Maybe the scary L-word isn't dead. If Walter Cronkite can use it without fear or favor, it might just come back into vogue. After all, does anyone not like Uncle Walter? In a recent editorial he writes: "I believe that most of us reporters are liberal, but not because we consciously have chosen that particular color in the political spectrum. More likely it is because most of us served our journalistic apprenticeships as reporters covering the seamier side of our cities -- the crimes, the tenement fires, the homeless and the hungry, the underclothed and undereducated." He goes on to say: "I looked up the definition of "liberal" in a Random House dictionary. It gave the synonyms for 'liberal' as 'progressive' 'broad-minded,' 'unprejudiced,' 'beneficent.' The antonyms it offered: 'reactionary' and 'intolerant.'" Don't forget fair and balanced. (Salt Lake Tribune)
Whitney Houston stood by her man Bobby Brown and stood up to the cops who arrested him at a Georgia restaurant for violating his probation from an earlier drunken-driving conviction. When they took Bobby away Whitney was "yelling and screaming and pointing fingers at one of our officers," reported one of the policemen. Houston wasn't charged with anything, but she might have been if she had started singing -- which I believe is an offense in several states. (Yahoo News)
Newly refreshed Greta Van Susteren has written a book about her experiences as a lawyer and talk-show host. Howard Kurtz reports that in it, she recalls a rare time when she didn't know what to say. It was after the O.J. Simpson trial and she was on the phone with him trying to land the first interview. After 45 minutes of wrangling she said to Simpson, "O.J., can I have your phone number to call you back? I have to go pick up my husband, and if I'm late he'll kill me." (Washington Post)
Looks like the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday will be one "virgin" short. Madonna, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez were scheduled to do a trio of "Like a Virgin," but J.Lo pulled out, saying her new movie won't wrap in time. Maybe they can get host Chris Rock to step in as a sub. (MTV.com)
Speaking of Chris Rock, he may be the only person capable of shocking the unflappable David Letterman -- or at least making him move on to the next question without comment. Last night, when Dave asked about Chris' new baby, Rock did a straightfaced bit about how being a dad gave him "less time to get high." He said he thought it was a good idea to use reverse psychology -- to give his 1-year-old girl cigarettes and to take her to strip clubs -- so that when she grows up she won't do any of those bad things. Maybe you had to be there. It was funny.
-- Karen Croft
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Attention, Arnold Schwarzenegger: Clint Eastwood is ready to make your day. The former mayor of Carmel, Calif., says he doesn't think his fellow actor-turned-pol has anything to fear at the polls from scabrous stories in the press. "If the tabloids say Arnold had an affair with a German shepherd or something, I don't know if people will pay much attention," Eastwood tells the Carmel Pine Cone (via filmstew.com). "The tabloids will be all over his past, but the majority of the people who read the tabloids probably don't vote."
Attention, Kobe Bryant: Mike Tyson feels your pain. "I know how easy it is for a young man to be a big shot, a big star in America's eyes and then get in another arena and he's nobody," Tyson said in an interview on "Access Hollywood." "I just hope the best for him." (N.Y. Daily News)
Go ahead, shout out your favorite line from "Animal House." A little bit louder now. It's the classic flick's 25th anniversary. (Yes, you're old.) Peter Riegert, who played Boon in the film, explains its surprise success thusly: "The movie came out and complemented the culture, which was in a very anti-authoritarian state of mind. Vietnam had just ended three years earlier and the culture was changing rapidly, rapidly, rapidly and rejecting its former skin, its more conservative skin. That's what the movie was about. It's about the rejection of uniformed foolish authority." (Associated Press)
Al Franken on Fox News Channel's decision to drop its "Fair and Balanced" trademark lawsuit against him: "I was hoping they'd keep it going for a few more news cycles." (N.Y. Daily News)
Best of the Rest
Page Six: Shirtmaker to the stars Carl Goldberg dishes about Broadway actors, says Hugh Jackman thinks he has the legs of a showgirl and "Jason Alexander perspires so much, he wears a special anti-perspirant on his head so he won't short out the microphones. They had a really difficult time finding a suit to fit him"; Jayson Blair offends Times staffers by having "the audacity" to walk down same block as Times building; Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen spotted watching edgy flick "Thirteen" with their stunt doubles; Lou Reed officiates at wedding; Calvin Klein said to be very particular about color of flowers and coffee; Conan O'Brien says Wayne Newton once sent him a telegram that said, "I never thought such a tall man could be such a small man."
The 411: Quentin Tarantino flies to NYC to show Uma Thurman "Kill Bill," in which she stars, but she keeps him "cooling his heels" for a day while she frolics with friends on Fire Island; Sophia Loren's housekeeper denies allegations that Loren has a secret daughter; Nick Stahl not throwing support behind costar Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign, says, "Would I vote for him? Uhh ..."; search for "isurvivedbonnie" on www.groups.yahoo.com and you can check out all sorts of gripes posted by people who've worked with high-flyin' magazine editor Bonnie Fuller.
Boldface Names: Sex Pistols throw party at Chelsea Hotel, where Sid Vicious killed Nancy Spungen, and Moby's the only "V.I.P." to show to keep rude John Lydon and "average middle-aged man" Steve Jones company; Billy Joel spotted at Hamptons bash with a new young girlfriend, Kate Lee, and a newly slenderized physique, explains, "It's called 'Get really fat for about 15 years and then like drop back to what you used to look like' and then people say, 'You look fantastic, man.' It's the Billy Joel diet. Don't even work out; just gain all the weight, then lose it so people think you look great."
-- Amy Reiter