"I HAVE the most perfect confidence in your indiscretion," said the 16th century clergyman, Sydney Smith.
- I SUPPOSE it is an indication of how pallid are the personalities of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, that the current "scandal," involving Miss Stewart engaging in a little make-out session with her married "Snow White and the Huntsman" director Rupert Sanders, has left me as cold as the undead. (Have neither of these people ever heard of paparazzi with long lens cameras?)
The subsequent fallout--Mr Pattinson is "heartbroken" and has fled the house he shared with Kristen, isn't making me eager to get my hands on the New York tabloids every morning. All parties have been splashed across the front pages for days. Mr. Sanders' wife, lingerie model Liberty Ross, appears to be heartbroken too. Miss Stewart has publicly apologized to her boyfriend, Pattinson, and was supposedly sending a private note to Liberty the offended wife. (I guess if she leaves her hubby, the tabs will have a good time referring to her as "at liberty" etc. Well, I hope that's it. ABC's World News actually did a big report of this nonsense last week. Kristen shouldn't feel compelled to apologize to all those hysterical girls out there who adore the vampire Pattinson and never much cared for the fact that he'd hooked up in real life with his co-star anyway. Look, she says it was a "momentary indiscretion" and everybody's fully clothed in the photos. It ain't exactly Elizabeth Taylor in a teeny bikini, on a yacht, with Richard. (Or Elizabeth in a blond wig, trying to hide behind a tree!) This kerfuffle is a little more interesting than Miss Stewart's performance in "Snow White." (You'd think if she was having a flirtation with the director he'd have done something to tamp down the dazzle of Charlize Theron in favor of Kristen. But maybe it is impossible to tamp down Charlize, no matter the circumstances.)At least this tale of betrayal will supplant Tom/Katie/Suri on the glossy gossip weeklies. Though I actually find the Cruise story more compelling. Ditto the increasingly dysfunctional Jackson Family saga. Those who love the twinkly "Twilight" series, make this big news. And the studio couldn't be happier. When the latest in the vamp series opens in November, it'll probably give the new 007 entry "Skyfall," a run for its money. Unless Daniel Craig runs off with Miss Stewart.
- THERE IS an astonishingly good piece in the August issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. It is all under the guiding hand of their relatively new editor, the all-around- knows-everything Cyndi Stivers. (I've known Cyndi since she was just a teenager hanging out around Studio 54.) This month the Review has come up with an examination of what happened and has been happening to TV News -- as opposed to "news" that is on all the time around-the-clock so many other places. We're talking the big three news outlets at 6:30 p.m. EST -- how Diane Sawyer does it for ABC ... how Brian Williams does it for NBC...how Scott Pelley is now doing it for CBS. This is a brilliant examination by the veteran Paul Friedman and it shows us how far we've come since the trio's domination, how far we've "fallen," and how these three major networks are now trying each to do something different.
Then, surprise! Surprise! I ran across a page in the CJR titled "The Divine Sisterhood: All hail 40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years." A lot of the predictables are here - Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Connie Chung, Lesley Stahl, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Tina Brown, Arianna Huffington, Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Then add Christiane Amanpour, Betsy Carter, Christine Craft, Anthea Disney, Dorothy Kalins, Geraldine Laybourne, Carol Loomis, Susan Lyne, Rebecca MacKinnon, Sonia Nazario, Martha Nelson, Asra Q. Nomani, Peggy Orenstein, Geneva Overholser, Anna Quindlen, Maria Elena Salinas, Kara Swisher, Ruth Whitney, Susan Stamberg, Susan Zirinsky. And of course, several talented stalwarts who have left the building -- Nora Ephron, Frances Lear and Molly Ivins. We also have Hearst's Ellen Levine who convinced her company to take a chance backing O magazine ...my pet opinion-maker Gail Collins and her boss at the Times Jill Abramson...Betsy Wade and the women who sued the Times for sex discrimination, plus Lynn Povich and the women who sued Newsweek for the same reason. Let's not forget, of course, the great liberator Gloria Steinem and the women of Ms. Oh yeah--there's someone named Liz Smith who they call "the grande dame of showbiz news, dogged campaigner for literacy, and mentor to many." I have never been so proud of being included in such a group!I hope you'll excuse me for bragging.
- I KNOW to some of you, Connie Stevens is a name of the past. She played Cricket on "Hawaiian Eye" and had a few bouncy blonde movie roles. Then she married Eddie Fisher. Or to be more precise, he had to marry her. Connie was pregnant and Eddie just didn't seem too anxious to do the right thing. Movie magazines went berserk and Eddie gave in. The marriage didn't last. Fans of over-ripe 1970s films remember Connie in "Scorchy" and there was a memorable Oscar night production number, back when they were so bad they were great. She became a staple in Vegas.
Over the years Connie stayed active with various successful beauty, health and fashion enterprises--she's rich! She has also remained active for many years with war veterans, as an entertainer and helping vets when they return from their tours of duty. On August 4th, the Brooklyn-born Connie will be feted at an event recognizing her work. Mayor Bloomberg has sent a heartfelt message. And on the 9th, she receives The Philanthropist Award at the NYC premiere of her new movie, "Saving Grace B. Jones." Connie has directed, produced and written this feature, which stars Tatum O'Neal, Michael Biehn, Penelope Ann Miller, Joel Gretsch, Scott Wilson and Piper Laurie. (It is based on circumstances in Ms. Stevens' ownShe's come a long way from singing "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" to heartthrob Edd Byrnes.