Note from sender:
Several years back I heard a teacher explain the origins of the
"Hollywood." It seems that years ago, or possibly currently, those
who practiced witchcraft & casting spells would only use a wand made
from the Holly tree, hence Hollywood was named. Think about that as
you read and contemplate the article.
The perspective in this editorial is worth taking a minute to read and
Subject: Take the time to read it. It's a good
explanation of America today.
The Academy Awards: When court jesters become kings
Arguably, the biggest problem in American culture
today is the fact that mere entertainers are its
heroes. There is no precedent in any civilization in
the history of the world for entertainers
"actors, singers, dancers and directors " to be
elevated to the highest positions of prominence in
the culture. That's why none of us can name actors
and actresses from ancient Greece or Rome. They
weren't important enough to be remembered.
Sure, we can name the playwrights and we can name
the satirists. We can name the politicians, the
philosophers and the generals. Because literary,
academic, political and military figures were always
the personalities who dominated the cultural
landscape. Whatever you thought of these pursuits
â?" and many of the ancient conquerors were highly
immoral men â?" their pursuits were at least
But entertainment? Lighthearted merriment? That's
what you did in your spare time, when you needed a
break from the serious things. Prior to the rise of
American popular culture, entertainers could never
even dream of being the most important members of a
society, engaged as they were in a frivolous
past-time that helped the folks escape their solemn
responsibilities for a short time.
In our time, however, the incredible has happened.
The court jester has become the king. Those who play
the heroes have become the culture's actual heroes.
Those who direct fantasy movies are directing the
direction of our youth. And with entertainers as the
principal people we look up to, so much of our
society has become silly and trivial.
This is exactly what was going through my mind as I
watched the narcissism of the Academy Awards. In
America today, there exists not a single mainstream
televised awards ceremony for anything other than
movies, television, acting and music. Even when
brave soldiers are awarded the Congressional Medal
of Honor for gallantry, it is not broadcast on
When the president awards the Presidential Medal of
Freedom to our leading thinkers, writers and civil
servants, it is watched by 10 people on C-SPAN. But
the awards for best actor and best actress are
followed closely by hundreds of millions who take
such nonsense quite seriously. That's a major change
for a country whose only actor to become an
historical figure, prior to the age of Hollywood,
was John Wilkes Booth.
The consequences for the elevation of people who
perform inconsequential tasks to the center of
national attention are enormous. Even if our
Hollywood celebrities were not the most damaged
people in our society â?" drugged up, divorced, with
even their kids in rehab â?" the results would still
be tragic. By making fashion models our role models,
Hollywood heroines our heroes, and singers into
saints, we have created a shallow and vain society,
distinguished not by sacrifice, but by indulgence.
We have created a culture known not for virtue, but
for vanity. And our country is becoming not more
dedicated, but decadent.
American kids today, for the most part, don't want
to be doctors. They want to be directors. They don't
want to be rabbis, but rock stars. They don't wish
to be soldiers, but superstars. And then we wonder
why American kids are so messed up.
To gauge the effect of entertainers being at the
epicenter of a national consciousness, just imagine
if it were to happen in the life of a single
individual. What if entertainment, rather than
scholarship, were the foremost preoccupation of a
medical student. Instead of working at a library and
attending lectures for eights hours each day, our
student watched eight hours of television and DVDs
each day. Would you trust him with your kidney?
And now you begin to understand why so many people
around the world think we Americans are so stupid
and shallow. It's not because of Bush. It's because
of Hollywood. The very nature of entertainment is
that it is something you do in your spare time.
Entertainment is designed to be on the periphery,
never at the center of national endeavor. Performers
dare not replace professors, cinematographers dare
not replace soldiers, and comedians dare not
supplant cardiologists as a country's most lionized
The future of the United States is not threatened by
any existing foreign power. Less so is it threatened
by any terrorist. Terrorists can harm us, but they
can never defeat us. The only thing that can
threaten the continuity of this great country is if
it collapses from the inside. If its foundations
become so eroded, its pillars so brittle, that its
national edifice falls victim to the forces of
If our nation is built of the marvelous marble of
the Greek Parthenon or the Roman Pantheon, or the
solid stone of Jerusalem's Western Wall, it will
last for many centuries, and perhaps millennia, to
come. But if it is built of the flimflam material of
a mere Hollywood soundstage, a movie set facade that
is all glitz with no substance, it will, God forbid,
crumble before our very eyes.