Liz Smith: Political Victims, Tabloid Victims

“IF THERE is to be a future, it will wear the crown of feminine design,” said Sri Aurobindo.

But will it? The Congress and its conservative majority are trying to end Roe vs. Wade, decimate Planned Parenthood and fight the abortion fight all over again.

They are openly waging war on America’s women. This caused one Roll Parnell, who sent me the above quote, to add: “Unless we awaken to the mystery of the sacred feminine, and allow it to glow, irradiate, illumine, and penetrate every area of our activity — to create in them all harmony, justice, peace, love, ecstasy, and balance — we will all die out and take nature with us.”

MANY YEARS ago, I used to read Confidential with my jaw dropping. This magazine’s sensational revelations about the sacred stars of Hollywood was the antidote to years of what folks called “movie magazines.” My first real job in NYC was for one of these — editor at Modern Screen. We were giddy, silly, positive about everyone and didn’t even know we were being manipulated as publicity sources for the studios.

I felt when was reading Confidential that I needed to hide under the covers with a flashlight.

Then later Generoso Pope invented the National Enquirer, another headache for the movie-celebrity world. But as the years whizzed by, the Enquirer was often right and they probably deserved a Pulitzer for their correct work in tracking John Edwards’ lies. (If they helped destroy just one utter phony who thought he might reach the White House, they deserve a big salute.)

Now everybody has heard everything about every single person of prominence in America. There are no secrets. So I was amazed this week in the beauty salon when, without work or a book, I picked up the magazine InTouch.

This “thing” is nothing but stories of women, famous but mostly semi-famous or merely well-known and passingly mentioned. The thesis is how they are one and all, being dumped on by guys!!!!

Are women stupid? Are men that bad? Is it so utterly one-sided? Can’t anyone be faithful or doesn’t it matter? (I guess it doesn’t really matter — these people aren’t exactly Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton or Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. That’s when love affairs were truly fascinating.)

Incidentally, the one interesting story in InTouch contends that Jennifer Aniston is working on a $150 million pre-nup for her marriage to Justin Theroux.

And there, just the other day I read that she wasn’t asking him to sign a pre-nup but would take her chances romantically. (I say, Jen, get the pre-nup!)

Aniston, by the way, has been designated the ultimate cover-girl “victim” of these and other gossip mags. The publications are trying to be happy for her, but long ago their editors decided that this appealing, attractive, talented young woman was going to pine forever over her divorce from You Know Who. I don’t think she’s pined for a long time. And her current fiancé is a hotter specimen than her baby-burdened ex. These weeklies will make her a victim again somehow, but you can almost hear the gnashing of teeth during editorial meetings as she prepares to wed.

LAST WEEK backstage at the Gore Vidal memorial I encountered a longtime friend Richard Belzer, actor and historian extraordinaire.

You probably think of him as the detective you’ve seen about a million times playing a character named “John Munch” on the long-running hit “Law & Order: SVU.” He is ever-disgruntled, efficient and memorable onscreen. And Belzer in real life has had plenty of adventures quarreling with his show’s various masters. He hates injustice and fights it everywhere he can.

It didn’t surprise me when Richard handed me his brand new coming book titled Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups. I haven’t had time to consider and read all of this work of important recent history but just glancing through and examining some of theories about the deaths of JFK, RFK, Marilyn Monroe, Dr. Martin Luther King — and others, makes me see Belzer as a patriot and careful examiner of the facts, along with his co-writer David Wayne.

I was startled by the number of killers of the famous who Belzer believes are incorrectly still incarcerated. Or, they are now dead themselves.

Correcting history is always unpopular and hard to do. Belzer is trying. His most interesting point made in the opening to this controversial book is that the mainstream press falls down on its job when it comes to “official and often false” resolutions offered by governments, small and large.

The book cites “media propaganda from U.S. Intelligence agencies.” Belzer believes that your everyday journalists don’t examine the facts closely. And so, true revelations aren’t really forthcoming because those who object are called, derisively “conspiracy addicts.” Belzer goes on to show that when we speak of “conspiracy,” we are probably misusing the term.

Belzer’s theory? “The real-world definition of conspiracy is simply; two or more persons agreeing to commit a crime. So Richard believes that many of those examining “conspiracies” are calling them by the wrong name.

Dead Wrong is startling, rich with detail — for instance, there are many things I have long believed myself.

Take the theory of Aristotle Onassis instituting the death of Bobby Kennedy. I have long believed the facts over the accepted verdict. On the other hand, in his chapter on Marilyn Monroe he sources, among others, a female “friend” of Monroe. Yet there is no proof that this woman ever even met Marilyn! (This woman’s incredible tales are now generally accepted as fact, except by the most scrupulous, accurate biographers.)

I highly recommend Richard Belzer’s fascinating book from Skyhorse Publishing.

This column originally appeared on on 8/31/12

4 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Lila says:

    I’d be curious to know where Belzer gets his facts and what his arguments and conclusions are in these cases. He is correct, though, about the definition of “conspiracy” and the fact that most people are probably misusing the term.

    Having worked in the classified government arena for some time, I have concluded that the US government is utterly incapable of pulling off some of the “conspiracies” that folks like to toss about. 9/11, for instance, was exactly what it appeared to be: terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings, at the behest of Osama bin Laden.

    I had to laugh when one of my friends insisted that the Pentagon was hit by a missile, citing the fact that there were not two broken-off airplane wings next to the building!!! My first reaction: do you have any idea how BIG the Pentagon is? Next: The wings are where the fuel tanks are, so they would have been completely destroyed at any rate. And third: it was during rush hour. There were thousands of eyewitnesses on three different major highways that run practically right beside the Pentagon. Think, people, think!

    But trust me on this: if, somehow, the government had engineered the whole thing, it wouldn’t stay secret for long.

  2. avatar central coast cabin home says:

    While I agree with you about 9/11…. I only hope I live long enough to hear the truth about Beltzer’s claims. In no way am I a conspiracy theorist, in fact I am more a scientist and statistician. That said, I wait for the truth to surface and I have faith that it will and we will all be better for it. The truth always sets us free and quite frankly I have very little faith in the structure of the powers that be. Enough said.

  3. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I assume the theory is Aristotle Onassis killed Bobby Kennedy so Jackie Kennedy would get scared and marry him to escape and protect herself and her children. That’s been around for some time. She probably would have married him anyway. Camelot wasn’t what everyone thought. And unless I’m mistaken at some point what everyone always whispered about was confirmed. While “recuperating” with her sister on the Christina after her miscarriage Jackie fell for the charm and into the bed so to speak.  Reality is Onassis was rich and he was dynamite in bed. He was also nasty as hell and superstitious as hell and believed somehow Jackie had cursed him and his family after his son was killed.  So he went back to Maria Callas. And would have divorced Jackie had he lived long enough. That was Christina’s “bargaining point” with Jackie. Jackie’s “bargaining point” was under Greek law, she inherited Skorpios as the widow.  Something Onassis had overlooked but then he didn’t expect to drop dead. So she basically sold Skorpios to Christina for $20 million.  Christina gave her the $20 million in NY municipal bonds probably knowing they were about to become worthless. Which Maurice Templesman, according to “dinner table talk,” dumped for Jackie and which he then reinvested the proceeds from and turned it into a very nice fortune of her own which finally gave her complete independance from the Kennedys. At which point she fell for his charm and fell into his bed. Onassis knew he didn’t have to kill anyone. Not to get her. He’d already proven himself in bed. And so all he needed to do was wave enough money around finally. And off she went to Skorpios.

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    As for Marilyn Monroe, well as we’ve seen with the Natalie Wood disaster, the LA County coroner often “jumps to conclusions” that may not be reflected by the facts.  And I and quite a few others will never believe she just took too many pills with one too many glasses of champagne. Bottom line is no one will ever know. But Dorothy Kilgallen was reportedly an “accidental overdose” which was accepted as fact by those who didn’t know that one of the curious things about what happened was that she was found in bed with a book in her lap. Her reading glasses were downstairs.  As for the Kennedys they are not nice people. End of subject.  Ted Kennedy may have “atoned” for his sins, and done a lot of good, but the family itself is another story. Filled with all sorts of “conspiracy” theories. With good reason.