When I was a young lad, my mother told me a story about Elizabeth Taylor being asked a stupid question by a journalist immediately upon her arrival in Australia some time in the 1960s, and how she responded by saying that the question was as "dumb as shit". My mother claimed to greatly admire the brutal honesty of this answer.

So, what was this question? Here is the full story, related by John Pilger in his book "A Secret Country":

As a young reporter on the Sydney Daily Telegraph, assigned to cover the wharves and the airport, I was obliged to ask 'visiting celebrities' what they thought of Australia. Although they might have seen only those unique Australian officials who spray arriving passengers with disinfectant, they were expected to play the game and make a statement affirming all that was good and sublime about 'Godzone'. Exhausted by a seemingly endless journey, and broiling or shivering in the corrugated iron sheds that stood at the nation's gates, they were prompted about the delights of 'our beer, beaches and way of life'. Compliance ensured them generous space in the next day's papers; resistance risked public opprobrium. When the actress Elizabeth Taylor loudly and accurately described the question as 'dumb as shit', the size of the bags under her eyes was reported and it was noted that her latest husband was 'dwarf-like and grizzled'.

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