Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Internships Are For Suckers

Anya Kamenetz has an interesting op-ed in the NYTimes about the pitfalls of unpaid internships - both for the economy and the educated upper-middle class young'uns who often make up this corps of privileged intellectual sweatshop workers. She points out that this tradition insidiously undermines our "information economy" whereby only those who have the resources can afford to work for free getting coffee for Prada-wearing devils, for example.
There may be more subtle effects as well. In an information economy, productivity is based on the best people finding the jobs best suited for their talents, and interns interfere with this cultural capitalism. They fly in the face of meritocracy — you must be rich enough to work without pay to get your foot in the door. And they enhance the power of social connections over ability to match people with desirable careers. A 2004 study of business graduates at a large mid-Atlantic university found that the completion of an internship helped people find jobs faster but didn't increase their confidence that those jobs were a good fit.

This was a problem I encountered back when I was a bright-eyed collegiate, hoping that working for little to no money was a surefire way to get a job at the magazine/television network/corporate company of choice. Except I only took internships that offered at least SOME pay, meager though it was. But I had friends who worked on movie sets, for politicians, at art galleries, etc. for absolutely nothing. And many of them never saw the fruits of their labor, in the form of an actual paid position, or even by gaining viable work experience. I felt then, as I do now, that New York is a big culprit in this deception. Many undergrads flock to the city for the summertime internship at HBO/Conde Naste/Marketing/Finance and feel that the glory of living in Manhattan is enough to get on the fast track to success.

But if Kamenetz is correct, and these internships reinforce the "power of social connections" over merit, than won't the economy eventually purge itself of such a faulty system? Her conclusion is sensible - the only internships worth having are those that offer some sort of compensation, but that doesn't change the fact there will always be a line out the door of young co-eds waiting to work for Anna Wintour/Sumner Redstone/Ted Tuner for free.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Peace Tents in Jerusalem

In an effort to salvage the tense relationship between Israel and France, the two countries have teamed up to provide a month of well-intentioned, though misguided cultural programs. This included the largest fireworks display ever staged over the Tel-Aviv skies. Apparently it also resulted in the largest traffic jams ever on Tel-Aviv roads. And somehow no one could ignore the fact that all that effort and money went up literally in a cloud of smoke.
In Jerusalem I caught the Peace Tents at the Hass Promenade. Not too many people were perusing the tents when I happened to stop by. Composed by French artist Clara Halter the tents consists of the word "peace" written in 50 different languages. The overall effect is soothing, with the tents glowing in the Jerusalem evening but then you walk in and the tents are empty. A metaphor for peace itself? Or maybe she ran out of languages.

"Restobar" Moments

Sometimes you'll be sitting at a charming cafe in Jerusalem with a fat wifi connection and a way too stylish bathroom enjoying your delicious glass of Leffe and the people sitting behind you can not stop talking about Iraq and the war and Hamas and so on and so forth. Then you turn around and realize they are diplomats. And journalists. And that this country is the intersection of all the corners of the universe and everyone cares about the minute details of every event here. And everyone has an opinion. And they are always talking. Sometimes it really hits home.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fun with Ehud Olmert

So I was at this wedding in Jerusalem and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was there and so were these two attractive black men who were friends of the groom and all the Israelis thought they were either rap superstars or secret service agents. The man at the far right is Arkadi Gaidamak, Russian billionaire and owner of Jerusalem soccer team Beitar Yerushalyaim. Basically this man is every Jerusalem cab driver's idol. Hmm, I wonder what the two talked about that night....

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dispatches from the Holy Land

Dearest readers,
I been remiss as a blogger, I know, t'was only due to my recent travels in the Orient. Rest assured, I have plenty of stories of my adventures for you including (in no particular order): meeting Ehud Olmert, a flaming wedding cake, Lag B'Omer bonfires in Tzfat, hiking in the Golan Heights, and other such fantastical experiences of which pictures and descriptions will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pretty Plants @ the Bass

The Bass Museum is dabbling in Earth Art these days with this exquisite exhibit of wall plants. Who knew plastic cups and hooks could be so beautiful?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mint Launch @ Big Fish

Miami's condo party circuit has been feeling a little lean these days. Gone are the days when fireworks and fashion shows heralded the opening of yet another posh sales center. No more Star Jones hosting mega-watt pseudo-red-carpet shindigs. These days it's the rare and lucky partygoer who gets to enjoy spectacle AND look at floorplans in the same sip of a mojito.

Then along comes Fortune Realty and rekindles that Miami optimism, that need to dress in white and enjoy a magnificent sunset, real estate pundits be damned. The organizers spared no expense when it came to this event. Heck, we were partying like it was 2004! There was a certain carefree ambiance to the whole affair, a caution-to-the-wind kind of sensibility that said "Condo bust? What real estate bubble?" There were caged dancers, top-shelf open bar, mountains of tuna tartar, heaps of bruschetta, trays of champagne flutes, and of course, Mint-branded mints.

The invitation stipulated white attire and Miamians, loyal patrons of the nightlife that they are, obliged wholeheartedly. Although the abundance of white clad constituents made everyone seem like they were Delano employees slagging off work. Plus, it was hard to scan for tray-bearing waiters, who God bless them, did an incredible job of pushing simultaneously strange (what were those soggy tortilla cups of mushroom spread?) and delicious nibbles on the increasingly gyrating crowd.

Unless you were a feather headressed dancer, in which case your dresscode specified "nude bodysuit." And then some.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Schwartz of the Month

Eytan Schwartz, the "Shagrir," winner of Israel's version of the Apprentice needs our help. Vote for him here as Heeb Magazine's Schwartz of the month. I'm not exactly sure what he gets if he wins, except for the adoration of Heeb readers, which if you consider it, may or may not be a compliment....Anyway, all it take is a click, so give a Schwartz a hand.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Persian Actresses: All Purpose Dark Hotties

The Forward interviews Persian Jewish actress Bahar Soomekh who'll be sharing the screen with Tom "cray-cray" Cruise this summer in Mission Impossible III. A perusal of her credits on also reveals that she had a bit part in last year's "24" which also starred another fantastic Persian actress (though not Jewish, I think) Shoreh Aghdashloo who blew me away with her portrayal of a Persian mother in House of Sand and Fog (though apparently the academy felt that Rene Zellweger's anorexic pouting deserved the award more that year!). Anyhoo...this concludes our game Six Degrees of Persian Actresses.