Wednesday, October 5, 2016

LIZ SMITH: The Reality TV Whirlwind

Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield after their rescue from an overturned boat in the Bahamas in 1962.
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Kim Kardashian Reaps The Reality TV Whirlwind — Haters Gonna Hate on Her Jewelry Heist Ordeal.  She Gets the Ugly Side Eye From Social Media.

“EVEN WHEN I pretend this story sounds in any way plausible, I still feel absolutely no emotion toward any of these people.  It’s quite unnerving actually. 

“But somehow they’ve overplayed their presence in the media so much that I actually couldn’t care less.”

And that, my friends, is the nicest thing I have read, online, in the various comments sections, by people responding to the robbery of Kim Kardashian in Paris several days ago. (She was threatened at gunpoint, duct-taped, gagged, and relieved of millions of dollars worth of jewels.) 
SURE, there has always been a certain amount of cynicism surrounding well-publicized celebrities. That’s the nature of the beast of fame and fortune. (When, in 1962, Jayne Mansfield, hubby Mickey Hargitay and a press agent claimed to have been stranded on a tiny coral reef, after their boat overturned, battered by inclement weather and surrounded by hungry sharks, the sex-symbol’s tale of woe — despite her genuinely ragged appearance — was met with wide mockery. Jayne, by then nearing the end of her dubious “stardom” had gone to the publicity well once too often.)
However, social media — and the willingness of celebrities to compulsively over-share every apparently intimate moment — has altered mere cynicism and lighthearted eye-rolling into something far uglier.

So, I would like to address several of the topics brought up by the unbelieving. 

“Well, of course she was robbed. That’s what you get for running around wearing all that expensive jewelry! She was asking for it!” Really?  (These are likely the same people who think a woman wearing a tight dress is “asking” to be raped.)

Famous ladies draped in fabled rocks, in public, is hardly 21st century behavior. (Queen Elizabeth I was practically immobilized by the weight of her jewels.)
Elizabeth Taylor, the greatest star by far, wore her mammoth baubles 24/7.  And she was quite casual, to the point of carelessness — often leaving the famous Krupp diamond on some astonished hostesses bathroom sink, and forever encouraging people to try it on.  The emeralds, the rubies, the priceless pearls — the stash went where she went. And everybody knew where Elizabeth Taylor was staying.

Kim Kardashian didn’t patent conspicuous ostentation. And she shouldn’t be condemned for it, either.
Here’s another Kardashian-prompted idiocy: “I don’t believe a person in her position could be held at gunpoint and bound up and gagged and terrorized.  Nothing like this has ever happened before!”  Really?

Let us take you to Manhattan, 1970.  Screen idol Sophia Loren was robbed of $700,000 worth of jewels when four men forced their way into her suite at the Hampshire House.
Her employees were handcuffed, her secretary was struck, Loren was threatened with a gun, and she feared for the safety of her two-year-old son, asleep in the next room.  They kept asking for “the big ring.”  Loren gave them everything she had.  (Sophia declared she would never wear real jewels again — and I think she kept her word.)

Two months prior to this, Zsa Zsa Gabor was robbed in an elevator at NYC’s Waldorf Astoria.  The thieves  demanded all the bling dangling from Zsa Zsa’s ears, wrists and neck, which was worth an estimated $625,000.  (Although nobody really doubted Gabor’s story, she, like Jayne and Kim, was a figure of fun and considered overly hungry for attention.  Jokes were made.) I am sure there are other examples.  Those were the two that first popped to mind.
In any case, I am relieved that Kim K. emerged from this mishap physically unscathed.  The online hate is probably now more upsetting than the event itself. I don’t presume to tell Kim what to wear, where to wear it or not to flaunt her material success — that’s the American way, yes? 

However, staying off social media right now, tending privately to her psychic wounds and her children?  It couldn’t hurt.

Contact Liz here.