Wednesday, June 8, 2016

LIZ SMITH: Chambermaids and Tweets

Jeanne Moreau as the conniving chambermaid Celestine in "Diary of a Chambermaid," 1964.
by Liz Smith

Luscious Lea Seydoux is moviedom's newest "Chambermaid" ... Charitybuzz offers Paul McCartney and more for Father's Day ... Prince, The Comic Book ... James Wolcott reflects, regarding Toxic Twitter.

"IN THE kangaroo courts of social media, everybody is judged by his or her most recent utterance, benefit of the doubt barely lasts longer than a breath, and the alleged offense may be compounded if the perp is old, white and perceived as not "with it." And don't count on your colleagues to rally around, either. Writers will turn on each other at the drop of a gaffe."

That is from James Wolcott's Vanity Fair piece, "Wild in The Tweets." It is an examination of how Twitter can turn toxic and transform some, such as Calvin Trillin and Gay Talese into "piñatas of the Twittersphere."

Photo Illustration by Darrow.
Of course, ordinary people are ruined, or at least humiliated, everyday by inappropriate or impulsive tweets or Facebook postings. Not to mention the photos! Then they are compelled to feed our culture of super-sensitivity and unforgiveness and apologize, a lot.

Over the years, I've been asked why I don't participate more on Twitter or Facebook? (I am on both, but I admit I do precious little there.)

Aside from the grinding narcissism of it all, and the very good chance I'll tweet something incautious right off the top of my impatient head, I think the fact is that I have had an outlet — this column — for so many years. This is my Facebook page. This is where I can be a narcissist or a know-it-all. Or, a know-nothing! And of course, over the long years of this column's existence, I've had to read a lot of "you are an idiot!" mail, along with nice things, too. So, I've experienced all that — praise and condemnation, for expressing myself, giving opinions on matters mostly silly but sometimes serious. I have no desire to ratchet up the negative, especially now that I am ... over 35. Also, after five columns a week, I've generally had my say. Who has the time for more?

Wolcott writes: "There is little sanctuary from Twitter's effects, even for non-adopters. Authors who have never ventured into Twitter or other social-media forums ... have found themselves dragged to the edge of the pee-pool."

Not me. Go ahead, call me a Luddite. I'm going to remain reclined on my chaise, with an umbrella up, a margarita in hand, and well away from the pool.
WHAT ACTRESS could be brave enough to go up against the beauty and talents of Paulette Goddard and Jeanne Moreau, both of whom made a considerable mark in their respective film adaptations of Octave Mirbeau's famous novel, "Diary of a Chambermaid." (Goddard's was 1946, directed by Jean Renoir; Moreau did it in 1964, for Luis Bunuel.)
Paulette Goddard as Celestine in "Diary of a Chambermaid."
Jeanne Moreau as Celestine 18 years later.
Well, that brave 21st century actress is Lea Seydoux. Her version of the unruly chambermaid's tale opens in L.A. and New York on Friday, directed by Benoit Jacquot. Film fans are already quite aware of Miss Seydoux — she has made her mark in, among other movies, "Farewell, My Queen," "Blue is the Warmest Color," "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," "Midnight In Paris" and "Spectre." She is delicious and talented, and the role of Celestine — who copes with an obnoxious mistress, that lady's randy husband and a sullen, sexy gardener — seems perfect for her.
Lea Seydoux in "Diary of a Chambermaid."
WOULDN'T you like Paul McCartney for Father's Day? Or perhaps your father would? Well, it could happen, because CharityBuzz is offering a meeting with Sir Paul as one of its Father's Day auction "gifts." (If you win Paul, there's a meeting and two tickets to his upcoming "One on One" tour.)

Other tempting items include VIP tickets to a Victoria's Secret fashion show and after-party (suddenly your father has forgotten all about Sir Paul!). Also — seven days at a Montego Bay resort (Mom might benefit from that one too) ... four tickets to the Super Bowl ... a private golf lesson from pro coach Hank Hanley ... sing on-stage with the Beach Boys, and see their show. Mick Jagger and Paul Simon are also on the auction block. Go to
The next bid could be yours ...
STORM ENTERTAINMENT has just put out a comic book biography of the late rock idol, Prince — he would have been 58 yesterday. The 24-page book is written by Michael L. Frizell, art by Ernesto Lovera and Vincenzo Sansone. It is available in both print and digital.
ENDQUOTE: "The only problem I have ever had with Obama is when he has a big "win" or a momentous new progress in legislation, he never "cheerleads." He apparently thinks the country "gets it." They do not. W. Bush shouted everything from the rooftops. Everything!"

That's a note from my friend Terry Hodge Taylor, responding to our recent musing here about Hillary Clinton — Terry, like almost everybody else, thought Clinton's foreign policy take-down of Donald Trump was masterful. He also thinks Hillary should choose Elizabeth Warren as a potential VP. He says: "SHE knows how to sell from the rooftops!"
Also received a long and polite e-mail from a gentleman who apparently lives in England — but visits the U.S. often — and sees very little on either side of our political aisle that is encouraging.

He wrote, in part: "It is a sad reflection of the current state of American politics that your countrymen have such a terrible choice to make. The outcome affects my country much more than our decision to remain or leave the EU affects yours. With best wishes from a perennial belief in America."

Well, we've been through worse, and since I think America is still great, if not perfect, we will get through whoever is voted into the White House, and whatever they do. We have to.

With Denis Ferrara

Contact Liz here.