Monday, August 20, 2007

Death Watch: Leona Helmsley

The death of hotel queen and tax evader Leona Helmsley reminds us that there was once a time our society was interested in the antics of women of a certain age. During the 80's, if Imelda Marcos bought another thousand pairs of shoes, Nancy Reagan consulted Oscar De La Renta's astrologer on the reflooring of the Lincoln Bedroom, or Helmsley terrorized another gay bellhop, it was all over People Magazine and the super market rags.

This very tabloid space is now occupied by the Britneys and Lindsays of the world. And it's a good thing, because the culture has been moving towards less panty wearing for some time, and who wants to see a short-skirted Imelda Marcos revealing her other smile as she emerges from a motorcade limo?

They called Leona Helmsley a "bitch" and the "queen of mean." If she had been a man they would have called her "mentally ill." Helmsley was 87 years old.

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