"I AM ASHAMED that women are so simple!" says Katherina to Petruchio at the end of "The Taming of the Shrew" by William Shakespeare.
She goes on to say, "to offer war where they should kneel for peace." (I think Shakespeare knew Kate was merely feigning surrender and planning to do as she pleased.)
But this quote, of its time, is anathema to liberated women the world over. The women's movement is newly invigorated by threats from tea party-ers, states' righters, abortion deniers and, liberated women in general. Led by their still stalwart and, dare I say it, -- glamorous Gloria Steinem -- American women are ready for the wars of equality again.
At an important luncheon this week, Steinem noted that back when women were a distinct minority when they first started appearing on TV news shows. The industry was male-dominated --on the early "Today" show, even the chimpanzee was male. She said, for instance, that only a few years ago all art was reserved for "European guys" and women only dealt with "crafts." Times have changed. But not enough!
Here's just a sampling of the Who's who that turned up at this luncheon to promote the coming 2013 film "Makers: Women Who Make America." This is being backed by PBS and AOL and made by the creative Dyllan McGee.
My pal the writer/promoter/fashion plate/mover-shaker, one Peggy Siegal, took me to this event at the charming Casa Lever, owned by one Abby Rosen, just off Park Avenue. The food was super but the "names" were off the wall.
Just a few: the aforesaid Ms. Steinem, Diane von Furstenberg, Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown, Katie Couric, Magee Hickey, Deborah Roberts, Veronica Pittman, Faith Ringold, Carolyn Roehm, Blaine Trump. Campbell Brown, Gayle King, Star Jones, Jill Fairchild, Amanda Foreman, Gigi Stone, Joanne Lipman, Geraldine Fabrikant, Jennifer Maguire, Joanna Cowles and on and on.
And the leader of them all -- Barbara Walters -- said a few choice words about our friend Nora Ephron and then we saw some stunning film of Nora talking for the ages. Gloria remarked that most of us felt Nora was in the room with us.
I had just seen the women of "The View" talking about Nora, led by Barbara, earlier that morning. This tribute to Nora, whose obituary led The Times front page that very day was only one of so many. I had cried throughout Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC rave the night before. He spoke of Nora's talent, gift of friendship and understanding and the memories she has left with us. He was excellent.
This lunch was a well-timed unintentional tribute to the magic of Nora Ephron. Or it became that.
NONE OTHER THAN Whoopi Goldberg has joined a select small group of performers who have won the Grammy, the Oscar, the Golden Globe, both the daytime and nighttime Emmy and the Tony. (I hate to keep bragging on Whoopi but we also made her a New York Landmarks Conservancy "Living Landmark" not too many years ago.)
Now Whoopi wants to celebrate another famous but largely unrewarded black woman, the late Moms Mabley. Moms was a pioneer in the comedy world and the documentary "I Got Somethin' to Tell You" will prove it, once Whoopi gets it made. She has already done quite a bit of filming on it.
It is hard to make any documentary, but Whoopi is determined -- and she needs our assistance. You can help Whoopi make this Moms Mabley documentary by going to Kickstarter.com. Then search for "Whoopi" and see the rewards you'll receive by backing this project. Rewards range from a signed Whoopi Goldberg photo for $5 to dinner with Whoopi for $10,000.
This project will only be funded if at least $65,000 is pledged by 5:11 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, July 26. Just take my word for it that this is on the up and up and Moms deserves to be seen. If Whoopi doesn't reach the goal by that cutoff time, then the effort will be canceled.
I am going to try to get myself one of those Moms Mabley T-shirts.
OH, I KNOW SOME OF YOU think the singer Rihanna is just a hot mess who gets beat up by her boyfriend, or incites her ex and perhaps current boyfriend to battle over her and destroy a NYC nightclub in the process. (Rihanna wasn't even there for this fracas!)
Believe me, the sexy young warbler has other talents. She just signed to provide one of the lead voices in Dreamworks' upcoming animated film "Happy Smekday!"
Jim Parsons, the big star of TV's "The Big Bang Theory," will be the other major voice. This is all about an alien who connects with an Earth girl after an apocalyptic event destroys most of the world -- and it's Rihanna's voice-acting debut.
What a good career move! Animated movies have a habit of topping the box office.
When last heard from, Rihanna was shocking her London concert audiences in fishnet short-shorts. She screamed out at her fans: "Got any freaks in the house?!"
Oh, yes, Disney is going to love working with Rihanna.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)