Tag Archives: Sean Penn

Broken Celebrities Should Never Become Our Idols

This week my Facebook page and Twitter timeline has been filled with posts of sadness, anger, disappointment and tributes to the late music star, Whitney Houston.  Many spoke of her angelic voice, her tumultuous marriage to pop star Bobby Brown, and her sad struggle with addiction.   For days the news cycle was all Whitney Houston all the time.

All the attention got me to thinking about the culture of celebrity.  Celebrities are the most celebrated among us.  We voraciously consume personal information and photos of our favorite public figures.  We buy tabloid magazines filled with outrageous claims about celebrity baby-mommas and illicit behaviors.  We hang on their every word.  Reporters stick microphones in their faces and ask about the latest political scandal, deficit spending or green energy and stand rapt while people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Sean Penn complain about rich white people, Republicans and oil. We elevate their responses as if these people are the most intelligent in our society.

It is a sad state of affairs when we care more about what Ashton Kutcher thinks about our tax policies than what the harried parents of four kids think about the policies that affect how they will feed and clothe family and put gas in the car on a daily basis…because here’s the thing about celebrities that I don’t think most americans understand – they are broken people.  I don’t mean just a little off, or people who struggle with the ups and downs of life the way we all do.  I mean these are severely broken people.  I’ve been a trained actress for over 20 years. I’ve never reached the level of public success of an Angelina Jolie, but I’ve worked with a lot of different people in my life, some well-known, others not.  I’ve had the opportunity to live and work around actors and entertainers on a full-time basis.  The entertainment industry draws people from all walks of life and all geographical areas, but they all have one thing in common – a crippling insecurity that can only be satiated by public adoration and attention.  Yes, its true. I know it to be true because I have also been a victim of this sad mentality.  These are people who suffer from “holes” in their personalities, caused by tragic childhoods, loss or abuse.  It’s difficult to trust people close to you, so its hard to find validation in a few healthy relationships.  The love and attention of strangers meets the need for validation and intimacy (for a time, anyway) without requiring one to form a real relationship or be vulnerable.  It is an addiction like any other. It feels like the only thing that can keep you from hating yourself the way you do on a regular basis.

Now, imagine being this person with crippling insecurities and self-hatred.  Suddenly you are thrust into the spotlight.  It seems exciting at first; something you’ve always dreamed about.  People hang on your every move, your every word; they rush to fill your every need. No one ever tells you no.  There is always someone there to tell you how great, how wonderful, how intelligent, how attractive you are.  But you still hate yourself.  You still look in the mirror and see imperfections.  You know (feel) you don’t deserve anyone’s love or adoration.  Slowly, all the attention becomes like sharp razor blades.  Each compliment is another cut to your soul, because you know it’s all a lie. You can never live up to this image of perfection that has been created for you.  In your mind you deserve to be hated for being such a fake, and yet people just keep on celebrating you.  Soon it becomes impossible to handle. This is when many celebrities turn to drugs and alcohol to ease the discomfort of life under the microscope.  It’s an attempt to drown out the raging contradictions in the lifestyles they live.  We’ve seen time after time how quickly those chemical comforts spiral out of control.

It seems so glamorous, but it’s actually a very sad life.  Once you start examining the motivations of most entertainers it becomes clear how very broken and empty many of these celebrities are, and yet we place them on a pedestal and aspire to be like them and think like them.  We mourn when they leave us without recognizing just how skewed was their view of the world and themselves.  These are not people we should be getting our political views from, nor our values.  These are just people – lost, broken people who are looking for love and acceptance in quantities large enough to kill the voices of doubt in their heads.

I am as sad as the next person about the loss of Houston.  Her music was a huge part of my childhood and her talent cannot be denied or diminished.  But I hesitate to make her death somehow more important than the loss of anyone else we might care for and love.  She was a broken vessel.  She sought acceptance and found it among her fans, but she never learned to accept herself.   Let’s not ascribe more value to the opinions of the rich and famous than they are worth. Let’s not pretend their lives are worth more than our own. We can thank them for their talent and entertainment, but we should not allow them to lead us in our thoughts and actions.  It’s like driving a car with faulty transmission – the body might look good but under the hood it’s a big old mess and you are likely to break down completely before you reach your final destination.

 

Crossposted at kiradavis.net

When You Wish Upon a Hollywood Star…

In today’s culture, very few stars shine brighter than the ones in Hollywood, but the light that shines from the stars is generally a sickly shade of liberal, and boy do they just love to radiate from their red carpeted soapbox.

Sean Penn can’t seem to open his mouth without spewing some sort of hatred about the right while praising dictators on the left. In fact, it’s almost safe to say that here in America; Hugo Chavez has had no greater friend. The left-most ring of the Hollywood circus also has “documentarian”/activist Michael Moore who tends to make millions off of capitalistic systems then completely denounces and attacks them to make even more money. Lastly, I’d be remiss to leave out our (annoyingly pretty) pal Olivia Wilde who teamed up with MoveOn.org to make a pro Obama video that told it’s viewers that if Republicans won, the future was doomed. Humorously doomed, but doomed nonetheless.

It’s no wonder that when a Hollywood actor does say something even remotely conservative that, we on the patriotic right cling to their words like it’s the last piece of floating flotsam from a sinking ship. We want Hollywood, a very powerful force in media, the economy, and our culture, to represent who we are as a nation, and not denounce it as it has since as a lot of us can remember.

Take for instance the latest statements made by nerd princess and all round Hollywood hottie, Mila Kunis, who said communism was “good in theory, in execution it fails.” She would know, her family experienced the epic failure that communism is firsthand. When those words hit print, an idea was lit within the conservative community that maybe, just maybe, there was hope somewhere in that vast, lib infested, disappointment.

Some would state that it was simply that; one actress’s opinion that just so happened to agree with our conservative beliefs, but it’s a tad more than that. The bigger picture is someone with a golden megaphone spoke our mind to millions that up until then, weren’t listening. See, messages are important but that’s simply the core of it, often times, it’s who delivers the message that really makes it effective.

Do you think Reagan’s speech at the Berlin wall would have been half as effective if it was delivered by Dane Cook? The defense rests.

But Mila, who may or may not have just merely stumbled into our good graces, isn’t the only one touting right wing ideology. Little known for his Conservative opinions is Iron Man himself, (and my favorite actor) Robert Downey Jr.

“I have a really interesting political point of view, and it’s not always something I say too loud at dinner tables here, but you can’t go from a $2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really understand it and come out a liberal. You can’t. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone else, but it was very, very, very educational for me and has informed my proclivities and politics every since.”

His story is that of a Hollywood man that found out through trials, self imposed hardships, and bad mistakes that the liberal mentality just isn’t a valid working model. Will you hear this story on Entertainment Tonight? Probably not. In fact if I were to take a poll amongst conservatives, I’m sure most would likely assume that Downey was likely a liberal…

…and I have a problem with that.

What conservatives nowadays have done is write Hollywood off as a bastion of liberal ideology and a platform where leftist ideas can flourish and find light, and that is a huge mistake, because sadly, we’re right. We’ve given up the silver screen for lost, and somehow have become okay with complaining about it in the background, and we have to change our thinking on this.

As Andrew Breitbart said in his book, Righteous Indignation, “Hollywood is more important than Washington. It can’t be overstated how important this message is: pop culture matters”, and he’s right. Not everyone watches Fox News, CNN, CSPAN, and I think a couple people watch MSNBC, but nearly everyone watches non-news television, or goes to see movies. Messages like these are important and we need to show support for those in Hollywood who believe them.

People like Graham Beckel, who recently starred in the movie (I highly recommend) “Atlas Shrugged” should not be running the conservative fame train solely. Beckel touts his conservatism in spite of the leftist atmosphere he’s surrounded in, but his voice is still small. Sean Penn and Michael Moore are only loud because we’ve practically given them and their like, the stage.

Clinging to the scraps we get from the proverbial table isn’t going to be enough. We need a strong presence in Hollywood, because it’s in Hollywood that our message will flourish by leaps and bounds. Atlas Shrugged was in my opinion, a miracle movie, but that’s a sad fact, not a triumphant get. I say, these types of things need to be commonplace.

I mean honestly, if Penn, Baldwin, and Sarandon are the best that leftist Hollywood has to offer it shouldn’t be too hard to topple their tower anyway.