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Gloria Steinem shines, but Matrix Awards drag on, and on...

"Women! What do they want?"

Well, they want everything now and well they should.

I went to the Matrix Awards in the packed-to-the-rafters Waldorf Astoria Ballroom on Monday.

I always go to this event, mainly because I was given the award back in the Dark Ages and received it, if memory serves, from the hand of the late governor of Texas, Ann Richards.

So that was a long time ago and you didn't have to be such a "big deal" to get the Matrix and my boss, Helen Gurley Brown, and Hearst exec Ellen Levine, always encouraged me. But I have to say this year the Matrix was both "inspiring" and "asinine" in its boring longevity.

The Matrix event is a source of excellent role models and its annual fundraiser provides many scholarships for rising women executives and stars.

But my word! Any event that urges you to be there at 11:30 a.m. to record the red carpet, seats you before a cold, freezing lunch already on the table when you sit down and then keeps you until about three in the afternoon is too much!

I won't go into the winners. Every one of them was well deserving of the Matrix, like my friend the presenter Gloria Steinem, who has become godlike in her acceptability and popularity! The audience cooed and applauded and stood for Gloria. She is a giant leader-inspirer, and at a slim 80 years, had the best body in the room.

But how do the event coordinators justify all this time without people getting up to go to the bathroom or leaving to go back to work? (You have to take the day off!)

I could easily cut an hour from this event. There were too many presenters and winners. Many of them did not observe timeliness and couldn't be understood because the mics were set for dynamic speakers and they were so far upstage one couldn't understand everything they said. Also many simply wouldn't stick to the script, as they have agreed. (For instance, every winner is asked not to thank people in the audience, but the majority persisted in thanking family. One person even offered a cute negative film of herself. But then she ended it with people thanking her and making a speech after the film. When will people ever learn to quit when they are ahead?)

The time limit on listening to speeches ends at about 40 minutes! The Matrix offers way too much. But that's the glory of it all, I suppose, that women are taking charge -- and being just as boring and tiresome as guys have always been. This is, after all, equality.

THE Matrix can be criticized because it is SRO every year and women are more determined than ever to "up" their status. But have some pity on the poor trapped audience, where faithfulness to an ideal is god, but boredom is rampant. Let me add here that the hit of the lunch was presenter David Gregory who cried at his opening. Love him!

I WILL probably be excoriated for what I just wrote or have to apologize in Times Square or something and my own fundraisers and charities will be raked over the coals.

This is nothing compared to what passes for news and the great public evidently likes its "breaking news" to be broken to them over days or weeks of the same speculative theories and "so-called hot breaks." No wonder the young and restless just take a glance at their iPhones or whatever, and go on about their business. CNN, the worst offender, evidently did OK ratings-wise with the missing Malaysian flight story, while conducting a course such as this -- repetition.

READERS CHIME IN! "Dear Liz, I loved your conversation in The New York Times last Sunday. Thought you'd enjoy this story from Claudia Pierpont's book about ace writer Philip Roth in 'Roth Unbound.' -- His version of a date with Jackie Kennedy Onassis:

'Taking her home from dinner in her long black limo with the Secret Service guy up front -- he had expected to hail a cab -- he remembers thinking 'Am I supposed to kiss her? I know all about Lee Harvey Oswald, am I supposed to kiss her? What about the Cuban missile crisis, am I supposed to kiss her?' And he remembers her asking when they got to her building on 5th Ave, 'Do you want to come upstairs? Oh, of course, you do! -- this was the only sign she gave, he says, that she knew exactly who she was. Upstairs, she told him the children were asleep, prompting more inner turmoil on his part. "You mean the little boy who salutes like this and the little girl who calls her pony Macaroni?'

When he finally kissed her, it was like kissing the face on a billboard.'

"Claudia's book is brilliant, based on conversations over many years with Philip Roth and with his assent."

THE ABOVE email came from writer Richard Osterweil, who is himself a writer, currently contributing to a work on the late AIDs heroine, Judy Peabody.

While I rant on, waiting for the assassins from the Matrix to find me, I will just continue my own repetitions, stealing from people who send me interesting (I hope) thoughts.

(E-mail Liz Smith at


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