Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Don't Get It -- And I Don't Wanna Get It

There are a lot of things I don't understand about Life, even with my advancing age and broad experience, but I gotta tell you, the celebrity mystique is up there at the top of the list. I just don't get it. I mean I REALLY don't get it.

Oh sure, I kept a scrapbook of movie stars when I was 13, and when the subject comes up I'll match my "celebrities I've met" list against anyone's.
  • Lassie (the real one - the boy dog);
  • Patrick Swayze (well, I didn't meet him, but I ate dinner at the next table);
  • Joan Baez, Kim Novak and Clint Eastwood - no big deal - anyone who has ever lived in Monterey County has met at least one of this triad. I swear I've never asked for an autograph, though -- not even a paw print from Lassie.
I'm sure as this interminable election season moves along we're going to be hearing celebrity endorsements and watching snippets from celebrity fundraisers for the candidates. This is the point where my unbelief slams into American pop culture. Why should their endorsement, or even their opinion, carry any weight whatsoever? What makes their opinion of any candidate more valid than my next door neighbor's? Do they have some kind of political credentials only they and their hairdresser know about?


Brief aside: A couple of years ago, Hollywood came to my area and filmed a really bad movie in which one of my sons had a brief part. Knowing that watching the filming of a movie was on my list of "things to do before I die," he invited me to the set. It was both fascinating and the most boring afternoon of my life, but it does give me the authority for the following three paragraphs.

So -- you come to Hollywood with 50,000 other aspiring actors and, through chance or connections or your willingness to be oh so nice to producers and agents -- and maybe even through talent and training -- you get a break in the movie biz.

Your workday goes something like this: A limo picks you up from your residence and drives you to the studio or location, where you sit in "hair and makeup" for a couple of hours. You work with the costumers until you're just as beautiful or handsome as the role requires. You "work" for 2 minutes, then sit on your ass for 2 hours while the director reviews the scene with 10 people and makes minuscule changes... then you "work" for another 2 minutes. You eat a catered lunch. You might "work" for another 30 minutes and then you're driven home, oh so weary, in the same limo. If you don't have a gala to attend, you learn the next day's lines and set your alarm clock for that dreadfully early hour when you get up and do it all over again.

I know, I know, there's research, there's finding the character, there's struggling with the director to breathe life into the character and your performance... still, you have to admit, it isn't genetic engineering, rocket science or pick your metaphor for brainiac. One could to say that the only need your brain fulfills is to keep your shapely skull from deflating.

Oh yeah - the best part -- you also get to cash those lovely, lovely, big fat checks.

Wait - maybe that isn't the best part. Maybe the very, very best part is that you get to live as part of America's uncrowned royalty -- just you and your plastic surgeons, your 8 spouses, 5 kids from 5 different marriages and 2 long-time partners, your addictions and many nights in rehab that you're so proud of, your psychiatrist, arresting officer, attorney, masseuse, astrologer, Learjet pilot, housekeeper and staff, your security personnel, your publicist, business manager, banker and agent... and don't forget the family that done you wrong, so wrong.

OK, maybe that's a little exaggerated...but not by much for the creme de la creme of Hollywood.

To me the life of a celebrity seems like the epitome of sleaze and all that is wrong with our culture -- however, to many it is THE American Dream.

Pardon me for being obtuse, but I still don't see how working in the entertainment field and being a household (slutty) name lends any credibility to your political opinion. What piece of logic am I missing here?

Because your face has been on a movie screen 50 times life-size, and because it's your sad visage I see on the tabloids at the supermarket and your name I hear on network news for yet another scandal -- THAT qualifies you to endorse a candidate and I'm supposed to follow your lead?

Certainly everyone enjoying our American freedoms has the right to express an opinion, stand up for what they believe in, protest whatever evils they see and lobby for change. War records from the Revolution to last month's mid-East tally attest to the worth of those precious rights.

I just don't get why a celebrity's viewpoint is assumed to carry any more weight that the soccer mom down the street, the hot DHL delivery driver, the Starbucks server or any one of the other 301 million Americans.

I certainly don't get why a supposedly serious candidate would even want the endorsement of the King or Queen of Sleaze. Maybe I can understand if they're raising money, because no one has more money than Hollywoodites and there's no tighter clique than entertainers. But really -- I mean REALLY -- you're trying to convince America you have the intelligence, integrity, principles and leadership qualities to become President... and here's Bambi BigBoobs, Daisy Dipshit and Slab Hardbody who will attest to your qualifications -- and you think their endorsements will sway MY vote?

Arrrgh. Like I said a couple of hundred words ago -- I don't get it.

Just For Fun (with a guaranteed smile)