"I CAN'T give you the formula for success but I can give you one for failure -- try to please everyone."
Tracy Brooks Swope Avildsen insists this was said by her grandfather Herbert Bayard Swope at the Freedom House Dinner in the 40s.
Tracy is annoyed that this quote is being attributed to Bill Cosby in books of famous quotes. "Talk about re-writing history!" says Tracy.
As a matter of fact, famous sayings are always being misattributed, borrowed and they live on and on.
•THINGS I am glad about: Scarlett Johansson coming to the defense of John Travolta, in the matter of his "creepy" embrace of her on the Oscar red carpet.
I felt when I saw the photo, it had simply caught Scarlett in a stiff moment. She says: "There's nothing creepy or strange or inappropriate about John Travolta." The actress rightly blamed Internet mania for the "instant" reaction and (usually negative) opinion. This kind of thing has crushed and coarsened entertainment and news.
Also glad to hear Kelly Osbourne might quit The Fashion Police. This, after an absurd dust-up involving one of her co-hosts Giuliana Rancic -- Rancic remarked that the singer Zendaya's dreadlocks looked like they smelled like "patchouli oil or weed." Osbourne, who is everybody's best friend, wildly objected and threw Rancic under the bus. Giuliana was forced into one of those humiliating PC-fueled "apologies." At one point, Kelly tweeted she was "thinking about leaving the show." From your mouth to God's ear, honey.
Osbourne is one of the last people on earth to be critiquing other people's fashion sense. Ditto her shrieking friend Ross Matthews. (A few years back, Ross somehow got himself a brief interview with Elizabeth Taylor, by then fragile physically, but in full possession of her other faculties. Ross opened by saying, "Hello, Dame Edn...Dame Elizabeth!" Taylor put him in his place for the few minutes he was allowed in her presence.)
Honestly, now that Joan Rivers is gone, The Fashion Police should go quietly, as well.
•P.S. LAST FRIDAY would have been Elizabeth Taylor's 83rd birthday. Happy birthday, my dear. There will never, ever be another like you!
•NO wonder President Jimmy Carter is disliked and ignored by some circles... instead of raising millions for future glory, he has simply continued in his deglamorizing of public life and dedicated his past-Presidency to a regular unceasing fight for minorities and the needy everywhere...especially for women!
It is almost impossible to sum up what a good true human being he is. I never met this President, although I once had lunch with Rosalyn Carter at a Barbara Walters get together in her apartment. I felt instinctively that Mrs. Carter did not feel comfortable in a roomful of ambitious and gossipy women who were all clawing their way to what they thought was the top. And I felt "rightly" that none of us gave her a break as a suitable role model "First Lady."
What caused this hark back to the Carters? It is Simon & Schuster's issuance of the President's "new in paperback" book being launched March 10th. This little volume is titled A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power and that imposing title is exactly what Jimmy Carter means to get across. I'd say these issues are more in the news today than ever -- the former President deals with violence toward the world's women and how religion plays its part in this charade of "equality." He includes prostitution...rape...abortion...genital cutting... multiple marriage...AIDS...trafficking in girls...and the like... in his analysis. He even cites Angelina Jolie in praise for her work.
The 39th President is correct on all counts, I think, and this work deserves our increasing support.
•I wouldn't have the patience to read Fifty Shades of Grey nor would I see the movie. But a review in New York magazine by Maureen O'Connor is worth noting.
Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from a passé novel described as the 'eighth-grade gurglings' of a horny housewife to a movie production anticipated mostly by dread and boredom and preceded by a self-undermining press tour to an actual movie that actual people are seeing in historic droves -- the biggest February movie in American history. And it's even getting applauded, in part because the move to screen excised most of EL James's excruciating prose. The entire 500-page book takes place within Anastasia Steele's internal monologue -- it's sort of the Ulysses of love-struck virgins -- but the movie has no narration.
But Ana's neurotic stream-of-consciousness was the only thing I liked about the books -- to the point that I skipped most of the sex scenes. Truth is, Fifty Shades is a horrible book about sex. But it's a great book about dating, and the way that early-stage romance turns you into a self-conscious, self-doubting internal Greek chorus.
•RECENTLY, at Manhattan's Veau d' Or restaurant, I didn't recognize the important moviemaker Wes Anderson when I met him -- I was embarrassed, because I'd loved his The Grand Budapest Hotel movie.
On Oscar night I was charmed by his beaming face from his seat, as Budapest won a number of awards. Still, I was disappointed that so many who thanked him with heartfelt gratitude, neglected to call him by his full name.
Winners should use full names. Moviegoers deserve to know they are thanking the great "Wes Anderson" not just their pal, Wes.
This kind of "thank you" drives me crazy. A chance to be known and recognized by the watching world -- lost in some winner's intimate feeling of informal friendship.
The thank you's this year, in general, reached a new low level of boredom. Even God got short shrift!
However, just by the look of him, Wes Anderson probably didn't care. He seemed simply happy for those who won, and -- in the words of Michael Keaton -- "Hey, let's be honest. I'm just glad to be here."