful mother and wife, but what many people dont know is her Chicken Marbella is unbeatable!"

Well, get used to that Chicken Marbella, Georgieboy (aggressively punches the air), cause something tells me you'll have that particular poultry dish quite often while "Dark Ali" is on haitus. And don't be surpised if she starts experimenting with different sauces and spices, Georgie Porgie. Furniture will be rearranged on a daily basis. Unemployment is a bitch, my friend, little Clinton-traitor ... unemployment is hell .... for the other spouse.

Our Boy Gurley also wrote:

"Over the holidays (2003), Entertainment Weekly had listed both Ms. Wentworth and her husbands shows as among the worst of 2003. The couple was blamed for 'spoiling both weekday and Sunday-morning TV.' EW commented that Ms. Wentworths 'madcap shenanigans' make her co-host Mr. Ford look 'like a suicide-watch candidate.'"

"The Daily News also put Living It Up! with Ali and Jack on their worst-of-the-year list (2003), and so did The New York Times, in a print conversation between the papers TV critics. Alessandra Stanley called Living It Up! 'the worst daytime talk show in history' and said shed never reviewed it because 'very few watch it and it's just too painful and sad.'"

The painfulness and sadness is over. Old Yeller, the worst daytime talk show in history,' has been put down. Rest in peace, Livin' it Up with Ali and Jack.

Fashionweekdaily: Fabien Baron of Paris Vogue has ADD

If I ever got Fabien Baron of French Vogue alone in an interview situation, there are so many questions I would ask him, most of which relate to conceptions of beauty and style,and probably I'd ask for some jet set gossip.
Fashionweekdaily wanted to know about Carine, because everyone wants to know about what it's like to work with Carine, it's Carine's world, we just rent in it:

"Fashionweekdaily: What's it like working with Carine?

"FB: It's great working with Carine. I love her sense of risk, her desire for sexiness, her excitement for the new, her international taste, and the way she moves in her always-impeccable outfits -- quite something."

Then, sandwiched in between the data that his uniform consists of a black cashmere sweater and a charvet shirt, Levi's and Converse All Stars, we learn, coincidentally, that he has a pesky little case of that chic disease--attention deficit disorder (all the stars are getting it, my little soup bone):

"Fashionweekdaily: Best and worst things about working in fashion? What would you change?

"Fabien: The great thing about fashion is that it's only for six months. I think change is a good thing. But at the same token, the short-lived fashion world attracts people with short attention spans, which can ultimately create a sense of shallowness. I wouldn't change anything because I have A.D.D."

Pow! He's old school like that. Attention Deficit Disorder, thank you very much. That's pretty heavy stuff offered by way of admission to a total stranger. So, it was quite surprising to follow on, as Fashionwiredaily callously asked this man with attention deficit disorder the politically incorrect question:

"What's the future direction of French Vogue?"

Long distance planning from the ADD patient? Fabien Baron's answer, of course, in unsurprising:

"Who knows. Let's see where the fashion industry is going. I don't particularly think about the future. What we do is concentrate on the moment, doing the best for the moment. I'm glad Carine also works the same way."

Next up, Fashionweekdaily interviews a Down Syndrome kid and asks him to solve calculus problems. And, coming soon, Fashionweekdaily sets up an obstacle course to race sufferers of Parkinson's Syndrome. Sheesh.

And some people say I'm an asshole.

Mark Cuban Likes Rebecca Romijn -- A Lot

Mark Cuban is an arrogant, adolescent, overly aggressive and overbearing man-boy: a punk, in other words a fucking Stallone. But he's big now, as big as the google IPO, what, with that 60 Minutes blowjob last Sunday from Steve Kroft (after 5 unrelenting weeks of punishing the Bush Administration, last week's 60 Minutes was the most Republican-loving episode of all time, with attack pieces on the cigar smoking midget tyrant Sadaam lawyer, and two blowjobs each meted out to ultracapitalists Mark Cuban and a South African mogul named Tokio). I should know, I interviewed him once. But he is funny, and "id" in his manner, very primate, but his humor mitigates that. Or I could just be playa hating (possible).

Anyhoo: That's why when I checked out his Blog at BlogMaverick, and saw him discourse on the lusciousness that is Rebecca Romijn (kisses fingers with reverence, then continues in a dreamlike voice), I knew it was a keeper, and I felt a faint sense of alarm for his wife:

"The sports world is always about what are you going to do next. Sports reporters want to get the story about the game over and done with as quickly as possible so they can bug the hell out of you about what you are going to do next. They will ask you the same damn question over and over. Are you going to sign/resign/hire/fire XXXXX. That's 90 pct of the questions I get, and it's ridiculous because if I do anything, it's immediately available to everyone at the same time. So why not ask a question with some substance? Then I realized how lucky I was that I only had to put up with annoying repetition of questions.

"At the premiere of Godsend this week, I watched Rebecca Stamos deal with the same type of stupidity but at a level that made me realize and appreciate how little I have to deal with.

"The premiere was typical. Lots of paparazzi. It was cool to walk down the red carpet with my wife and Todd Wagner, my production partner. Cameras flashing, people screaming your name to look at them for pictures. But it was a pittance compared to what happened when she came by. My goodness. The questions probably would have had me jumping over the ropes to knock someone out. Personal. Personal. Personal. She handled it like a champ. Laughing off questions she didn't want to answer and being incredibly gracious with her time. Of course I was only watching every step she took because I was curious how she would deal with the media. It was purely an intellectual exercise. I had to refer to the physics classes I didn't take to wonder how she fit in that dress. But I digress."

Yes, indeed you do, my favorite billionaire interview subject. Yes, you do.
A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Ambassador Joe Wilson's book, The Politics of Truth, is the latest anti-Bush tome to come out. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA operative to creepy-eyed conservative columnist Robert Novak, and Wilson gets in the last word. The Independent writes:

"Leaking the identity of a CIA operative is a federal offence and the FBI, headed by an outside prosecutor, has for several months been conducting an investigation and has put together a grand jury to consider evidence and hear from witnesses.

"Mr Wilson initially claimed it was Mr Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove, who leaked his wife's identity, though he has since stepped back somewhat from that allegation. Reports suggest that other potential leakers could be Mr Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby or else John Hannah, a senior national security aide on the Vice-President's staff. Either way, if anyone in the White House is found guilty of the leak to Mr Novak and others, it would be very damaging to Mr Bush as he campaigns for reelection."

The Corsair has 60-40 action on Scooter Libby as the leaker, but my buddy, Pookie, uptown on 125th Street (who also on the side sells bootleg cartons of Newports), is taking 75-25 odds on John Hannah. Act like you know.

Out: Rebecca Loos, she of the meaningful name. It's getting kind of tragic for our Rebecca; she is at 14 minutes and 45 seconds and it's beginning to look like a disaster. Sky News is reporting that no less than Mohamed al Fayed cut the buxom beauty's name from his guest list for a party:

"Rebecca Loos' new celebrity status took a knock when Harrods' boss Mohamed al Fayed refused her entry to a party at the store.

"Miss Loos had been expecting to return as a guest to the upmarket Knightsbridge shop where she worked as a 19-year-old.

"But the former PA, who shot to fame after her claims about sleeping with England football captain David Beckham, was kicked off the list an hour before the bash.

"Al Fayed said the snub was out of loyalty and friendship to the Beckhams, who are customers at the store."

The UK is still all about the class distinctions. And, alas, in the end, the upper crust draws together close and protects it's own.

In: Corporate fat cats talking about fat americans. Oh, the irony is as thick as a McDonald's Milk shake. My old boss Jason Calacanis' weblog paraphrases a panel discussion of Nobel Laureates in Economics about -- of all topics -- obesity in America. Imagine my surprise:

"Daniel Kahneman: Discussed the size - that in the US you get 30-40% more food on your plate then in other countries. He said that once the food is on your plate we dont have control.

"Gary Becker: (Jason agrees) with a number of things Danny said. If you look at weight gain in the USA and the US has been a leader in this (huge laugh.) He said weight gain started to speed up in 1980. What happened after 1980? He mentioned three of four factors: the cost of junk food has gone way done. It is much cheaper to get it thanks to technology to prepare (he mention French fries.) Secondly, the sedentary nature of the teenage population has changed significantly. He mentioned TV and computer activity, and that work is more sedentary.

"Then showed a slide with an escalator leading up to a gym (huge laugh.)

"The third factor is a tricky and difficult one, and I dont know how much weight to put on it. We are in an environment where medical progress has sped up. He says that the people are less concerned about things like weight because they believe that in the future we will have drugs to solve cholesterol problems and sex enhancement drugs (i.e. Viagra.) He says this is all conjecture, but he believes it. We've only seen this increase in weight in the past 25 years.

"Milken paraphrases the concept as 'I can do what I want today and I can take a morning after pill.'"

Junk foods, junk bonds, what's the difference at Club Fed, eh, Michael? (huge laugh)

Out: Jill Sander over at Mediabistro asked some prominent magazine editors who they think should get a National Magazine Award. The usual culprits were represented -- Paul Colford, David Carr, Choire Sicha, Kurt Andersen, Tina Brown -- but then Jill went and asked Wired Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson. Big mistake, Jilly girl. Ol' Chris-co is not going to give the testosterone pull quote. He flips the script on bourgois geekiness and takes it to a whole new level:

"Award: Best Cover. I'd give it to Edge, a U.K. games magazine, which has the grooviest spot-varnished covers around. Minimalist, iconic, and often anime-influenced, they're probably a failure on the newsstand and I can't figure out how they can afford the production costs for subscribers. But each month I get a thrill just opening the polybag and a reminder of what magazines can do."

Ah, the thrill of opening the polybag ... Priceless.

In: Pumas. FashionWireDaily reports:

"Sales at Puma soared 29.3% in the first quarter of 2004, powered by rapid growth in sales of its apparel.

"The German sportswear and apparel brand racked up sales in the first three months of 443.8 million Euros ($532.6 million), while sales of apparel gained a whopping 39% to 111.2 million Euros.

"Puma also revealed that the company had achieved record profit margins in the first quarter. Gross profit margins thickened to an impressive 51.7%, up from 47.2% in the like period a year earlier. Net earnings grew 64.6 percent to 80.4 million Euros."

Out: A-List Movie Star salaries. They are going to go down faster than Paris Hilton on Rick Solomon. This interesting quote from Variety's coverage of the Mike Milliken Institute panels goes, "In a later session with reporters, though, (Sumner) added that star salaries would have to come down and said studios have let A-list actorwalkalk away with a disproportionate share of the rewards.'" To be continued. The Corsair will keep you informed of upcoming developments -- same bat time, same bat URL.

In: Jay Z's "99 Problems" Video is hot. Me? I've got 99 problems but a blog aint one. Thanks Scott of Stereogum for hooking us up with this shit. Rick Rubin is crazy in this trippy urban Brooklyn thuggernaut of a video. Jay Z gets sprayed with bullets a la Tony Montana in the end.

Out: Senate Democrats. According to Alexander Bolton of TheHill, the whoring fcampaignign contributions is at a feverish pace

"Senate Democrats are offering lobbyists new access to Senate Democratic leaders and lawmakers in exchange for personal contributions of $25,000, the maximum amount allowed to national party fundraising committees.

"Democrats are energized by a spate of unforeseen Republican retirements that have dramatically reshaped their prospects of regaining control of the Senate this November."

"...To close the gap, Senate Democrats are turning to allied lobbyists and consultants in Washington, many of who earn big paychecks touting their ties to lawmakers on the Hill. To be a member of the so-called Majority Council a program run by the DSCC lobbyists must reach into their own pockets for a donation of no less than $25,000.

"...Lobbyists at that level will be made members of the elite council, a group that will meet with the Senate Democratic leadership every month or six weeks. The councils first meeting was held about three weeks ago, and another meeting will take place in the early weeks of May."

That's fucking disgusting.

In: And, closing on a positive note, the white wine slurping cucumber munching Fifth Avenue set got together to support the ballet (yuck! The Corsair doesn't eat swine, and the Corsair sees no redeeming social function in ballet, excepting Neve Campbell's performance in The Company, which was sexy) in a civilized manner. Fashionweekdaily reports, "As the 100+ crowd gathered for the luncheon, young ballerinas in tutus from The American Ballet Theatres costume archives mingled with the ladies who lunch, who were all wearing their very best Carolina Herrera outfits. The darlings of New York society think Dayssi, Blaine, and Muffie mingled with the editors Kerry, Amanda and Kristina. During lunch, Carolina Herrera staged a presentation of her fall collection for guests, followed by one-on-one consultations."

What other occasion would there be for braised artichoke bottoms with fava beans.

Fucking rabbit food. No wonder the Old Money Upper East siders are so mean. Hunger from all that dieting and the rabbit food!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

An Interview with John Kerry's Hair

Matt Drudge reports that John Kerry, right before he flew in to appear on Meet The Press, had a $1000 haircut:

"On the Friday before his MEET THE PRESS appearance, Dem presidential hopeful John Kerry flew his Washington, DC hairdresser to Pittsburgh for a touch-up, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

"Cristophe stylist Isabelle Goetz, who handles Kerry's hair issues, made the trek to Pittsburgh, campaign sources reveal.

"'Her entire schedule had to be rearranged,' a top source explains.

"A Kerry campaign spokesman refuses to clarify if Goetz flew by private jet on April 16 or on the official Kerry For President campaign plane.

"The total expense for the hair touch-up is estimated to be more than $1000, insiders tell DRUDGE.

"One source suggests the hairdresser was flown to Pittburgh on Teresa Heinz Kerry's 'Flying Squirrel', a Gulfstream V private jet.

"'Senator Kerry thinks Isabelle does a superb job,' a campaign source said.

"Goetz grew up in a small town in eastern France. She also does Hillary Clinton's hair."

You know the shit is going to hit the fan. Kerry can fucking wave goodbye to the red states after this East Coast prep school washingtonian shit.

Anyhoo: this gets me in the mood to recycle on old story I did, so, if you haven't seen it:

An Interview With Senator John Kerry's Hair
By: Ron Mwangaguhunga

After several frustrated attempts, we were finally granted this important historical moment. So, without further ado, we proudly present for the first time: a
print interview with Senator John Kerry's hair.

Interviewer: Charmed, I'm sure; why now?

John Kerry's Hair (hereafter JKH): I will concede that I have been reluctant in the past, but setting the record straight is important to me.

Interviewer: That, and the upcoming Democratic Party primaries. Would you care to take the opportunity to sum up your opposition?

JKH: Rather than disparage the talent in the room, I'd like to state categorically that I am the best head of hair among the Democratic Presidential candidates.

Interviewer: That is a bold statement.

JKH: Bold times call for bold statements, my good man.

Interviewer: Well, there is no denying that you are a striking coif.

JKH: Even by the considerable standards of Massachusetts, which were instituted by the Kennedy family. I am the measure of all things hair.

Interviewer: What aboutJohn Edwards? He has impressive hair, no?

JKH: (averted gaze) Well, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Interviewer: What is this that we are hearing about Dick Gephardt dying his eyebrows?

JKH: One hears rumors to that effect. (Unnerved) Look,
what about me?

Interviewer: Sorry. So, tell us: what are your secrets to looking good. (confidentially) Is it Washingtonian power hairstylist Christophe?

JKH: Please. Christophe is so over.

Interviewer: So tell us.

JKH: You're going to laugh.

Interviewer: No, that would be unprofessional. Trust me, I won't laugh. What is your secret for looking so good?

JKH: Heinz Dark Brown Mustard

Interviewer: Oh dear.

JKH: Smeared liberally overnight, it works wonders. Also, I like to tell my constituents in Massachusetts that said mustard is just grand for use in grilled crab po' boys.

Interviewer: I'm sure it is.

JKH: So you see there are many political advantages to my wife, Theresa Heinz.

Interviewer: Yes, I was meaning to get to that.

JKH: I really am not at liberty to discuss her.

Interviewer: (crestfallen) Well, okay, how about the President�s economic stimulus plan?

JKH: Can't talk about that either, old boy. I'll leave the meditations on the merits of the President's plan to help Americans earn ends meet to the Senator. My primary concern, rather, is the avoidance of split ends.

Interviewer: Very well. Let's try something innocuous. What color are you?

JKH: That�s not a political minefield. I am chestnut with a liberal sprinkling of dusted gray.

Interviewer: Liberal, you say?

JKH: A poor choice of words, in retrospect. Let's just say I am a well textured mop of dusted-grey hair.

Interviewer: Are you worried about going completely gray?

JKH: Pardon?

Interviewer: It's a well known fact that the rigors and the burdens of the office of the Presidency turn their resident gray within the first year. That's a fact: look at Bush and Clinton and, as we speak, George W. Are you saying that you are not aware of
this fact?

JKH: (hesitant) I am not unaware ...

Interviewer: Well then what is your position on going prematurely gray?

JKH: Ah, hair today, gone tomorrow?

Interviewer: If you say so. Now ...

JKH: You say that this going gray is an established fact.

Interviewer: Of course.

JKH: Right. Well, I'm going to have to close the lid on things.

Interviewer: -- But.

JKH: So good of you to drop by, but I have things to discuss with the Senator.

Interviewer: Oh well. Good luck in the primaries.

Studio 360's Kurt Andersen Interviews Air America's Lizz Winstead

Of all places, has an interview between Kurt Andersen and Lizz Winstead, co creator of the Daily Show, who left Comedy Central after a brutal feud with the dumb-as-wood politically incorrect mannequin Craig Kilborne. Trippy. But you have to watch Andersen's martini dry wit. It comes up from nowhere, and zaps you on the social level something fierce and unexpected, like an uppercut to the chops. I'm serious.

I know Kurt, somewhat. We worked together at New York magazine, back when he was editor and I was a hungry factchecker. Why, I remember, in another life, years later, being interviewed for a job at by Andersen. The conversation was pleasant. It was the height of the dotcom revolution and in Silicon Alley, and he was starting a new business in an arena that I had been a minor player in for a year or so. The conversation turned to the small consumer magazine I was editing at the time, MacDirectory. He asked me after the magazine. I launched into a spirited explanation of where I was steering the magazine editorially. We were to be the Vogue Magazine of technology magazines, sexy, savvy, digital. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes, then leaned toward me, conspiratorially, saying, meaningfully,"No, Ron, I mean, what is MacDirectory."

All at once I felt the air drain from my lungs, and for a second hyperventillation seemed a distinct possibilty. Only Kurt's boyish grin told me that he was just kidding, cutting the tension, clearing the air. Kurt's like that. Blam! And then the grave demeanor is broken with the boyish smile. So, imagine my surprise when I read Kurt and Air America's prickly Lizz Winstead:

"Kurt: When a Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson thing happens, will you talk about it? Or will you purely be Halliburton and Iraq?

"Lizz Winstead: We will, [but] we might take less of a Howard Stern approach and try to break down why people are reacting the way they are and why, for God's sakes, the media is leading with it. Really: Is a society that embraces America's Funniest Home Videos so outraged that they saw a woman's breast? Or are they outraged because the woman is just too old to show her breast, because nobody wants to see the breast of anyone over the age of � I think 30 is the cutoff?

"Kurt: To have all of these modules of news comedy, that's a daunting prospect. Comedy can go wrong in a bigger way and make somebody turn the dial faster than just talk.

"Lizz: We're never going to do some gigantic six-minute sketch. And the comedy is going to have a purpose. That way I think people won't tune out. You've got to be a little bit fearless and say, 'This whole venture is a risk,' because no one's ever done anything this kooky before.

"Kurt: Is the plan to make money, lose money?

"Lizz: Make money.

"KA: Not just from Ben and Jerry's ads."

Fuck. That hurt. I could feel it from across the computer screen. I could see him winding up that suckerpunch. That's his MO, I tell you. Lull you into complacency with banter. Disarm you. Then Ka-plooey, right cross to the solar plexus.

And while we're on the topic of Ben and Jerry's, go get some free ice cream today, as it is cone day and the weather, in NYC, is ice cream friendly.

Deadlines make it impossible to blog tomorrow. I'll be back Thursday.

A Little Bit of the Old In and Out

In: Quirky actor Nic Cage getting married to 19 year old waitress:

"According to The Sun, Cage proposed to 19-year-old Alice Kim with a huge diamond and emerald ring.

Nicholas met Alice when he was out dining with friends on Valentine�s Day at Sushi Avenue, where she worked.

"The star of Gone in 60 Seconds became so captivated by Alice while he was there that he invited her to the Oscars with him the following month.

"Cage, who is more than twice Alice�s age, created quite a stir at some of the Oscar after-show parties when he was seen with her on his knee.

"Since their Oscar date the actor has taken Alice in his private jet for several romantic meals in New Orleans and Chicago, where he has been filming.

"A friend said: 'Nic has really fallen for this girl.'


Out: Halle Berry, the first African American woman ever to recieve a Best Actress Oscar, has filed for divorce from rhythm and blues singer Eric Benet (has anyone ever bought an Eric Benet album?), according to Ananova:

"The couple were married for three years and separated in October. It is the second divorce for the actress, who was previously married to Cleveland Indians outfielder David Justice.

"Tabloids speculated about Benet's faithfulness from almost the moment the X-Men star married Benet in January 2001.

"The two met in 1999 at a party to celebrate the premiere of Berry's movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

In: China. Jason Calacanis attended The Miliken Institute's Roundtable Discussion: Perspectives on China in the Global Economy, and he presents a daunting portrait of competition against China in the next hundred years. Harold Goldstein, the Managing Director of Xinhua Finance, the moderator, said:

"(Harold Goldstein) showed the following slide which shows the number of years to double per capita GDP. It took the UK from 1780 to 1838. It took the US from 1839-86. It took China less then ten years to do it twice�since 1978.

"Copper 97 to present 11 to 20% of the world�s total. Second largest importer of oil with 7% of the globe�s consumption. Harold says China has pricing power in shipping and commodities."

"... China may have a rough landing, it may see a precipitous drop in GDP over the next 24 months, but the more important story are the fundamental changes taking place. China is producing about 200,000 graduates in science and engineering each year � that is more then the US, Germany and Japan combined. I would argue the nature of the reforms means tha the china GDP growth story will continue even if there are bumps in the road."

Out: The always interesting Dick Morris takes George Bush to task for his presentation, his style and his rhetoric, which, Morris asserts, is way too geared towards white men (we agree):

"Asked whether they would give priority to 'letting terrorists know we will fight back aggressively' or to 'working with other nations,' men want to fight by 53-41 while women seek cooperation as their priority by 54-36 � a gender gap of 30 points!

"But much of Bush�s problem is linguistic. He needs to develop a war-on-terror equivalent of his highly successful 2000 rhetoric about being a compassionate conservative committed to leaving no child behind.

"Women are a lot less interested in forcing democracy on Iraq than they are in preventing suffering there and promoting safety here."

In: Wonkette. It's always a bonfire of the vanities over at Wonkette. But this time, she catches the city's powerful in DC making perfect asses out of themselves. To wit, the big Bloomberg after party for the White House Correspondent's dinner. Wonkette says:

"We hear that some enterprising journalists have been attempting to score invites to the big Bloomberg White House Correspondents' Dinner after-party by saying they need to get in because they are 'covering' the party. But those trying this tack clearly haven't coordinated very well -- either that, or a certain local paper is planning entire special issues around the event. What's more, some of these reporters aren't exactly known for their society coverage, though this has yet to stop anyone. Says our source: 'I can see it now: The Bloomberg after-party -- a pespective from Baghdad.'"

In related news, Kwame Jackson of The Apprentice will accompany Great Von Suistern to the Dinner on Saturday Night.

Invitees to the Bloomberg after party include Ben Affleck (Ben's acting career is at an all time low, a political career might do him sone good), Meg Ryan, Jimmy Kimmell, George Clooney, Drew Carey, hopeful country music crooner Minnie Driver, Mary Louise Parker, Candice Bergen, Mary-Kate and asley Olsen (please someone, give Mary-Kate some stew), Anna Kournikova, Serena Williams, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters and former Iraq War POWs Shoshana Johnson and Jessica Lynch. Drew Barrymore will be shooting a documentary at the dinner and after party on the 2004 election.

Sometimes, the respective roles of each component of the DC-LA-NY power nexus get all mixed up and the power, the glamour and the media all converge at a single event. This is that event.

Out: OneWorld? One debt. Remember OneWorld, that unreadable urban magazine with all the pretty pictures and interviews of Russell Simmons' family each issue? It's having trouble paying freelance writers. David Carr of the NY Times (and topic A with tina Brown) writes:

"Ward Sutton, an animator and illustrator, said he was owed $2,550 for a comic and illustration he drew for (OneWorld) magazine. He sent a note asking for payment after the final issue, and received this reply from the publisher, John N. Pasmore, 'OneWorld has no ability to pay its bills and unless something unexpected happens, OneWorld will file for reorganization (Chapter 11) or dissolution (Chapter 7).'"

wow. It sucks to be Ward Sutton right about now.

Is Mary-Kate Olsen Too Skinny?

That significant cultural artifact Star Magazine runs the subject of the world famous Gemini twins. Is she too skinny? Peter Davis, Victoria Gotti and Nathan Cooper share authorship on this:

"First she ditched her twin sister Ashley's sunshine-blonde hair color in favor of a reddishbrown hue. Now, on the eve of the May 7 opening of the Olsen twins' $40 million debut feature film, New York Minute, Mary-Kate is upping the ante in her quest for individuality by becoming skeletal-thin, observers say.

"Mary-Kate looks shockingly skinny in recent photographs, leading some to question whether the pressure of her busy career is taking its toll.

"'It looks like she's got no body fat at all,' says psychologist Dr. Robert Butterworth, who has closely examined the pictures of Mary-Kate, but does not treat her. 'She seems thin. I think she's underweight and she's hiding it.'"

"... And with adulthood around the corner -- the twins turn 18 on June 13 -- the girls are gearing up to attend New York University this fall. If that weren't enough, Mary-Kate is also in the midst of her first serious relationship -- she dates Boston University student David Katzenberg, son of DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg."

The article concludes:

"Though a rep denies that either sister has an eating disorder, other reports paint a different picture. At a Hollywood function in December, according to one source who was there, Mary- Kate and her sister barely touched their food. 'They both played with the food on their plates, moving the food from side to side,' the source says. 'And Mary-Kate looked like nothing but skin and bones.'"


Monday, April 26, 2004

The Corsair's Remote Control Tour Diary, 2.0

I originally ran this several months ago, but as the cable universe changes and evolves faster than Kylie Minogue's face, I'm adding on some new channels and my commentary for the newbies. There are also new stories beneath, so, scroll, my little soupbones.

There are over 500 cable channels nowadays, so who better to give you a tour of some of the major ones?

Anyhoo: 500 channels means "niche marketing." And with all those niches, things can get confusing as to what is being marketed and to whom. So, The Corsair will help the viewer through the wonderful world of cable with these pithy explanations, In Media Res:

TNT: Lousy with Middle aged Testosterone. A musky-smelling channel. Bruce Willis and Steven Seagal action flics and basketball. Big in New Jersey.

MTRS: Fashion runway shows. Sexy models on the catwalk in sheer gowns and hip music. The only channel where the velvet rope is open to horny teenage boys and fashion industry insiders. Democracy at work.

CNN: Used to be a channel for Kings and Queens and heads of state, but of late it has morphed into the channel republicans love to hate. Establishment without the ratings or juice. Pity CNN: They used to wine and dine with kings and queens, but now they are laying in the gutter eating pork and beans.

Lifetime: A channel earnestly devoted to fanning the smouldering resentments of Midwestern housewives. Husbands are, of course, to blame in most of these story lines that usually end with a favorable courtroom verdit .. for the wife who killed her abusive husband. Anger is the predominant emotion. Hollywood has not been kind to Nancy McKeon. Hell hath no fury like Joanna Kearns scorned!

ABCFamily: The channel devoted to Christian tween girls in a nuclear family with a conviction that human history has a purpose beyond this world. Halleleuia. Lots of Mary Kate and Ashley films, which, ironically, attract a very different sort of crowd than the ones that these cats are aiming after.

CNBC: This channel serves as "White Noise" for the various strip joints in the Wall Street and financial district vicinity. As your Bud Fox-like trader with a "Lawng Island" accent sips a Stoli on the rocks on his lunchbreak, sniffing his "Bolivian white Powder" ("Vitamin C"), getting a "friction dance" from his favorite "dancer," he can look over her shoulder, casually, and catch a brief glance at just how the markets are doing, and get a gauge on when he should return to the office. Maria Bartiromo as metaphor for the ideal Long Island investment banker's trophy wife.

A&E: An elderly folks network with lots of Murder, She Wrote, and "original" films like "Horatio Hornblower," for viewers who can remember their glorious years of service in the British Imperial navy policing those hectic colonial ports. And Biography. Old people love reading and watching biographies. Another life not their own, I suppose.

History: This is the Hitler and Outlaw Biker channel. At any time of the day, there is a hilbilly bar with serious discussions going on as to Hitler's "tactical blunders" and what they would have done "different," with this channel serving as the background noise. Attila the Hun and notorious historical persona, like Vlad the Impaler are big here.

Discovery: This is the older, skeevier companion network to the already low rent History Channel, which means that it attracts a comparatively downscale sort of viewer than one would expect at History, which is not saying much at all. Seriously, though, This is the straight up serial killers network. No joking, yo. Somewhere in the Yosemite Valley there is a man, in a dungeon, sweating profusely, wearing clown makeup and laughing at the moon. He is surrounded by dog collars and he is described by co workers at the post office as "a solitary man."

Guess which channel this guy is watching to drown out the screams. That's right (sotto voce) Discovery. Homeland security must needs to monitor anyone who watches more than 3 hours a day of this shit.

VH1: Perhaps the coolest channel on basic cable or otherwise (full disclosure: I write for VH1's best blog ever, on occasion), my little soupbones! Suffused with irony, snark and nostalgia, this channel supplies the basic components of the urban diet. Michael Hirschorn is our god; we are not worthy.

MTV: No longer cool: a little resentful of the joie de vivre its older, more successful brother, VH1. It will never be the 80s again and the blush has wore off that ordinary looking frat boy Carson Daly. Lots of prank shows, like Punk'd and Wild Boys. TV for the low attention span generation (thanks hippies for dropping the kids in front of the gameboy) Even extreme sportsmen need eye candy for the downtime.

E!: Creepy celebrity stalking and gossip. Everyone on this channel reeks of thwarted Hollywood ambitions and plastic surgery gone awry. This channel hasn't had a hit since Greg Kinnear was up in this bitch, and Jules Asner snatched Steven Soderberg, using the Asner name (she divorced Ed Asner's son years ago). E! stands for envy, which is the predominant emotion expressed on this channel.

ESPN: This is reality tv for the Maxim set. Faint but palpable homoerotic subtext conveyed via "hero worship" of alpha males, like, say, Shaq or Sprewell (but viewers call him with the jocular-guy-pal sobriquet "Spree," cause, like, they know him personally in a Calvin Klein kind of way), but, of course, your average Joe Fratboy will never acknowledge that distrubing little truth.

Bravo: For the affluent gay man, but not as culturally prestigious as BBC America, because BBC has that whole colonial cachet -- pre 1776. Cultural programming(National Dog Show, Cirque du Soleil, Inside the Actors Studio) and Queer Eye For the Straight Guy rebroadcasts. Excellent movies like Deer Hunter are occasionally sprinkled into the programming.

BET: A seriously embarassing network marketed to the seedy stereotype of the urban underclass. Ghetto comedy skits told in unremarkable english with frequent reference to bodily functions; charmed, I'm sure. Snakeoil selling televangelists like Crispy and Taffi Dollar -- how ghetto -- prevail over the airwaves on Sundays. And C-List Blaxploitations flix fill out the rest of any regrettable week spent watching this schedule. Can you fucking believe that Viacom paid three billion dollars for this channel?

Sci Fi: The repressed sexuality channel. Their niche is the grown man who has a crush on the X Man, Storm and dreams in full-on video games. Somehow the unresolved "sexual energy" gets worked out into a reverence for the "paranormal." B List hot chicks like Shannen Doherty and Tracy Lords end up here after Hollywood is through with them.

Fox: If you go in for Karl Rove's talking points, this is the channel for you. The Corsair has to admit that he watched it during the Second Gulf War. Fox routinely scooped the other networks because it sometimes seemed that Rummy gave them the inside scoop. For a "family values network," the women broadcasters have an oddly pornographic patina about them. Hmmm.

Showtime: Tries earnestly to out-extreme the original programming at HBO, who got there first. Dreams of getting recognized at events like the Golden Globes; not likely, however. This is the place to try to pitch your indie documentary on transexual underwater basket weavers in Micronesia.

Food: For people who's interest in food has transcended the purely phenomenal eating stage. We still like the Iron Chef, though. Fuku-san, ("yes") I just heard that the Iron Chef, that odd Asian man dressed in a Rennaissance courtier outfit via Liberace and Samaurai style days was munching a yellow pepper.

TLC: This channel is a bit of a mystery to me. It used to have a niche as a sort of Cliff Clavin channel: you know, for the general interest trivia mind-- programming on the imago stage of child development, poisonous reptiles, the Minoan civilization, Roman mosaics, classical biological warfare, the robber barons, volcanoes, that sort of thing. But now it has a lot of "fixing up the home" programming. Go figure what that means.

AMC: Kind of Cool. Old Hollywood glamour with some original programming and commentary on the Gilded Age of Hollywood. This is like a channel put together by the editors of Variety looking backward. Vanity Fair should do a show here. Old school.

FX: Not worth talking about. Maxim lite. Loads of testosterone. A warehouse for old Fox Tv shows. Married ... with Children repeats, anyone?

We: Women's fantasy. Lots of Merchant-Ivory Brit productions of aristocrats who fall in love with common women, who are often middle aged American divorcees. Pure drivel.

C-Span: For the ultra political science geek. Viewers tend to look like Michael Barone, wait anxiously for their New Republic copies to arrive, and chuckle over Senate voting record statistics. Can rattle off the precise wording of the Republican Party platform of 1964.

Oxy: Very "sisterhood" oriented; Oprah and Gerry Laybourne's experiment has recently taken a sort of Sapphic detour of late with regard to their programming.

National Geographic: Interesting and kind of cool. This is a channel about animals and exotic cultures and taboos.

IFC: So earnest, so hip, so anti-Hollywood: yet as soon as Dinner for Five's indy star John Favreau gets to do a big shlocky Hollywood film like Elf, he jumps like a Cocker Spaniel being offered a dog yummy. Independent cinema is dead.

TCM: This is a less hip AMC. This is like AMC with a broken hip. Lots of old movies with no irony or relevant commentary.

Ovation: The Corsair has a theory that this is a piece of flotsam adrift on the vast media ocean that is digital television. They repeat the same ten or so programs ad nauseum. Is there anyone employed at Ovation? Did the programmer have a heart attack in the 80s? Did anyone notice? Is anyone watching?

ESPNClassic: Oh, dear lord help us. Old men with beer bellies reliving "classic sports moments." (At this point, Bruce Springsteen's Glory Days should be playing). This is the tv channel Al Bundy would most likely be watching on his day off from the shoe store.

SoapNet: This is ESPN Classics for the housewife. For those who missed an episode of One Life Too Live because the pesky rugrat swallowed a button. Imagine the inconvenience. Bon-bons are big advertisers.

TVLand: Tries to be all retro-ironical, but street cred will not be forthcoming by running repeats of Bewitched and Sanford and Son, alone. Poor saps. The other networks have bought all the good old tv shows, leaving TV Land to contemplate Mayberry.

Animal Planet: Television for committed vegans and PETA members. What kind of ad revenue do these guys generate? Pet detectives and other odd programming fill the bill. The Corsair has heard that lots of pet owners keep the channel on while they go to work.

Sundance: An edgier IFC; very left wing political, but pure. Robert Redford's pet liberal project. While IFC pretends that they their directors will have the integrity to turn down 3 picture deals to make crappy Hollywood car-chase pictures, these guys really would rather do a documentary on Micronesian head hunters. So there.

Trio: Perhaps the coolest channel of them all. What VH1 viewers will most likely watch after they all "sell out" (I didn't sell out, I bought in) . Used to be a Canadian station, believe it or not, back in the day, with lots of Canadian mountie dramas. A station devoted to the sophisticated amateur sociologist interested in the decline of Western Civilization. In a detatched, ironic and witty manner, of course.

NWI: A wrap up of all the international anti-American news agencies. Al Gore is having as much trouble buying this station as he had in Florida. Are you going to blame Nader for this too, Al?

DiscoveryTimes: One of the strangest channels in the world. this is actually the New York Times' channel, but it is devoted to showing America militarized or in crisis, which, all told, are the moments when The Old Grey Lady was at its finest. Lots of Civil rights struggles, war footage, terrorism analysis, and --wierdest of all -- endless looks into our military academies. What the fuck?!

FUSE: MTV's unsuccessful competitor for the extreme generation low attention span kiddie market, which is not saying much.

VH1Classic: Could be interesting, as the X Generation is big on nostalgia, but right now this channel is not happening.

USA: This is the sybil channel. It is high testosterone most of the year, but come holiday time it is all about the holidays... kinda like our dads.

Style: If it is possible this is an even more shallow channel than E! Lots of C-List types talking about the beauty business. Hair care, weight loss, mascara ads predominate.

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Sofia Coppola and Quentin Tarrantino, according to Gawker, ar an item. Fuck. I'll be the depressed blogger sucking down can after can of Sofia Blanc de Blanc. Looking like Woody Allen at the end of Crimes and Misdemeanors. I mean, what does QT have that I don't .. wait, don't answer that.

Out: Bill Clinton Drama. According to The New York Magazine Intelligencer column this week, Clinton's memoirs may come out in August! Thus interfering with the Kerry campaign (unless --wink, wink -- Hilary is on the ticket -- wink, wink):

"Bill Clinton�s long-awaited memoir may finally have a release date, and if so, it�s not good for the John Kerry campaign. A publishing source says the Random House book, most recently slated for June, will hit stores in August, after the July Democratic convention and less than three months before the election�and some Kerry supporters fear it may divert attention from their candidate. Clinton is addressing the Random House sales force this week. (He�s also agreed to speak at anti-Bush political organization�s benefit on May 11 at the Apollo.) A source close to Clinton will say only that he�s finishing up the book as fast as he can�and that it could come out before the convention. Random House declined to comment."


In: Paris Hilton, the new model for Guess? Paris in the Fall ... campaign. We can now forget that whole porn business.

Out: Wall Street Journal. Bad news for the paper. According to Jenny Bailly of Fashionwiredaily:

"Mohamed Al Fayed's latest litigious move has gotten the green light. A High Court judge has ruled that Harrods can proceed with a defamation claim against Dow Jones and Company, owner of the Wall Street Journal.

"Harrods boss Al Fayed took issue with a WSJ story published about the Knightsbridge department store on April 5, 2002, headlined 'The Enron of Britain?' In response to a press release issued in jest by Harrods on March 31, titled 'Al Fayed Reveals Plan to Float Harrods,' the financial paper warned that if the company ever went public, investors would be 'wise to question its every disclosure.'

I guess the April Fool is the Journal.

In: Eminem, the most metrosexual rapper ever. According to that significant cultural artifact Star Magazine's Laura Schreffler, Em likes to pamper himself:

"On April 12, during his European trip, reports say the 31-year-old rapper indulged in luxurious treatments at the spa in London's posh The Dorchester hotel, where he was staying.

"Though a spokesman for The Dorchester Hotel wouldn't comment on Eminem's specific treatments, a staffer at the spa said he hit the tanning beds (which can cost up to $60 for a half-hour), the massage tables and pedicure baths -- accompanied by four big bodyguards who stood sentry outside the treatment rooms! Staffers say he was nice, sweet and friendly, 'nothing like you would expect.'

"But Em's no stranger to pampering: Reports say he's also been seen in Hollywood's upscale Ole Henriksen Salon for pore-cleansing facials."

Now, if only he could find something to rap with aromatherapy.

Out: Vanity. Chris Matthews tried to pretend that his vanity is under control on the Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, but David Brooks, resident conservative at the Old Gray Lady was having none of it:

Matthews: We're all gonna look at the back (index section) of the (Bill Clinton bio) and look under L for Lewinsky.

Brooks: "Who are you kidding? You'll look under M for Matthews."

Accurate, David ... accurate.

In: Lowculture's Doonesbury Send up. Goddamn the brilliance of the guys at Low Culture.

Out: Omarosa. MSNBC's Jeanette Walls gets the scoop:

"The much-loathed reject from 'The Apprentice' was scheduled to appear on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' last week, but refused to go on air when she saw a lie detector test backstage.

�'The lie-detector test wasn�t even for her,' a spokeswoman for the show told the Scoop. 'It was intended for Jimmy�s Uncle Frank [a regular character on the show], but when Omarosa saw it, she just freaked.� Some fellow contestants have accused Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth of lying when she said one of them used the N-word. 'We tried and tried to calm her down, but she just kept saying I�m not going on stage with that lie detector test, then she just walked out. It could have been a problem because we�re a live show. Luckily, Camryn Manheim [of �The Practice�] was also a guest, and so she just stayed on a while longer and cracked jokes.'"

You know you're in the cut when you can say you cracked jokes a little longer with Cameryn Manheim.

In: Socialite's Life On Estee Lauders untimely death, "Middle-aged women everywhere are trying to keep their mascara from running today." We love Miu.

Topic A: Jay McInerney's Ex Wife's Plastic Surgery

Just what the fuck occurred with Tina Brown on last night's Topic A with Tina Brown? Was it the book deal (Thanks, Gawker)? As she gave her "hot pick," and she said goodnight, just before that sort of porny-speakeasy jazz music started wafting through the studio, and the credits rolled, she got a michievous twinkle about her eyes, then she leaned in to novelist-panelist Jay McInerney and asked about his ex wife, Helen Bransford, and her plastic surgery. And the fucking mike's were still live!

Did Tina know what she was doing?

Julie Breeson of Boston Magazine summed up the beginning of Bransford's facelift book thusly:

"Helen Bransford, author of Welcome to Your Facelift (Doubleday, 1997) and wife of Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney, took the plunge at 47, getting lipo under the chin, a forehead peel, an upper-eyelid tuck, dermabrasion (removing fine wrinkles through an abrasion tool), and a standard facelift, all at once. The chronicle of her surgery began with what she describes as a 'trigger event.' Her husband came home one night after interviewing Julia Roberts and raved about the actress' beauteous attributes. Helen was understandably jealous, but Jay reassured her he had told Julia all about her, leaving out only the pesky detail of her age (Helen is seven years older than Jay). This sent her running pell-mell to plastic surgeons across the nation for advice, ultimately having her operation done near her home in New York City."

Despite the fact that Bransford wrote a book on her facelift, which is in the public record, Jay didn't feel like letting all 70 members of Tina's viewing audience (only kidding) in on his personal life.

Obviously, Tina felt the topic was too personal to bring up during the show, even though one of the topics was The Swan and all those nutty reality plastic surgery shows. So, uh, why the fuck bring it up when the mikes are still live, where evil bloggers like me could post it online for all the world to see?

"Now it seems so quaint that I would have (had) those reservations," he replied to Tina. And just as the show cut, bloated Brit Paul Theroux could be heard saying, " ... it's grotesque."

Oh, what The Corsair would have given to have been a fly on the wall in the ensuing, uncensored, chat on plastic surgery.

The UK Guardian's book section did a wondeful and snarky and gossipy profile of McInerney, which I reprint, in part, here, as he talks about life with his third wife, now ex-wife, Helen Branford:

"( A new life was) marriage to Helen Bransford, and moving to Tennessee. But now that, too, is over. This again raises the question always asked by Jay-watchers: is he really a good boy pretending to be bad, or is he actually as bad - as callous and brattish - as he can sometimes seem? Naturally he has always favoured the former view, and said two years ago, 'I think I've been trying to prove I'm a really bad guy for 20 years, that I'm not a mother's boy. But part of me is stuck with being a Catholic boy who is slightly shocked by things.' Part of him - but perhaps a decreasing part. He once admitted that, as a teenager, he was deeply influenced by the Playboy 'Adviser' section and he still retains that slightly tacky notion of sophistication - he really has to have a beautiful woman on his arm. And the emotional detritus is piling up."

Some people are deeply influenced by Nabokov, and others The Playboy Advisor. But what happens when one is influenced by Playboy Advisor?:

"(Jay) says he's not behaved so badly. 'I don't think I've left a trail of weeping women in my wake. I mean, the number of serious relationships I've had has not been into double digits. Merry [his second wife] once said I was a very dangerous man, but I don't know many people who would agree with her. I think I have a much more tempestuous and eventful amorous life than the average middle-class citizen, but I wouldn't agree that I necessarily behaved dishonourably. The score is about equal between me and the opposite sex!'

"Perhaps. His first wife, Linda Rossiter, was a half-Japanese model whom he met when he was living in Japan on a Princeton scholarship. The marriage lasted for precisely four months - she went off to the Milan collections and never came back. Then in 1981, while studying at Syracuse under Raymond Carver, he married a PhD student called Merry Reymond. He was still living with her when Bright Lights, Big City was published in 1984, and changed his life. He claims that no one thought he was handsome till he became a famous writer, but suddenly every door in New York was open to him, everyone was offering him cocaine, and models were passing him their phone numbers. It was exciting for him but confusing for Merry: 'She married a graduate student and woke up married to an MTV star.'"

The Corsair munches on popcorn, riveted to the screen, at the thought of the 80s, models passing telephone numbers and half-Japanese models:

"In 1987 he left her for a model, Marla Hanson, who was then headline news as a result of having had her face slashed by a mugger. Merry suffered acute depression, attempted suicide, and was in a psychiatric hospital for nine months. He paid the enormous bills, which wiped out his earnings from Bright Lights, and said, 'Yeah, I did feel guilty, but I paid a lot of money to expunge the guilt.' One of the best stories in How It Ended seems to relate to this period. It is about a famous actor going to visit his estranged wife in a psychiatric home, and wondering why he keeps delaying their divorce. 'Sometimes he suspected he was afraid to let go because she was the only person who wouldn't allow him to reinvent himself completely, into something bright and shiny and superficial... [She] was perhaps his best chance to remember and preserve the best of what he had been.'

"So he was slow to divorce Merry and never got round to marrying Marla Hanson, though they stayed together for four years. He remembers it as 'a very obsessive relationship, throwing glasses at each other, cheating on each other. It was very exciting.' But she left him in 1991, walking out with her portfolio and her diaphragm, just like his first wife. Within days, he rang an old friend, Helen Bransford, asked her out, and suddenly they were in love and married three weeks later at City Hall. She came from a very grand old Tennessee family (the family seat, Belle Meade, is now a museum) and he seems to have fallen in love with the South as much as with her. They bought a country ranch near Nashville, and he signed off from New York with his big valedictory novel Brightness Falls. His next novel, The Last of the Savages, was set in the South, and the interviews he gave on publication were all about horses, heirlooms, ancestors, and revealed a hitherto-unsuspected vein of snobbery. He claimed, 'I always wanted to live in the world that I have ended up living in.'"

The Corsair mouths the words, softly, reverently, "I always wanted to live in the world that I have ended up living in," pausing on the syllables, trying them on for size. The profile in the Guardian continues:

"But the Tennessee idyll was already flawed. Helen was 43 when they married - seven years older than him - and warned him that they might not be able to have children. He said he honestly didn't mind. But when she became pregnant within weeks of marrying him, he seemed to share her delight. Then she had a miscarriage. Then she had four more miscarriages. Then she turned to IVF. But her eggs were too old, and her uterus too old to carry the baby to term. Most women, I imagine, would have given up at this point, but she didn't. A friend of hers called Jesse, a country and western singer, offered to donate eggs, and Helen advertised for a surrogate mother to carry the baby. She found a waitress who was willing to do it for $15,000. Thus, with Jay's sperm, her friend's eggs, and her employee's womb, Helen created the twins, Maisie and John Barrett McInerney III. But it was touch and go. The waitress refused to give up smoking, much to Helen's fury, and then developed diabetes and kept going into labour. The twins were eventually born three months prematurely, weighing less than 2lb each, and had to spend 10 weeks in incubators. Helen wrote a gripping account of the whole saga for American Vogue."

Wait ... first she chronicles the "saga" of childbirth to twins in Vogue, then her facelift? Okay, (takes a breath, munches some popcorn), I just needed to puzzle that out ... let's continue:

"Jay's role at first was hardly more than sperm donor and bemused spectator. He'd always assumed he would be a father one day, but he was in no hurry. 'I never really cared that much. I just didn't get it until I saw them [the twins] and held them and got to know them.' The twins were born in 1995, the year he turned 40, and lost his own father - it should have marked the end of his long restless adolescence.

"But the next year there was an odd little warning sign that all was not quite perfect in the marriage. Helen had a facelift. She decided to do it, she said, because when Jay came back from interviewing Julia Roberts he remarked, 'I told her all about you. Well, everything but your age.' It was the first sign, to Helen, that the seven-year age gap was a problem - a problem for Jay, she thought. So off she went and had a facelift, and wrote an article, and then a book, about it. Jay said he felt 'a little embarrassed. But I have to say that I've benefited from it. She looks great, as good as she did when I first met her 14 years ago.'

"He once said that what attracted him to Helen was that 'She was so cool, like a guy.' She was the first woman he'd lived with who was not emotionally needy or wounded in some way. 'And,' he now adds, 'who wasn't emotionally unbalanced. Maybe that's one of the reasons why our separation is so amicable. She's not threatening to stab me in my sleep or stab any future girlfriends in my life!'"

So amicable, after the facelift ... hmmm. Most curious.

"But surely having a facelift and going to all those lengths to have children suggest that she was needy, or at least that she was worried about ageing? 'Well. I never quite understood those decisions. Neither of those decisions were pacts that I was in agreement with. Those were not moments of great concord , so I don't know how to answer for those decisions. Helen is a great eccentric - and I say that affectionately. I don't think anyone else would have had quite that response to that set of problems.'"


"Significantly, his next novel, Model Behavior, published in 1998, was set again in New York and marked what one critic called 'a return to the shallow end'. He had grown bored with country life, and was spending more and more time in their New York apartment, so eventually Helen moved there with the twins, bought an adjacent apartment (from Stephen Fry, who seldom used it) and tried to make a family home. Helen said it was fine for him to go out partying till three in the morning, as long as he didn't expect her to accompany him."

The Corsair audibly gasps, all wrapped up in McInerney's life:

"Inevitably, this soon provoked rumours that Jay was having affairs, though he insists that's not the reason they split up - 'We were having our own problems, all by ourselves.' One basic problem was that Helen wanted to be in Nashville and he wanted to be in New York. Helen had done New York in her twenties and thirties and wanted to get out - 'She didn't feel she needed all the social desperation, I guess.' Whereas he felt he belonged - 'It's my place, you know? It's the only place I've ever felt entirely at home. There's a wonderful fantasy element to life in Tennessee, and it was something I wanted to try but I don't think it was ultimately the life for me.'"


"They officially separated (in 2000), but Jay says the real crisis was (1999). Of course, he'd been through divorce before, but not when there were children. 'Children change everything,' he sighs. 'That's what makes it essentially really awful - that was what gave us both such trouble and regrets. And the resolution is somewhat melancholy, but at the same time I'm so relieved that there is some resolution, and so is Helen. We both get along much better now - we started as really great friends and that's what we've reverted to, and it seems to work very well.' He visits the children two or three times a month and recently went on holiday with them. The other day he accompanied Helen to a party in Nashville, which he says shocked some of their friends. Jesse, the biological mother of the twins, is still angry with him. 'She might be a little down on me - one always has to blame somebody - but I think she'll get over that. Because Helen is so incredibly non-judgemental that her friends are coming around now.'"

Damn ... Jesse's down on Jay, The Corsair writes that on his scorecard, then continues:

"But last year, he says, was 'a terrible, terrible year for me'. What made it so terrible was that he suffered writer's block - something that had never happened to him before and that he thought never would. 'With so much of my life in turmoil, I just couldn't settle in a place where I could concentrate. I couldn't get enough distance when my mind was so consumed by this life crisis, and I was really stuck for a while. I'm very happy that's over.'"

Okay, I'm only going to make one comment before directing you to the Guardian site to read the whole fantastic story here, which I went on from at length. Do I have this correct: The writer's block was the only point in this story that really caused him angst, the writer's block is that which really fucked up his year, like, not the girlfriend who was mugged and slashed, or the twins in Tennessee, or the case of the needless facelift, or even Jesse? (when is someone going to care about Jesse?)

Blame it on the Playboy Advisor.

FashionwireDaily: Amy Spindler's Celebration

Merle Ginsberg covered the Amy Spindler celebration at The Rainbow Room for Fashionwire Daily. Check it out here for the full story. I'll summarize:

Attending: "Karl Lagerfeld, Graydon Carter, Anna Wintour, Patrick McCarthy, Etta Froio, Ed Nardoza, Bridget Foley, Linda Wells, Ingrid Sischy, Cathy Horyn, Gerald Marzorati, Martha Nelson, Andy Port, designers Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Helmut Lang, Miguel Adrover, Richard Tyler, Michael Kors, Isaac Mizrahi, fashion titans Rosemary Bravo, Marion Greenberg, Ed Filipowski, Lisa Sheik and fashion writers Hal Rubenstein, Billy Norwich, Andr� Leon Talley, Lynn Hirschberg and fashion industry luminaries Anne McNally, Brana Wolf, Elizabeth Saltzman, Candy Pratts Price, Kelly Klein, Elizabeth Stewart, Barry Diller, Tom Ford, Elton John, Suzy Menkes, Stella McCartney and Hollywood heavies like Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and Stephen Huvane"

Ginsberg continues: "Some words spoken in Amy�s honor:

"Ingrid Sischy

"We�re celebrating Amy�s total embrace of life, her wildness, and the rays of sunshine that she brought our lives. Amy�s life was a big one."

"Elizabeth Stewart

"Amy always had opinions. She either loved or hated. She loved a good steak, salty things � especially language � maps of the movie star�s homes, the NY Times (she thought the rest of the paper occasionally had some good stuff), Krispy Kremes, Da Silvano, and pissing me off. She hated waiting, friendly waiters, long boring speeches, and being sick.�

"Tom Ford

"Amy was tenacious, stubborn, opinionated and brilliant. Passion was the center of her being. She lived life in double time. Her mind was so nimble, I had a hard time keeping up with her."

"Diane von Furstenberg

"Did Amy know her journey would be so short? Is that why she read so much, loved so much? We must honor her life every day. We must be strong, intelligent, glamorous, of course. Amy was always inspired. Amy was all about courage.�

"Graydon Carter

"She was like a Howard Hawkes heroine."

"Adam Moss

"But she was never intimidating."

Got to Fashionweekdaily for the whole story.

The White, Black, Gray, and, now, Thin White Album

The Thin White Duke David Bowie is allowing fans to "mash up" any two of his songs together for a new contest, according to Reuters. EMI's cease-and-decist order to the hit mash up "The Grey Album" recently made the news. Reuters writes:

"Singer David Bowie has invited his fans to mix two of his songs together, extending a hand of friendship to underground bootlegging enthusiasts.

"The rocker, currently touring with his 26th album 'Reality,' has invited his supporters to splice a song from the album with any other track from his back catalog as part of a six-week contest.

"Bowie is on the panel of judges who will pick a winner and runners-up from among a publicly voted shortlist of entrants."

Minnie Driver Wants A Record Deal

According to (via Ananova), Minnie Driver wants a record deal. The site says:

"The Hollywood actress - who is also a talented singer and songwriter - is desperate to sign a recording contract before her new movie, 'The Phantom of the Opera', hits cinemas.

"She revealed: 'I just want to get a little independent deal. But I have to get my record out before the movie comes out - because otherwise people will think I'm an opera singer!'

"As well as trying to land a record deal, Minnie also presented the Best Male Video prize at the Flame Worthy Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee.

"The 'Good Will Hunting' actress recently performed at the South By Southwest music festival in Los Angeles."

E!Online said of her performance at the time:

"Actors-turned-singers failed to amaze: Julie Delpy's set of plodding songs dragged on and Minnie Driver's pop-rock never quite got in tune, even though she wore a cowboy hat and everything."

Does Minnie Driver have what it takes?

Comment here or here.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Puffy's a Little l'Oeuf in his Oeuvres

P Diddy's l'oeuf make a very Cocteauesque appearance in his oeuvre recently, which, in due turn, landed him deep inside in the Old Gray Lady today. I know that sounds vaguely pornographic, vaguely French, so allow me to explain.

Check out this strange chestnut from the New York Times, which starts in a P Diddy acting "session" for the Broadway play "A Raisin in the Sun,' with one Ms. Batson, Diddy's acting coach, that goes kind of, uhm, er, haywire and takes us to a very dairy space. Let's start at the acting coaching:

"For about 15 minutes, Ms. Batson made practical suggestions ('Don't fear making it presentational') and mused about the text ('This is life. This is the dream. This is it'). And when she didn't like something, she was brutally honest ('You're just not getting the moment').

"Mr. Combs made a point: 'You have all these other teachers like Strasberg,' he said, turning toward Ms. Batson to check whether he had correctly pronounced the name of the illustrious acting teacher and co-founder of the Group Theater. Ms. Batson, who studied with Strasberg at the Actors Studio, nodded. 'But,' he continued, 'Susan has been able to simplify and make it more direct. Sometimes her help can be as crazy as Dare to eat the eggs. "

"He was referring to an early scene in which Walter Lee's wife Ms. McDonald makes him scrambled eggs. In the first few previews, Mr. Combs left the eggs on his plate, but after that he started taking forkfullsls. 'People have come to see the play; real New York thespians and they're like, `Damn, he's really eating the eggs,' Mr. Combs said. `I can't believe it. He really can act.' "

"The next evening, Ms. Batson attended a performance with a class of her students a group of aspiring stars who jumped to attention when their leader said 'Listen up, troops!' During the show, Ms. Batson seemed to be in constant motion, shifting in her seat and writing notes furiously. But during the breakfast scene, she froze after Mr. Combs ate his scrambled eggs. He started choking, coughing so hard he practically brought the performance to a halt. Ms. McDonald, quick on her feet, brought him a glass of water and, after a few seconds, he recovered gracefully. Ms. Batson shook her head and giggled. "I can see the headline," she whispered. `Coach Kills Combs.' "

"The eggs were still on her mind after the show, when she went backstage to give notes. Mr. Combs was visiting with Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, so she waited in a room across the hall. Kenny Leon, the director of 'Raisin,' joined her. After a long pause, he said, 'He's not going to eat those eggs.'"

Next time, can someone get Puffy a chocolate swirl cheesecake from Juniors, please? Thank you.

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: The Friends lawsuit, which, if I do say so myself, aint Friendly. Sure, the entertainment industry at any one time has a half a dozen really juicy, succulent pieces of litigation circulating, but this is so best. It's special, like that Diffrn't Strokes episode when the bicycle store owner molests Arnold Jackson's friend Dudley. A very special lawsuit. With notes of snitching and casual sexism.

According to the Smokinggun (via Gawker) in the lawsuit's allegations, the writers of Friends come off as stupid, lewd, racially insensitive jugheads, just the sort of type that would envision New York the way they do every week -- not exactly in those words, of course. The defendant, one Amaani Lyle, comes off, even worse than the jerky writers, she comes off as quite bitter. In entertainment, lawsuits are like handshakes. Some of the highlights:

"(complaint #)25. I had to constantly listen to comments of what kind of breasts and what kind of buttocks my supervisors were most attracted to.

"42. (Executive Producer) Andrew Reich would insult me because I previously worked at Nickolodeon, but he would not insult the other writers' assistants.

"50. (NBC writer) Greg Malins talked about what he'd like to do sexually to different cast members on the show like Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston.

"59. (Executive Producer) Greg Malins would take a copy of the Friends script cover and blacken out the letters to make it say penis.

"71. (Friends co executive producer) Adam Chase once called Maura Kauffman a cunt in a phone conversation with me on a weekend when I was home.

"78. Greg Malins liked to doodle and it usually was something disgusting."

Ooooh, I'm telling on you. I hope Ms. Lyle gets some sort of a payday out of this elaborate snitchery, because she's going to find a hard time ever working in that town again.

Out: Elvis Mitchell, leaving the Times. As Gawker reports:

"After we reported it on Wednesday, the rumor that film critic Elvis Mitchell is leaving the NY Times is already on its way to confirmation. Today, Variety steps up the rumor-mongering, confirming along the way that A. O. Scott will be named chief movie critic. Variety claims that Mitchell has 'irked' people at the paper, with his gallivanting about society with film directors and spending the last semester up at Harvard.

"[UPDATE: We hear Elvis actually has been asked to leave the building -- we hear his cubbyhole is all packed up and cleaned out.]"

Irked? And he looks so easy going on those IFC interview thingies.

IN: Alexandra Posen, at the CFDA 's Fashioning Fiction In Photography Since 1990, the other night, spinning to Fashionweekdaily on behalf of Alexander:

"I think it's a great junction. People keep saying it's this awkward union, but it's a great junction of two fashion superstars. Zac's been seeking a collaboration [backer] from the beginning. Without [P. Diddy's] support, we're essentially monetarily on our own?he definitely is paving the way for us to produce big things, which we have planned, for September.'

Or, as British Vogue says: "Combs noticed Posen's talent early in his career and made his respect for him public while DJ-ing in a New York nightclub after the CFDA awards last June. 'You ain't got shit if you ain't got Zac Posen in your closet,' he said over the loudspeaker."

Oh Puffy, shut up.

Out: Paula Yates broke Bob Geldoff when she dumped him for future autoerotic asphyxiation poster boy Michael "Devil Inside" Hutchence, according to Ananova, via the Daily Mirror:

"Bob Geldof lay on the floor of his home for two days after his wife Paula Yates left him for Michael Hutchence.

"He speaks about the ordeal in a BBC1 programme on Saturday night about the Live Aid hero.

"Geldof, 52, says he was 'helpless' as Ms Yates destroyed herself with drink and drugs.

"However, he doesn't attack the mother of his three children - Peaches, Pixie and Fifi Trixibelle, says the Daily Mirror.

"He says: 'I don't think I would dis her. She was great.'

"Geldof also says he couldn't understand why she left him for the INXS singer. 'I couldn't stand being without my family. Home had gone. Home was them.'

"His friend Marsha Hunt said he'd was completely broken by the experience. 'He was on the floor in a foetal position in the living-room and he basically stayed there for the next two days.'"

I've been there over a woman, so I won't even get snarky about that whole naming your kids Peaches and Fifi Trixibelle shit. That kind of fuckery is for his analyst to delve into. Draw your own conclusions on that.

In: Mary J. Blige, She shares a lot in common with Janet Jackson. Liberated nipples, for one thing. Aside from her 60 Minutes flap and the FCC getting involved, British Vogue writes:

"AFTER noticing that her nipple was free for all to see during a recent stage performance, Mary J Blige decided that she had to give her wardrobe some attention. 'I need clothes,' she told Women's Wear Daily. 'Not the handkerchiefs they're selling now. It's got to be loose fitting stuff. The jeans have to have stretch and they have to make me happy.' While Dolce & Gabbana dressed Blige for her 2002 tour, the singer admits that the clothes weren't perfect because she didn't have enough time for all the fittings. 'A lot of the stuff wound up being too low-cut,' she went on. 'And low-cut jeans don't work for me. My behind is low and high at the same time, and I refuse to have my behind showing.'"

(uncomfortable silence) Does anyone out there know how a behind can be high and low at the same time?

Out: Kim Delaney. TV Guide asks: Is Kim Delaney acting a bit ... odd, of late? On a recent interview via conference call with TV Guide reporter Daneil R. Coleridge:

"Kim Delaney hasn't had the easiest life in recent years. She was arrested for DUI in 2002; her show Philly was axed; she was let go from CSI: Miami; and, last year, she checked into an Arizona rehab facility to treat an alcohol addiction. This week, the actress raised eyebrows once again ...

"On Wednesday, Delaney and Beau Bridges did a telephone conference call with reporters to plug NBC's four-hour miniseries 10.5, about a deadly earthquake hitting the West Coast. (It airs May 2 and 3 at 9 pm/ET.) Between answering questions, the actress punctuated the pauses with anxious remarks � seemingly unaware (or unconcerned) that reporters could hear everything she said. 'Beau, how weird is this?' she was heard to complain. 'Beau, are you going crazy? I gotta call you after this. I'm dying!'

"Bridges and the Peacock publicist in charge of the call had to reassure Delaney she was 'doing fine.' She kept insisting Bridges phone her after the conference to talk about it, as if something unusual were going on, other than her own surreal commentary. Frankly, this seemed odd behavior coming from an actress who's been doing press to promote her projects for years.

"The 42-year-old Emmy winner, who plays a seismologist in the disaster drama, did grudgingly answer some queries. When asked if she'd do more NYPD Blue, she told TV Guide Online: 'Always. If Steven [Bochco] calls me. He's been a great friend. If he calls, I show up.'

"We also inquired about the status of Sudbury, her CBS pilot about two sisters who happen to be witches. 'I have no idea where it's going,' she said. 'It's a very nice cast. You got Dixie Carter, Shirley Knight, myself and Jeri Ryan. We finished [shooting] it. It was great.' She also added, 'I'm a good witch. It's not like black magic.'"

What the fuck? I got 50-50 odds on Delaney going crazy in 2004, 60-40 on Sadie Frost, and 75-25 on Brittney Murphy with those big spooky peepers.

: Greek Cypriots defeat Unification Vote. In a massive blow to peace and stability in the region and a stubborn clinging to old, outmoded and jejune tribal notions (gee where does the Corsair side on this issue), Alex Efty of the AP writes:

"The European Commission said it 'deeply regrets that the Greek Cypriot community' rejected the plan.

"'A unique opportunity to bring about a solution to the long-lasting Cyprus issue has been missed,' the commission said in a statement in Brussels.

"The commission, the EU's administration, said it wanted to 'warmly congratulate Turkish Cypriots for their 'yes" vote (ed note: in the separate referendum).' It added it would look at ways to promote their development.

"Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots voted in separate referendums on whether to accept a plan by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that would reunify Cyprus after 30 years of division. The United States and other countries have pushed hard for acceptance of the plan ahead of Cyprus' May 1 entry to the European Union."

Why is this in and not out? Good news: Another defeat of the useless fuzzy-wuzzy Kofi Annan. Let's put George Bush,.Sr in this position.

Yes, I can hear the outrage, but listen, politically, do you think Southerners will stand for a liberal Secretary General, like Clinton or Carter; never; and do you think an unsophisticated little autocrat like Giuliani would ever pass muster with the left of the Foreign Relations Committee? Bush is supremely qualified, he is not too right wing, and is just moderate enough. The perfect compromise, if we can get past the freaky Bush-Dynasty -illuminati crowd and push this through.