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Celebrity Gossip from Liz Smith

NO OPENING quote today because I want to give my own New Year's resolution for the rich, famous, worldly and celebrity-riddled denizens of this great universe.

Please, please -- do what you will in the new year, but then when it all blows up, drop the phrase where you ask the press and public to "respect your, my or our privacy" because on the eve 2010, this is about as pointless a request as saying, "Excuse me" on a crowded New York sidewalk where hicks from out of town and New Yorkers alike have never taken the advice "Walk to the right!" So, everybody runs smack into you when you yourself are following this practical etiquette.

And, let's face it, the request for privacy is absolutely quaint. Likewise, the constant refrain from readers about whatever we print. The "who cares?" litany from those who read the Internet for free and have no idea that it is work and good will motivating most of us -- not the big money we thought the Internet would provide.

If you don't like what you read, write us why, give a thoughtful opinion or just turn off and drop out. But don't say, "Who cares?" because, other than you, perhaps, millions do!

GOOD RIDDANCE to so many big names of 2009 who royally screwed up. Everybody is sick of them.

Perhaps we could sing them revised lyrics to Cole Porter's "You're the Top" from an English "poet" who refuses to be named. . .

You're the pits, you are Nature's error

You're the Blitz; you're the Reign of Terror.

You're the nasty smell of a cheap hotel in Spain,

You're the deep Recession.

You're repossession. You're crack cocaine.

You're a creep; you're a pop star's worst work.

You're the sheep in a Damien Hirst work.

I am looked upon as the paragon of wits,

But if Baby, I'm the cherry, you're the pits!

FOLLOWING THIS line of thought, like every sensible person on the planet -- with the possible exception of Dick Cheney-- my New Year's hope is for peace on earth and good will to all.

But in my shallow capacity as an "entertainment" scribe, my dearest hope for 2010 is that the mental illness known as reality TV somehow loses popularity. I fear my hope is in vain. Reality programming has contributed a negative seismic shift in popular culture -- a steep plunge to cellar!

Why, the very last story sent to me this year is about trashy Tila Tequila -- described as a "singer, model and MTV television personality." f you say so.

Miss Tequila is supposedly engaged to Miss Casey Johnson, of the Johnson & Johnson fortune. Miss Tequila is or is not pregnant with her brother's baby -- acting as a surrogate for her bro and his partner who could not have children. Miss Tequila, despite her rumored gravid state and her engagement to Miss Johnson, is also partying hard with rapper Lil B.

Depressing? You bet.

But I am immensely cheered that I am not alone in my distaste. The eternally fabulous Joan Collins has just written a terrific piece in The Daily Mail on "The Rise of the Sub-Lebrity." (Joan is quite the author, since 1978 she's written about 18 books!)

Here's what Joan has to say: "The nouveau celebrity rot seemed to start at the beginning of the decade with the new 'entertainments' of reality television to feed the appetites of a public eager to watch heartbreak, adultery, torture and hatred served up to them on a daily and nightly basis on their omnipresent boxes. As a result, utter nobodies became instant celebrities, often garnering front pages in the tabloids and covers of magazines . . . their instant fame had absolutely nothing to do with dedication to craft, talent or even hard work. Instead it was 'Look at me, I'm famous.' That's all they wanted."

Joan holds up icons such as Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe ("the ultimate celebrity of all time") as examples of genuine glamour and accomplishment.

Collins dishes many of the current crop of nonentities, but I enjoyed best her take on the terrible twosome Jon and Kate Gosselin: "They are utterly without any appealing characteristics. They're loathsome and dislikeable."

Oh, Joan, thank you! You took the words right out of my mouth.

The always-busy Joan--she is a cyclone of energy and enthusiasm --is about to shoot another film; a little noir-ish short, on the indie side. I can't disclose the details yet. But it's tailor made to her often-underrated talent and her never-underrated beauty and sex-appeal. This woman is a phenomenon and a real star.

(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com, or write to her c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207.)

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