I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life, and for a good part of it have worked in Hollywood, writing for TV. What’s more, for many of those years, I was a registered Democrat. I even voted for Jimmy Carter. Being in such a confessional mood, I almost feel as if I should stand up and introduce myself as Burt P, a recovering liberal, and proudly announce that I’ve been politically sober for over 5,000 days.
It may be coincidental that I began to see the error of my ways at just about the time the suits at the networks decided I was too old to write for the tube. On the other hand, being apart from the business for a while certainly gave me ample opportunity to take a more objective look at it.
One thing that became glaringly apparent is that for all the populist claptrap these folks spout, when the caste system was banished from India, it simply packed its bags and moved to Hollywood. There are people in the business who seem to devote more time to spouting left-wing inanities than they do to their acting and singing careers, and, almost without exception, they treat their underlings like indentured serfs.
One of the most successful, most liberal, TV writer-producers earns upwards of $40 million-a-year. A while back, he advertised that he needed a personal assistant. In Hollywood parlance, a p.a. is responsible for doing every menial chore you can imagine, including driving the kids to soccer practice, making dinner reservations, picking up the dry cleaning, keeping the fleet of family cars gassed up, making airport runs to pick up and deliver, and may or may not include sexual favors. When you make $40,000,000-a- year, it works out to about $110,000-a-day, every day, including Saturdays and Sundays. So, what, you wonder, was the salary being offered for what are typically 12-14 hour days? A whopping $500-a-week, or roughly what the employer earns every seven minutes, even when he’s asleep!
That is the thing that is so maddening about these Hollywood characters. It isn’t that they’re greedier or cheaper than other people, it’s that they are totally oblivious to the abyss that exists between what they say and what they do.
The reason it’s so hard to satirize this crowd is because satire calls for exaggerating human flaws and foibles. But how can you possibly do that when the reality is already so ludicrous?
Part of the reason these louts are so at home in the Democratic party is because the leading liberals are exactly like them. Consider kazillionaires like Kennedy, Kerry, Byrd, and Boxer, for instance. What do they have in common? I mean, aside from having the God-given ability to put millions of insomniacs to sleep by merely opening their mouths. What they share is the desire to convince us all that they are as one with the little guy, sharing his trials and tribulations, demanding that taxes go up while they, themselves, have high-powered CPAs whose sole purpose in life is to keep their own tax bite to a minimum.
In conclusion, while I’m in the confessional, so to speak, I’ll even admit that I have a few actor friends. They’re not only bright and decent, but they have the courage to be conservatives in a business where that’s regarded as tantamount to walking around with a swastika on your sleeve. But, with those relatively few exceptions, I find most actors, with their proclivity for playing dress-up, to be rather childish.
Still,you can’t entirely blame them for their boorishness. How would you expect an adolescent to behave if you gave him millions of dollars, treated him like royalty, and never really punished him when he misbehaved? And what would you expect to hear come out of his mouth if Diane Sawyer, Larry King, Oprah, and all the other celebrity pimps in the mass media, couldn’t wait to broadcast their drivel to a panting world?
My conclusion is that, as is the case with most children, actors should be seen and not heard.