And more from our Liz: Will Rupert Murdoch’s problems kill celebrity gossip? (Not likely!)
“THEY WANT their … paper to give them the same kind of titillation that well-to-do people get from novels about divorce, murder, seduction, forgery. Fill it with crime, not excluding the unmentionable sort, and it will sell like hotcakes!”
So said newspaper magnate Lord Northcliffe when he started the British tabloid brand of journalism that the UK has cherished for over 100 years. And Lord Northcliffe never dreamed of the impact that television and the Internet would bring. (Let’s just say in the war against Rupert Murdoch, the Brits have managed to add their own lawbreaking and criminality, as well as lumping the police into the mix!)
Now, as the Murdoch story continues to unfold, people are wondering if celebrity journalism will die down. Reporter Hannah Betts suggests in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper that celebrity worship has had its day. Well, I don’t think so. The only thing I can say is that it would be great if we international gossips developed some real celebrities to fill the ranks of tabloids, TV and the Internet — true stars who have accomplished something that we can inquire about. I’d be the first to mourn the loss of a newspaper anywhere (and I do mean the New York Post, which had already began its marked downfall when it fired me several years ago). But it would be fun, just now and then, to read a name on Page Six that one can recognize or care about.
Britain’s Miss Betts writes of immediate changes should tabloids disappear. “Most immediately there will be a whole subspecies of wannabes whose antics will go unrecorded and unrewarded; monsters the tabloids created, left wandering without a home.” Oh, I don’t know; I’ll bet the weekly celebrity magazines and the bloggers on the Internet and the innumerable Hollywood TV “news” shows will be able to fill the gap.
It’s true that if Rupert Murdoch closed down all his British newspapers, it wouldn’t be much of a loss when weighed against his other considerable holdings. Many of his advisers hope fervently that this will happen. We have to wait to see how Murdoch’s U.S. holdings –Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones and movie studio 20th Century Fox — all fare in the coming months.
Oh, one more thing. New York politician Peter King — a rabid Republican — was the first U.S. politico to call for an FBI investigation of News Corp. Then, a lot of Democrats got in on that. Advice to Dems: let it alone. Allow events to brew and grow at their own speed. Don’t fall into the trap of making it look like an ideological witch hunt. Believe me, it will backfire.
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“THERE ARE qualities that we admire in men, but not women, like assertiveness and drive. Back in the 1980’s, I was always being called a socialite, and I remember thinking that I’d never been to a dinner party in New York that Henry Kissinger wasn’t at. And yet, you never see ‘socialite Henry Kissinger,’ do you? … Men work around the clock and brag about getting four hours’ sleep – like sleep deprivation is a sign of virility. They consider a heart attack at 50 a sign of success, and it’s women’s job to change that!”
That’s Huffington Post chief Arianna Huffington talking to reporter Celia Walden in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald.
A little further in the piece, Arianna is asked if she’ll ever marry again. Here’s her answer: “Sleep is my priority right now. I’m open to falling in love again but I don’t have any great longing for it. Sleep!”
Arianna has just launched The Huffington Post in the UK. While she was at it, she added an attack on women and high heels. “Who are these women who wear heels whenever they leave the house? Do they need the confidence the extra height gives them that much? … Actually, we’re doing a story in the paper about women having Botox in the soles of their feet to make their heels more bearable … I’m going to create a media company that covers everything from Afghanistan to the importance of flat shoes.”
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I’D LIKE to suggest a question of the week for wowOwow.com right now: Why do women put themselves through the torture of high heels at work, on television and when going out at night?
I think I know the answer. It makes their legs look sexy. High heels are super-sexy. It has nothing to do with comfort or anything other than looking great.
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RECENTLY, while the rest of the nation was sweltering in the new Dust Bowl, or traveling to the hard-to-reach Hamptons and New England, or sitting out the repair of 405 in L.A, or fighting important battles in London, I’ve been sitting calmly by the blue Connecticut River, high up on a hill looking out as birds fly their small routes and squirrels keep putting those acorns away for next winter.
Recovering rapidly from hip replacement, I have been one of the lucky ones in the right place at the right time where, fortunately, no special international tragedy was taking place. I did, however, cover the Old Saybrook High School production of “Grease” at the Katharine Hepburn Theater in the great actress’s old hometown. It was a glorious exercise in cast overkill and positioning of young stars of the future.