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Steven Soderbergh did it again. The Girlfriend Experience is Sex, Lies and Videotape of a twitter age. A world where bankers are sharing investment ideas with a 'sophisticated' call girl, where prostitutes blog their experiences and where the only healthy relationship can be maintained between a prostitute and a personal trainer charging $125 an hour. It's absurd, provocative and very real.

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1я заповедь студента, постигающего азы бухучета:
if your balance sheet doesn't balance you shitted somewhere
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I was reminded of this isolation the other day when Vladimir Putin stepped out for what has become a familiar August ritual. The Russian prime minister, stripped to the waist and bestride a horse, posed for the camera in a studied show of summer machismo. Russians were reassured that they have a strong man at the helm; the world was reminded it had better not mess with Mr Putin.

That was the theory anyway. To my mind, these vainglorious photo-shoots are more a measure of weakness. Sad really – a middle-aged man desperate to show the world he still has his physique. The Russian prime minister would do better to buy himself a sports car. More seriously, Mr Putin’s apparent compulsion to flaunt his torso offers an unfortunate metaphor for Russia itself: a great, but waning power deluding itself that a show of muscle is the way to cling on to past glory.

Philip Stephens for FT
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