Why I Don't Care About Hollywood

If you’ve ever owned cats, you’ve seen cats from the same household hiss at each other under certain circumstances. Like when one comes home from the vet, or when a new cat is introduced. Cats are more or less solitary creatures except in mating season. Cats living together, while capable of killing each other, will normally learn to tolerate each others' existence, and even become close emotionally. But it’s not a behavior that appears native to them. It almost seems that cats realize that if you’re going to have to live together, it’s best not to constantly attack each other. You could end up being the recipient one day.

If you’ve ever watched the extra features on DVDs and listened to actors and directors talk about each other, it’s all glowing praise and respect. But if you dig a little deeper, you find there are a lot of actors who are jerks when off camera, and just generally hard to get along with. Of course such DVD interviews are, I’m sure, heavily edited to show everyone in the best light. But it’s also true that these people have to live with each other after the director yells, “Cut!”. They all swim in the same pond, so to speak. And so I’m sure they have only the best things to say about each other when on screen. In this sense, I consider the folks in Hollywood a lot like cats.

I’ve quoted Gwyneth Paltrow before, in an interview where she more or less excused the rampant marital infidelity in Hollywood, out of her deep respect for those involved. This is an example of the kind of thinking (or not thinking) prevalent in Hollywood. Paltrow may be intelligent or not, but she clearly has problems in the area the rest of us call “morality” and “ethics”.

Hollywood has always been a land of narcissism and hipocrisy. But recently, it’s come to light that Hollywood is a hotbed of pedophilia. Some of the people who were part of Hollywood when they were young have attested that Hollywood parties were windows into the wider world of Hollywood pedophilia, and that they were victims themselves. But these young actors, forced to work with and for these pedophiles, refuse to name names and loudly condemn the practice. And if this is so prevalent at Hollywood parties, many many more people are aware of it and say nothing.

Consider the depravity of pedophilia. It’s the one crime that not even prison inmates will tolerate. After all, the victim of your pedophilia could have been Big Joe’s little sister, in which case you’re due to be the victim of a prison yard deadly attack sooner or later.

Then there are the folks like Leonardo DiCaprio, champion of all things environmental, who jets around from conference to conference, putting tons of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Or Barbra Streisand and Al Gore, both environmental movement icons, who are known for having huge power bills for their mansions.

Such is the hipocrisy of Hollywood.

And then one of them opens his/her mouth about politics. Why they do this, I do not know. It is guaranteed to lose them half their audience, if not more. And most of them are beyond naive when it comes to politics. Their shallow political analyses, reinforced by the similar opinions of the rest of their Hollywood fellow travelers, just marks the whole tribe as idiots. And if you’re an idiot on a subject, it’s really best to say nothing about it. That’s why I don’t talk about sports.

And then there’s the Hollywood Holier Than Thou syndrome, some of which is reflected above. I suppose when you get paid many times what your labor is worth, and have people all around you who are paid to agree with you and boost your self-importance, you begin to believe you are somehow above other people and thus qualified to tell them how to live their lives, in between tokes on your bong.

And pay? Don’t get me started. I’m all for success, and I don’t normally begrudge people whatever perqs they can gain as a result of what they do. But $20 million for two months’ work on a motion picture, up front? Really? George Lucas managed to film a breakthrough movie and initiate a much beloved brand (Star Wars) using little-known actors working for a fraction of this amount.

Oh and the nobility of acting. Somehow acting is considered (among actors) as some sort of noble pursuit. It’s not. No more than any other profession. Try telling a fireman what a hero he is some time, and watch his reaction. He rejects the notion, stating simply that he’s just doing his job. It’s true that his job may entail saving lives and property. But he doesn’t see it as a heroic pursuit. He sees it as a job. Same with soldiers, same with cops. We see some of these jobs as inherently heroic, but those who do them do not. Somehow the folks in Hollywood (and actors in general) see their profession as noble and perhaps heroic. Spare me. What about the writers, without whom the actors would have nothing to perform? What about directors, without whom actors would just be a bunch of bums running around a stage? What about all the thousand and one other people who make a film possible? How noble are those people? If you ask me, the writers are the most important pieces of the film-making game. They are the originators of the ideas which ultimately make it to film. And without them, you have nothing. No film, no performance, not even a film industry as we know it. Those guys deserve the highest praise, as far as I’m concerned. But then I could be biased on that point.

I love movies. And regardless of whatever low opinion I have of these people, I will go to see their movies. But I do get awfully tired of trying to filter out the wretched behavior, bad manners and narcissism of these people. Year after year, I get more and more irritated by their antics.

Some stars move away from Hollywood because they don’t want to be part of that scene. Bravo to them. But they still, to one degree or another, carry the stain of the group to which they belong.

In summary, I’m more or less fed up with Hollywood. And television? As I’ve said before, today’s television fare just makes me want to read books.