Liz Smith: Damaging High Heels? Botox in the Feet? Arianna Huffington Objects!

Arianna Huffington

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.

* * *

“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.”

* * *

I’D LIKE to suggest a question of the week for 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.

* * *

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.

13 Responses so far.

  1. avatar mickie1 says:

    hey liz !!!! so glad i found wow. now i get to read you every day like when you were with the post. i missed you so !!! hope the hip replacement is going well and i hope you will never give up your column. just love ya to pieces. mickie1/peter

  2. avatar Richard Bassett says:

     From working (as an Orthopedic x-ray tech) for one of the most globally notable hip replacement physicians for several years, Dr Benjamin Bierbum, M. D. (here in Boston), I have learned a few things, Liz. First, the prosthetic hip will last 10-15 years before a more secure one must be replaced. And try to keep your weight balanced. In other words, do not give preference to the leg that doesn’t have the prosthesis by shifting your weight onto the leg when you walk. It placeless unneeded stress on the ‘good’ leg. No formed shoe wear. Once the prosthesis heals, use the leg normally. There is a million more other things that you have to do but I’ve seen this to be prevalent (look at what Liza can still do!!!?)

  3. avatar Deirdre Cerasa says:

    Glad the recovery is going well, Liz! Keep up the wonderful work.

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Arianna Huffington married well, divorced better, and should have left it that.    

  5. avatar Karen Ferguson says:

    Best wishes for your recovery, wonderful Liz Smith. We know you’re a fan of Game of Thornes, but you may want to try to relax by taking a look at Andre Braugher, also Emmy nominated last week, in Men of a Certain Age –Ray Romano’s extraordinary, creative, grown-up work, just crowned with a Peabody a few weeks ago. It’s cancellation, which TNT tried to sneak in late Friday night, has elicited a wave of distress from viewers, with a thousand signatures in just 24 hours on a Facebook Save Men of a Certain Age page.

  6. avatar HauntedLady says:

    Heels are not part of my life any more. Not much, anyway. I’ve reached the point that comfort is more important than looks. I agree heels make one look sexy and all, but comfort is far more desirable these days. Just looking at some of these young women in 4 or 5 inch heels makes my back ache.

  7. avatar Daniel Sugar says:

    Glad you’re feeling better!

  8. avatar Laura Ward says:

    Good to hear you’re recovering well!!!!

  9. avatar Lila says:

    Liz, on high heels: our very own Karleen S (where has she been lately?) once wrote on this site that “They make your butt look good. : )”

    Yep, that’s about all they are good for. Which brings up another question… not only, “Why do women torture themselves?” but… “Why, oh why, do we think it is appropriate to put high heels on LITTLE GIRLS?” Sick.

  10. avatar D C says:

    BOTOX for HIGH HEELS?????  What a concept!  I was in a very bad car accident 30 or so years ago and have metal in both legs.  The three screws in the right ankle caused so much restriction on my range of motion that it’s impossible for me to wear even a 2 inch heel comfortably.  It just doesn’t bend that far.  I mean… I suppose I could do it if I wanted to walk with that much of a limp, but then all the other joints start talking to me.  I look at heels like works of art to be studied, but not touched. 

    Years ago I found a fabulous pair of 4 inch heels that were royal blue and black leather, with a lightning zigzag down the back.  Soooooo sexy!  I bought them, and brought them home, and tried my best to limp around on them on the carpet.  My husband said, “You could just wear them to bed….” with a wry smile on his face.  I ended up taking them back.  The next day…. ahem….

    But if that Botox thing would work for me, it might be worth it for a special occasion.  Hmmmm… I’ll have to look into that. 

  11. avatar Deeliteful says:

    I’ve always loved and worn high heels. At 5″9″ I certainly didn’t need the additional height. I was almost always, “the tallest blonde” anywhere I went and must admit I did enjoy the attention. They made my legs look great, my butt even better, but not always the most comfortable (ya think?) choice. After 40+ years of great shoes I now bow to comfort and stability. I broke my foot last year and am limited in my choice of footwear. I find the restriction liberating! I see the young women walking awkwardly in the 4-6″ heels and just want to shout, “Just wait!” At least I never limped along in heels, always walking elegantly as any model on the catwalks. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…lol

  12. avatar Dan Patterson says:

    I had to wear high-heeled boots in a costume drama in college. I don’t know how you ladies manage it. I couldn’t wait to get out of those torture devices. And it was probably only a 3 inch heel.

    • avatar Lila says:

      “Fashion before ease” is the caption on an 18th-century cartoon of a woman being laced into her tight stays. So there you have it.