"THE MAIN thing I have learned about conspiracy theories is that conspiracy theorists believe because it is more comforting. The truth is that the world is actually chaotic. The truth is far more frightening. Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless," said the writer Alan Moore.
I WISH I'd placed a good bet on the fact that last week (and this) the old "Princess Diana was murdered" theories would begin to pop up, just before the 16th anniversary of her death.
Please! Much like that other neurotic blond who died in August, Miss Marilyn Monroe, there wasn't a reason on earth for anybody to murder either one of these women, who were often messes in beaded dresses, but a danger to nobody except perhaps themselves.
I have long ago concluded that there certainly was a conspiracy surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy and probably his brother Robert as well. And we might as well throw in Rev. Martin Luther King while we're at it.
But Diana, or Monroe? This is rather sad. After 50 years gone there aren't very many left to be hurt by anything said about Marilyn. But Diana's two sons, William and Harry, have to suffer through this garbage every summer.
Had Diana continued in her helter-skelter way of life -- one week a saint, gingerly walking near landmines, the next a shapely playgirl in a leopard skin bathing suit, cavorting with the likes of the immature Dodi Fayed, nobody would have needed to murder her. As Macbeth murdered sleep, Diana would have killed her reputation, much to the pleasure of the royal family. They were just waiting for her to capsize the yacht, so to speak.
As for Monroe, there's an even more unlikely scenario for murder. She wasn't a "danger" to anybody because in 1962 she couldn't have been. Nobody would have exposed her relations -- such as they were, or she thought they were -- with the Kennedy men. She might have been distraught at times, but having already once been confined to a mental hospital, it would have been easy to place her in another. No need to go the extra, murderous mile.
A lot of this has to do with the month itself -- so hot and sticky and ripe for a good story. As an editor of a New York tabloid commented in 1962, "Look, I'm as sorry as the next guy about Marilyn Monroe, but as long as she had to do it, what a break she did it in August!"
And what a break it was for the tabloids that Diana trusted herself to the Al-Fayeds and a drunken driver.
AS WAS pretty much predicted, "Lee Daniels' the Butler" took the top spot at the box office this weekend with a nice $25 million. But the real surprise came from -- ta da! -- Jennifer Aniston, whose comedy, "We're the Millers" brought in more than $17 million, assuring it the second spot, for the second week in a row. This is all the more interesting because Matt Damon's sci-fi extravaganza, "Elysium," which had so-so number one status last week, fell below Miss Aniston.
And people continue to ask, "Why does Jennifer Aniston keep working in these rom-com movies?" Uh, well, because -- she can beat out Matt Damon.
Read it and weep, haters.
A NOTE from my perspicacious and peripatetic pal, Jimmy Mitchell, on the social season in Venice this sultry August:
Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York, New Yorkers Toni and Martin Sosnoff, the famous cardiologist from Mt. Sinai, Dr. Sanford Friedman and his wife, Ginny and Marjorie Reed Gordon are just some of the people in Venice this week:
Venice. One of the most beautiful cities in the world is filled with tourists. The Grand Canal has hundreds of boats in it. The best places for lunch and dinner are Hotel Cipriani, Da Forni, the terrace of the Hotel Monaco and Harry's Bar on the Grand Canal. Harry's Bar, founded by Giuseppe Cipriani, is one of the most expensive restaurants in the world today. It is jam-packed every night with a few tourists and lots of Venetian and Italian regulars. Bellini's are 16.50 euros, salads are 22 euros, baked tagliolini (a signature dish for Cipriani all over the world) is 43 euros, steak is 66 euros and Harry's dolce cake is 32 euros. It is the same menu as Cipriani on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Harry Cipriani, the family patriarch, has dinner at Harry's Bar almost every night of the week. He usually dines with a couple of friends and always gets up from his table and greets every guest. After dinner, he takes the vaporetto home. (The vaporetto is the bus on the Grand Canal. One of its regular stops is next to Harry's Bar.)
ON SUNDAY, Aug. 25, the MTV Video Music Awards will air live. If it's not quite like the good old days of Madonna rolling round on the floor in a wedding dress, or Prince performing in pants with a see-through lace backside, the show usually provides some amusing moments. (Although Sunday night is a heavy load for TV watchers: "Breaking Bad," "Dexter" (both in their final seasons), "True Blood," which needs to recall creator Alan Ball, back for what will hopefully, mercifully be that series final season next year, the disappointing finale aired last Sunday and the new kid on the block "Ray Donovan." "Homeland," which returns for a third season on the Aug. 29, does not air on Sundays, blessedly.
So far, here's the celeb lineup for the VMAs -- Robin Thicke, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and Miley Cyrus. (The latter will wear short-shorts, we know that at least.) And what, no Taylor Swift? I want her to appear, so Kanye can yank something out of her hands. I mean, that was good for a two-year run of stories, songs, apologies and gossip items.
I'd love Madonna to appear because, well -- she's Madonna. And I was much amused by her 55th birthday get-up the other night -- she looked like Marie Antoinette crossed with a stripper/pirate, eye patch and all. Her cake was pink; she sat on her much younger boyfriend's lap all night and seemed to have a fine time. (She and Brahim Zaibat are still going strong three years in. And they said it would never last.)
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
Conspiracy blonds in August!
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