Last week, Liz Smith, the New York Post's
legendary 86-year-old gossip columnist, gave a pretty fascinating interview
about her recent layoff to Lloyd Grove, who also happens to be a legendary erstwhile gossip columnist (he wrote for the Daily News
(Forgive me if any of the aforementioned info was unnecessary--
I never know how much of this semi-insidery media stuff is general knowledge, and how much shorthand I can use when talking about it. When I lived in New York it was pretty much
impossible for me to go a day without buying the NYP or the NYDN,
because how could I not? They only cost like 25 cents and were
pretty fun to read, if only for the gossip columns and horoscopes.)
Anyway, both Smith and Grove were recently fired from their NYC gossip gigs, so you could tell in the interview they are kind of like old friends, sharing war stories and shaking their heads together about "the world nowadays."
Although a lot of things in the interview did not make sense to me-- who prefaces a $125,000 salary in journalism with the word "only"?-- I did kind of agree with a few of her sentiments. One in particular has kind of been echoing in my head for a few days:
I don’t think [news websites] mean anything either, except they mean instant
success for these very, very energetic and ambitious young people. And
it’s perfectly fine, but I wouldn’t give any credence to most of the
stuff I read. ... We’re going to have the Internet
even when we don’t have things to eat. We’re going to still have it.
My question is-- is that a good thing? She doesn't quite seem to think so, or at least she's still on the fence.
But some people, like those at, say, One Laptop Per Child, would argue having Internet access and information is more important than-- obviously not food or water-- but many, many other material things that previous generations may have seen as signs of success.
As for me, I'm honestly not sure if I think Liz Smith has a great, common-sense point of view, or if she's just missing the point.