The Fix

Conservatives' new poster child: The penguin. Fur flies over J. Lo clothes. Plus: First Brangelina, now ... Orlandsten?

Published September 14, 2005 1:10PM (EDT)

Morning Briefing:
Does he get to say "You're failed"? Donald Trump's higher-learning enterprise, Trump University, had the pleasure of hosting the Donald's first lecture on its Web site on Tuesday. And 2,000 people, at $249 a head, logged on to listen to a webcast of Trump doling out sage tidbits of advice like "Love what you do" and "Never, ever quit." The topic of the class was deal making, and the professor's advice boiled down to: Buy low, sell high: "I bought a building for $1 million, it's now worth $400 million." He did caution against heading into the Gulf Coast area to look for good deals. "I know people who are going to New Orleans, who want to take advantage," he said. "I don't think it's a nice thing to do." (N.Y. Daily News)

Fur fight escalates: Yesterday's PETA press conference outside the tents of Fashion Week in New York turned personal when Heather Mills McCartney, Sir Paul's wife, took a gaggle of protesters and press into the office's of J. Lo's fur-using fashion company, Sweetface. "PETA has tried for years to educate her about fur -- at first gently and quietly, and now like this," McCartney said after security personnel turned the parade around. McCartney had hoped to present J. Lo with a video of animals being skinned alive, but promised it won't end there. "She keeps saying she wants to be educated," McCartney warned, "so the next stage is I'll find out where she lives and show up there." (N.Y Daily News)

The penguins went marching on: Not only is bird documentary "March of the Penguins" now officially the highest U.S.-grossing French film of all time (taking the spot formerly held by Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element"), it has also become a darling of conservative cultural commentators. As the New York Times writes, "Conservative groups have turned its stirring depiction of the mating ordeals of emperor penguins into an unexpected battle anthem in the culture wars." Among a number of other conservative and Christian critics who praised its family values, Michael Medved said it's "the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child rearing." Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, speaking at a gathering of young Republicans, said: "You have to check out 'March of the Penguins.' It is an amazing movie. And I have to say, penguins are the really ideal example of monogamy. These things -- the dedication of these birds is just amazing." The film's director, Luc Jaquet, is pretty laid-back about the whole thing, saying only, "My intention was to tell the story in the most simple and profound way and to leave it open to any reading." (BBC, New York Times)

The ever-diversifying Martha Stewart is looking to start a new lifestyle magazine, focusing on fashion and aimed at 30-somethings. The New York Post writes, "Staffers are said to be scrambling to try to get the prototype circulating on Madison Avenue sometime in the next few weeks with the hope that a product can still be rushed onto newsstands by the spring of 2006"  The latest speculative celebrity couple, "Elizabethtown" stars Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom, were all over each other at the MTV Video Music Awards, and while both are busy seeing other people (Dunst is dating Jake Gyllenhaal, Bloom is with Kate Bosworth), there may be a Brangelina-style reshuffling in the near future. A friend of Bloom's says, "He wants [Kirsten] really badly. I think he would leave Kate in a second if Kirsten became available"  Dr. Ben Marble, the guy behind one of the many memorable media moments during the Katrina coverage -- who yelled out "Go fuck yourself Mr. Cheney!" as the vice president was making a photo-op stop in Louisiana -- has started his own blog at HurricaneKatrinaSucked  The 17-year-old accused of hacking Paris Hilton's cellphone has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to 11 months in a juvenile facility. The minor also apparently made bomb threats against his school and stole the personal records of over 300,000 people from Lexis-Nexis, causing over $1 million in damages  Rap impresario Suge Knight -- still recovering from being mysteriously shot in the leg during Kanye West's pre-party for the Video Music Awards -- has had his assets frozen by a judge in a dispute over the founding of Death Row Records. Knight owes Lydia Harris $107 million for her initial help in starting the record label, but her drug dealer husband, Michael -- currently behind bars -- is trying to block the settlement because he claims he's also owed for his part in starting up Death Row.

Money Quote:
Rapper 50 Cent on how Brad and Angelina are going about their relationship all wrong: "If you're a celebrity, people want to go on that journey with you. If you try to hide it, eventually the public's curiosity forces them to find out what's in your garbage can. When you don't allow people to have that information, they start to dig harder." (Softpedia)

Courteney Cox-Arquette on how she hopes to keep her daughter out of the public eye: "She needs to lead a nice private little nerdy life -- we were hoping for a good nerd!" (Contactmusic)

Turn On:
Chris O'Donnell and Adam Goldberg play a mismatched pair of lawyers in Fox's new series, "Head Cases" (9 p.m. EDT). A new episode of "Diary" (MTV, 7 p.m. EDT) follows Angelina Jolie and economist Jeffrey Sachs as they travel through Kenya looking at efforts to relieve poverty and disease in the country. Also: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appears on "The O'Reilly Factor" (Fox News, 8 p.m. EDT).

-- Scott Lamb

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