Liz Smith’s Long Goodbye: ‘I Will Go Bravely On!’

Today is Liz Smith’s last column at the New York Post. Even if you are not the most regular reader is does seem like just one more sign that newspapers as we know them are not long for this world. Also, somewhat amazing is the fact that she received the news from editor Col Allan (in a letter!) more than two weeks ago, and it was only made public this week. Apparently, the woman knows how to keep a secret when need be! Anyway, Smith is over at The Daily Beast talking with fellow former gossiper extraordinaire Lloyd Grove about her abrupt departure — oh to have been a fly on the wall for this conversation! Here’s a taste:

Lloyd: Now Col sent you a letter. Did he ever tell you anything in person about this?

Liz: No, no one has spoken to me. At the end of January I wrote a letter to Rupert because Col Allan hasn’t spoken to me in a year, so I said I was anxious to re-sign and wanted to go on working and hoped to die with my boots on at my desk and all that stuff. And Rupert didn’t answer. And then Col sent me a very nice letter saying he was sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, and they had economic difficulties, et cetera, and they were not renewing my contract. So I’ve never talked to anybody there.

But I will go bravely on, move on more fully to the and keep up writing the column every day to the Tribune Syndicate, and keep writing for Variety twice a week.

Liz on the quality of gossip today: “Now you have to talk about people like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and the people on the American Idol. I mean, it’s very diminished in quality, I guess is what I’d say, the quality of stardom. Because I don’t know who most of those people are. I’m not kidding! I read Page Six mystified every day, and everybody I talk to agrees with me. They don’t know who anybody is. Page Six is mythically the most important thing, gossip-wise, in America. What do you think?

Lloyd: I have to confess having the same experience. Pat Buckley, God rest her soul, once told me that she made the same complaint to [Page Six editor] Richard Johnson — “I read your column and I don’t know who any of these people are” — and Richard, according to Pat. replied, “Well, neither do I.”

Liz on the New York Post: The New York Post, I hate to say this, is not a New York newspaper. It doesn’t love New York, it hasn’t adjusted to New York. It’s like aliens came down. It’s a fun newspaper at times. I always liked its saucy, vivid, way, but it has no New York heart. I figure they didn’t like me because I was alien to them. I’ve been a real New Yorker since 1949. I love New York. I’m really involved in it.