Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Liz Smith unplugged

Texas Monthly did a Q&A with Liz Smith, the gossip columnist from Texas who's still writing at 82 years old. She's plain-spoken and doesn't pull any punches, which I find refreshing, probably because she reminds me a bit of my mother. On George W. Bush:

...How do you feel about the fact that when people around the country or around the world think of Texas, they think of George W. Bush?

That’s one of the things that I really don’t like about the president—that my state would be defined by Mr. Preppy. I think the whole Texas thing with him is such a put-on. I don’t consider him a real Texan. When he tells you how great it was to grow up in Midland, I have to laugh.


Midland is a place you want to pass through.

Texas Monthly mainly wanted to talk about the entertainment world with Smith, who, after all, is a gossip columnist, but a literate gossip columnist who isn't necessarily enamored of the same people all celeb mags are chasing. She has a vivid memory of the stars of yesteryear. Mostly, today's "stars" don't measure up.
Leaving aside the fashion stuff, are the stars of today less interesting as personalities than the people you once knew?

I’ll say they are. They haven’t been groomed and trained by the studios, which in the old days would have taught them how to wear riding clothes, smoke cigarettes, speak a little French, and hold a cup. It was like a college education. And nothing like that exists now. RenĂ©e Zellweger and Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts are likable and attractive, but they don’t begin to have that kind of glamour. You know, no one ever mixed up Bette Davis and Joan Fontaine and Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. They were total individuals. If you look at Us Weekly or InStyle, there’s a sameness to everyone. There are all these couples that look alike and have on their worst clothes. They’re wearing sweats, sneakers, caps, and T-shirts, and maybe they have some tattoos. They look terrible, like street people. And they present these images of themselves as down-to-earth, happily married for fifteen minutes, wanting a baby if they don’t already have one, and then the public gets totally invested in this bullshit of whether they stay together or not. The biggest story of last year, you know, was Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston breaking up. I went to dinner parties with really intelligent people who actually sat there and analyzed whether they would get back together. And they wanted me to discuss it because I’m supposed to know! But I don’t know any more than they do.


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