Every day is opening night.

“Bullying by Numbers”

Ladies and gents,

As you may know about me, I’m still a bit baffled by the World Wide Web or, as the media likes to call it, the
Information Superhighway. Of course, I’ve learned to partake in certain virtual offerings over the years — like discount shopping and e-mailing — but I still like to deposit my checks and have sex the old fashioned way. And that goes for gossip too. I like my gossip whispered at a dinner party or printed in a newspaper, the way God intended. Gossip, you see, is my trade, my bread-and-butter, my raison d’être. So I took it as something as a personal insult when my assistant showed me what is commonly referred to as a “message board” yesterday. This is a website on which any Tom, Dick, or (more often than not) Mary can take whatever hearsay, opinion, or thought that pops into their head and post it for public consumption. This particular message board was of particular relevance to me as there was a thread with the headline: “Scoop Verbena is a pig!” that was started by someone who claims to have spotted me at a D’Agostino on 3rd
Avenue crouched behind a display of crackers, eating raw bacon directly out of the package. (An absurd claim, as anyone who knows me knows I wouldn’t be caught dead at a D’Agostino. Had the supposed sighting occurred at Balducci’s, I’d simply blame it on Ambien and move on.) The thread went on to call into question everything from the veracity of my reporting to my sexuality to my age. A sense of cruelty and bitterness pervaded every last remark, each signed with cowardly anonymity masquerading as clever “screen names” like “SonofMamaRose” and “TheEmcee.” This was my first experience with cyber bullying and it was, in the grand scheme, relatively harmless. But I now have great empathy for all of those whose lives are fodder for public discourse in this internet age. Today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s fish wrapper, but Google is forever.

Tidbits From Around Town

Witnessed Michael Arden comforting a weepy Kathleen Marshall at the end of The Last Five Years.

Spotted Page Six legend-in-the-making Ian Mohr choosing a sandwich at Pret A Manger.

Overheard Michael Douglas, at intermission during a recent performance of Kinky Boots, telling a fan to tune into “Behind the Candelabra,” the upcoming Liberace biopic, to which the fan responded, “Okay, but will you pay for my HBO?”

As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!