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Hollywood & Politics: Then & Now
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Politics of "Celebrity" Free SpeechViews: 961
Apr 11, 2007 9:45 pmPolitics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Like everyone else not under a rock the last week or so, I've heard about Don Imus. I never liked him before & I like him even less now. Someone on Ryze said what comes out of one's mouth is what's in one's heart. I wholeheartedly agree. The majority of us wouldn't conceive of saying what Imus said. We don't talk that way. We don't think that way. The two go together.

Still, there IS an underlying issue that bothers me more. It's the way everyone reacts. We wouldn't have an issue in the 1st place if there weren't people w/such ugliness in their hearts. So why is it that we can't agree it's wrong? It is wrong. How is it that there are so many variations on how/why it's wrong? The Greaseman was fired a few years back for a similar issue. Howard Stern got canned for something not too different. Another shock-jock team was nailed for something that insulted the Catholic Church. All these guys are back on the air now, so what good did it really do to fire them?

The ONLY reason there is any nat'l outcry is because of money. Bottom line. It's the pocketbook. That's not to downplay the genuine emotional pain such commentary causes. It's to say that action isn't usually taken unless someone's pockets are in danger of losing green stuff, lots of green stuff. That's the really sad part.

When are we gonna stop being mean to each other? I'm bothered because I live in a world where other s'posedly "real people" hurt others just for the sake of their own bottom dollar . . . which equates thru popularity & promotion. All of it makes money.

If we're a public person we have greater responsibility whether it's Hollywood or Washington--or anywhere in between w/the power of a microphone. We've become a society that lives on shock value. Is Don Imus a "good person" as he continues to tell us? A "good person" that said a bad thing? Welp, he definitely said a bad thing. Only he & his God can look into his heart & see how good a person he really is. That's what he should be worried about. His heart is in need of overall repair. If he is a good person, he'll learn from this & STOP DOING IT.

He tosses the term "ho" around like it means absotively nothing. He even calls his wife that & she's a young, strikingly beautiful, educated speaker & author. He insults people for a living. He, or someone for him, writes this stuff ON PURPOSE. Why is everyone surprised he singled out women & blacks? He's done it before. Why is this time different?

it's not necessarily what he said. If there's to be a set of standards put out, let's stamp those standards on every public persona out there. I don't care if they're ig'nern't whites, rappin' blacks, or Carlos Mencia's "beaners" (his term, not mine). What Imus did is certainly no better but not a whole heckuva lot worse than what we hear in some of our music of today, or sometimes on cable TV. I can't in any way be certain--because obviously I'm quite a white woman to look at me--but I don't see how any black woman would appreciate being called some of the terms put out in rap (or other) music of today any more than they want to be called what Don Imus called the entire Rutgers basketball team, 2 of which are white.

If I had my druthers, I'd fire them all. I'd wipe out the entire "shock jock" industry, the "shock" music industry, & slap around a few TV execs. It's not a culture thing. It's rude. It's mean. It's hurtful. Period. However, according to the Constitution we have set up in this country, that would actually be censorship. Another question: why is it censorship when it's a public media figure, but it would be considered totally acceptable for, say, a corporate exec to fire an employee who would slander another employee in the same way?

We have to look to our own hearts. That's where this all comes from. That includes me, you . . . & Don Imus. How many enjoy his program every day, or that of Howard Stern? Or listen & groove to deameaning music? Or watch TV shows & movies w/characters that show women to be bobble-headed dingbats? Or even see what might seem to be an uneducated white man on a roadside & w/o any knowledge of who he is or where he's from, automatically nail him as a dumb redneck?

Situations are different. The concept is the same. the problem is bigger than Don Imus ever has been or ever will be. I'm curious about what y'all think. Obviously this is an issue making the rounds.


Blessings -- Linda



www.lindajalexander.net ** www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander
HOLLYWOOD & POLITICS - http://hollywoodpolitics-network.ryze.com/
http://www.talk2bev.com/valentine/linda_alexander_maryland.htm
Bev Mahone's '07 Valentine's Contest Essay Top 5 Winner!

Private Reply to Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Apr 13, 2007 2:52 pmre: Politics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Frederick A. Babb
I have to admit, up until this week, I never knew who Don Imus was (ok, living in Spain does have its benefits of not having to be exposed to such entertainment). But, maybe that permitted me to look at this without any prejudice of his past performances.

What I have decided from researching. Imus likes to be degrading, harsh, it short...the king shock jock. So, in saying that what comes out of the mouth is what is felt in the heart, I would offer an argument to that.

Is Imus really the badboy he portrays on the radio, or is the badboy on the radio being portrayed by him? Is he a politically incorrect man who doesn’t give a damn about what people think nor does he have to be always looking for someway to keep his listeners engaged?

Above all, Imus is a paid performer and, as with all performers, you have to deliver to your audience if you want to keep a job. So, now, can anyone say that while Imus made a bad decision on his words, his behavior wasn’t exactly shocking? Research indicates that the listeners expected (maybe to a lower level of political incorrectness) this type of behavior from Imus and that is why they listened to him. And, with the ever increasing world of “shock jocks” out there, how does one make themselves marketable? They do so by “outdoing” the other shock jocks.

Somehow, despite losing his job, I have a strange suspicion that Imus won’t be collecting unemployment benefits for long. Publicity, even negative, is a good thing in the world of entertainment.

So, in a sense, I agree with Linda. However, what I do find disturbing is that a group of shock jocks are so successful. That reflects on the mentality of the listening public in YourTown, USA. If there weren’t a demand for such shock jocks, they wouldn’t be on the air. The problem isn’t Imus or Stern or any other shock jock. The problem is in the hearts of those that continue to listen to them and create the demand to keep them gainfully employed.

Private Reply to Frederick A. Babb

Apr 13, 2007 4:05 pmre: re: Politics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Fred:

I think we agree w/different words, really. You put it very well when you said what's disturbing is WHY this sort of "entertainment" is considered, well, entertaining.

Still, the personality that takes to that sort of job is an interesting animal. I've done a lot of "celebrity" interviews, folks who make their living pretending to be someone else in some capacity. Whether it was TV, films, music, or even broadcast radio, I found to a large degree the person behind the "persona" was often to be much the same persona in front of it. That's not to say an actor who can well portray a cold-blooded killer IS a cold-blooded killer. It just means that someone who can dig deep enough to pull that out & play the part has something in him/her that understands it, &/or maybe even sympathizes w/the part in some way.

GLORINDA: What say you?!

Example: We've a radio duo in the Washington, DC area that became nationally-syndicated years ago. Don & Mike are an irreverant team, often abrasive & insulting. They can be funny & there's the brief, occasional glimpse of "good person" that shines thru but for the most part, they're boorish clods.

My ex- used to listen to them. This was well over 20 yrs ago. I did local personality interviews then & was always amazed at Don's classy, sweet, kind-hearted wife who'd occasionally be heard buffering his outlandish comments on womankind around the world. I couldn't understand how a woman like her could be married to man who made a living being so cheap-mouthed.

So I interviewed her. She was the sweet woman she made herself out to be & readily admitted that her husband was, most often, the more basic soul he showed to his radio listeners. She did share, though, that he had a side he didn't show--& that was what kept their marriage together for 20 or so years. Sadly, Freda, his wife, died in a car crash a few years ago . . . & that was the 1st & only time Don's listeners ever saw what could've been a really nice-hearted man.

I guess the bottom line is that even if Imus has that softer inside it doesn't matter because he shows the world something different. As soon as he's willing to take a paycheck for work that demeans other people--intentionally & the "script" of which is often prepared ahead of time--his "good person" inside becomes irrelevant. He's willing to take a hefty salary & a lot of public acclaim based on his "bad boy" commentary & that's what he has made of himself. In other words, he has no one else to blame.

If anyone's interested, here are a few of my interviews w/Freda, "Don Geronimo's" wife:

http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.asp?id=18700

http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.asp?id=18824


Blessings -- Linda

www.lindajalexander.net ** www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander
HOLLYWOOD & POLITICS - http://hollywoodpolitics-network.ryze.com/
http://www.talk2bev.com/valentine/linda_alexander_maryland.htm
Bev Mahone's '07 Valentine's Contest Essay Top 5 Winner!

Private Reply to Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Apr 13, 2007 5:46 pmre: re: re: Politics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Glorinda Marie
Hi Linda,
I totally agree with you. While I am a firm believer in freedom of speech I agree that what a person says reflects what they really think. So, while I feel Imus has a right to express himself (even though what he says is nasty and i do not agree with his thoughts), it also shows what kind of person he really is and he has the american right to express himself. Yech. It is up to the public and his fans whether his career is supported or not. To each their own though. Our differences make the world a more colorful place but with that said, I also do believe celebrities have a moral duty to be a good role model.

RE: Actors - It's true you always have to use a piece of yourself in each character you create. In comedy I am cast as what is known as 'the loveable loser' - this character wears their heart on their sleeve, has a certain vulnerability and keeps optimistic no matter what the obstacles are. Think Lucille Ball in "I Love Lucy"! This kind of character is closest to the real me. I'm kind of an eternal child.

But, sometimes i am asked to play characters that are further removed from myself. For example - I am far from a killer but I have played the Kathy Bates role in "Misery". To tap into this character I discovered what I used inside of myself was my own love intensity. Granted her love expresses itself in a disturbinbg way in this character, but I discovered this character's drive was actually love based. I probably would not be hired to play a nasty mean spirited killer - there is a sweetness and vulnerability in me that I can not completely hide. But, that normaslcy or sweetness can actually make the 'killer' even more scary. So it can and did work. My class mates actually gave me a standing ovation when I played this role. I loved it!

Sometimes I am asked to play a bitchy controlling type of woman. This is far from my real persona too. In this kind of case I think of a really ballsy type of in charge woman in my life. Now, I do personally have some leadership skills to draw upon within myself. But to really make this type of character stronger than myself, I draw upon other people in my life - like my mom! She was called "little Hitler" in her day. I actually told her that I use her qualities in this way and she loves it!
;-)
Once, I had to play an obsessive compulsive character which although i have some tendencies here, I have a friend who embodies this character perfectly. She could not live without her purell and she opens all doors with her sleeve! I thought about her idiosynchrosies and why she is the way she is and used some of her psychology to embody this character. It was fun to play.

As a character actor with a wide range that extends your own personality, you have to draw upon psychology. I actually started out as a psychology major in college and it has really come in handy when playing various characters!

You, as an actor, can never hate your character. You may not agree with all their choices - but you MUST debelop a certain empathy in order to play them. You must beleive you are right. No one in life thinks they are crazy or wrong. So to portray a real character you have to find a way to justify them in your own mind. That is why I like the example of the "Misery' character. I'd never hobble anyone - don't have a violent bone in my body - but what I can tap into is the need to be loved. I feel this characters need to be loved is so strong she goes to enormous extremes to get it. But the core is LOVE and to that I can relate!

if I have to play a character who has completely opposite values than myself, I would tap into my own convictions and tap into the strength of my own truths. Then I would substitute that strength to the characters beleifs. I would create a back story or character history that would lead that person to believe the way they do. So, I may never agree with them as a person in reality - but i have to believe the righteousness of their truths while I play that character.

I feel so blessed to be an actress. it is my passion and i feel it can actually allow me to be many people in one lifetime which I believe evolves my soul. It's kind of a spirtual thing for me.

Anyway, when I am interviewed as myself, of course more of the real me comes out. I hope as my celebrity grows that I will provide an inspirational and good role model for others Bbeing human I may be misunderstood or say the wrong thing at times but I will do my best to be more thoughtful about self expression.

Thank God we are not all the same. Our differences expand our minds and help us to grow in our lifetime. We are all here on this planet to grow and evolve - so be it!

(((hugs)))
Glorinda

Glorinda Marie
http://www.glorinda.com

Private Reply to Glorinda Marie

Apr 13, 2007 5:59 pmre: re: Politics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Glorinda Marie
Amen!!!
;-)
Glorinda

Private Reply to Glorinda Marie

Apr 13, 2007 6:24 pmre: re: re: re: Politics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Glorinda:

Thx for those insights. I'm always fascinated by a performer's motivations. That could be why the Imus thing intrigues me beyond the intrinsic wrongness of his words. It's the inherent "who he is" that pulls me in.

What you said reminded me again of an interview I did w/Michael Zaslow, who played "Roger" on The Guiding Light. He was a hard man, unfriendly, unbending but he was wildly passionate & I was able to pull that out of him thru a few well-placed words about him as a man.

The character he played was an evil man but as Michael called him, he was a "heart that bleeds," ie, Michael's passion-heart. He said the same thing you did about an actor never seeing his character as a bad guy. You couldn't do it well if you did. This would also refer back to Don Imus, though. He's playing a "character" & can't intuitively see that as a negative or else he couldn't be as convincing as he is.

You clarified what I meant about an actor's inherent nature. Maybe that's why "typecasting" happens. When an actor is good she can play any part by digging deep into emotions she's had or seen or understood. But why are some actors seemingly always playing the same type character, only w/different names? Isn't it because that's the core of who they are as a person? You can be anyone because you're a good actor but you have those types you're most often cast in, likely because that's the person people see in you most often, ie, as you put it, "the eternal child."

What I've seen of your work, & what I sense thru your notes, is a very genuine, very sweet-hearted soul. Deep.

Fascinating stuff to me. Always has intrigued me!


Blessings -- Linda

www.lindajalexander.net ** www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander
HOLLYWOOD & POLITICS - http://hollywoodpolitics-network.ryze.com/
http://www.talk2bev.com/valentine/linda_alexander_maryland.htm
Bev Mahone's '07 Valentine's Contest Essay Top 5 Winner!

Private Reply to Linda J. Alexander http://www.lindajalexander.net

Apr 13, 2007 8:46 pmre: re: re: re: re: Politics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Christina Daly
Hi Glorinda,

I'm FAR from an actress but have performed during my day. I played Ann Putnam once from Miller's "The Crucible". This woman was a bitchy, self righteous, busy body. As this wasn't my personality I drew from my Mother, "she who must be obeyed." The audience was amazed at how I was able to portray this character (all my Mother said after she saw me perform was "what refined bone structure you have, dear"...urgh). There are certain people that are easier to pull from. I could no sooner play a rock star than jump over the moon; unless they wanted it to look like knee slappin' comedy!

WRT Iman. I know he has raised money for charity and uses his ranch to help out people with terminal illnesses. I also know he's called his own wife a "green ho." When questioned about this, she said her husband was a complex person and that the "ho" speaking character was pure entertainment. A performance. I suppose he is the original shock jock entertainer. I've never been able to listen to these guys because, quite frankly, I find them repulsive. I am wondering what is really behind the massive media play here? I'm glad he was called on it, but do you suppose there was another agenda?

Christina Daly

Private Reply to Christina Daly

Apr 13, 2007 11:01 pmPolitics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Glorinda Marie
Christina,
You crack me up. Do we have the same mother?
;-)
A week or so ago there was a 250 acre fire burning out of control and came within 3 feet of my apartment building. The tennants were all evacuated for some time time until the fire was contained several hours later. It took 2 days to put the darn thing out!. Right before the fire broke out I had taken some meds due to my recent unexpected surgery and was about to lie down to nap when I heard the frantic helicopters overhead and the fire alarm went off.

Later when I called my mom to let her know that I was ok - she asked me genuinely, "So,did you get on the treadmill today?" I half heartedly laughed - "You can't be serious mom." She repeated "Yes, I am - did you get on the treadmill today". I answered politely, "No". She responded "Oh, well i suppose you did not do your laundry either".

Ahhh - yes - as actors we have much fodder to build upon or should I say - mudder?

wah wah wahhh

Glorinda

Private Reply to Glorinda Marie

Apr 14, 2007 5:53 amre: Politics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Christina Daly
My my Glorinda. Our Mothers could be soul mates! I wonder if it's a generational thing. My ex-husband has an equally good Mother story. He was a popular guy in high school so they had many visitors visitors in their home. Well, one night my Ex came home with an outrageously drunk buddy. He proceeded to pass out on their front lawn. His Mother, being concerned about his friend's health, covered him with a blanket, put a pillow under his head and left a tooth brush next to him. Just think what the neighbors had to say about THIS the next morning. Oy Vey!

Christina Daly

Private Reply to Christina Daly

Apr 14, 2007 2:24 pmre: re: Politics of "Celebrity" Free Speech#

Glorinda Marie
Geez Christina,
In a sick way, that's kind of a nice story.
My mom would have called the police on my friend and grounded me for 2 months plus beat the shit out of me.
;-)
Glorinda

Private Reply to Glorinda Marie

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