“Bitchery. Sheer Bitchery” Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper was one of America’s best known gossip columnists who took on anyone who offended her own particular set of “American” values. Over the length of her very potent career she successfully destroyed many lives and tried to destroy the reputations of countless others. Elizabeth Taylor’s very public private life provided her with an abundance of material and on a number of occasions she felt it her duty to push some of Hollywood’s leading men out of closets she felt they were hiding in. Throughout her career she was vilified, sued, physically assaulted and generally loathed; yet for her ‘contributions’ to the film industry she managed to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Until she died she was still producing numerous columns including a Sunday column for the Chicago Tribune syndicate. When asked what was the secret to her success, her response was, “Bitchery. Sheer Bitchery.” We may not like to admit to it but there is a feeling, a sublime effervescent joyous delight to be found when you indulge in a good ole bitching session. Life long friendships have been formed over a cuppa and a bitch, relationships have been saved as bitching partners bitch about their partners, and work alliances have been forged as colleagues hammer, cut and shape their co-workers in the staff room. We all know it’s wrong, morally and ethically to speak ill of others, that we ourselves would not like to be spoken of they way we are talking about others, but that doesn’t stop us. Au contraire in fact probably knowing that others are trash talking about us gives us license, a free pass almost, to do the same. In our own narcissistic way perhaps we even hope that people are talking about us, that as Oscar Wilde put it, and he should know, that it is better to be spoken about than not spoken about. I hope my life has provided some fodder, some juicy details for my friends to have bonded over, as they chewed up and spit out every last bite. I can say with relish that I have thoroughly enjoyed sinking my teeth into some of the particulars , the dirt, of their lives and I believe our friendships are all the better and stronger for it.