Friday, September 4, 2009

How are actors like roofers

There are three categories of American workers who generally have just a high school education: Unskilled laborers, tradesmen...and actors. I'd include professional athletes, but many do have a college degree--just without the education that's supposed to go with a degree.

So you'll see an actor who's, say, 30 years old, is a multimillionaire, has traveled the world--and knows about the same as the guy who's working on your roof.

Their education is a fly in amber, fixed forever at what we all knew at the age of 18.

That's why their opinions often sound so ludicrous. Not just politically. Everything. They know a huge amount about the craft of acting, and often a lot about the ancillary professions--hairdressing, lighting, camerawork, etc. But otherwise...well, watch the late night talk shows and you'll see what I mean. Oftentimes it's not expressed in politics so much as in weird personal tics--a fear of flying, or obsessions with something or other, ideas they picked up from the 'Net when they lacked the intellectual tools to sort the solid ideas can I put this nicely...chaff.

With exceptions, of course. For example, Natalie Portman has a BA from Harvard. I'm guessing offhand that people with deep educational or life experience run about 10% of the actors you see on TV and movies.

This is not a swipe at actors' generally liberal leanings. Except that if the left tends to be mindless and the right, heartless, it makes sense that an uneducated empath would lean left.

But when I do find that an actor does have a real education I'm always impressed, and I pay extra attention to those. It's not so much that they turn into Republicans, as that the reasons they give for their beliefs make more sense. Ben Affleck, for example, can hold an intelligent discussion about politics. I doubt Barbra Streisand can.

This problem with education is compounded by situational narcissism--skewed thinking resulting from being surrounded by bootlicking sycophants. That plus the gypsy life of movie actors makes it hard for them to pursue formal education--halfway through the semester your agent calls with a chance to work for Woody Allen on a pic that could win an Oscar. What would you do?

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