Hollywood Eats Its Young

Tara Reid in 2007 in hollywood
Tara Reid in 2007

The other day I read about Lindsay Lohan and her apparently deteriorating… self.   She looks old. She looks worn out.   She looks like crap.

Next I read about Sam Jones III from ER being arrested for playing a major role in a drug ring.   Tomorrow I have no doubt that I will read about another celebrity who has crashed and burned in some spectacular way – all from the comfort of my home and for my viewing pleasure.

Some people wonder why young performers of such privilege throw it all away on such foolishness as promiscuity, drugs or outright stupidity.   I don’t.   Instead, I wonder how any actor (or anyone in Hollywood) avoids it.

We (the press, the public, the industry) heap these people, many of them very young, with praise and money and surround them with sycophants whose only job is to keep them working.   They are told what they want to hear, given what they want to have and indulged as much as any pampered prince or princess.   This doesn’t happen because they are loved – it happens because they are commodities – they supply a lot of people with a lot of money and in truth, most of those hangers-on don’t care what happens to the “celeb of the moment”.   Once they’ve burned out, the users move on to fresh meat and leave the rotting shell of what was once a promising young person to flounder and fail.   That failure fully documented by the new users – the vultures of the paparazzi who live to document and devour the grisly remains.

A lot of these young actors have little if any talent.   Those who do might be lucky and survive the tortures of fame by finding some sort of stable mentor to nurture not only their talent but their souls and lives as well. Those who don’t will probably continue to fall at the mercy of greedy parents and agents and an insatiable public who wants to love them today only so that they can hate them tomorrow.

Lindsay Lohan, Sam Jones III, Britney Spears, Tara Reid —  they’ll all be lucky to live through their own fame.

Robert Downey, Jr. almost didn’t, saved only by his talent and some inner reserve of strength.

Chris Farley, John Belushi and River Phoenix all perished under the glare of Hollywood lights and the pressure to produce.

Hollywood is a meat grinder, made more savage by the minute by the information age. Damned if I’ll be a part of it. You want the dirt? Find it somewhere else – I’d like to remain human.

photo: Robin Wong via Creative Commons

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