Are Performers Stupid?

Are actors and actresses stupid?

Are performers dumber than normal people?

Like most people, I just assume this is so, because actors tend to say stupid things when not following a script. The actress Meryl Streep took to the stage at some awards show to say Donald Trump gave her the sads. I’ve watched it a few times trying to figure out what it is she was trying to communicate. Streep is a great actress so it was well choreographed, but it contained nothing more than some hyperventilating about imagined bogeymen. My take away from watching it is that Mx. Streep is not spending her free time working math puzzles.

Even more obvious examples were on display at the Waddle in Washington this past weekend. Ashley Judd went on a deranged rant that suggested she needs to be in a nervous hospital again. Madonna of all people was carrying on about respecting women and committing acts of treason. Madonna, like all other performers, degrades herself for a living. Other than being a cautionary tale, she should stay out of any discussion about respecting women. Yet, this was lost on her and her fellow performers.

That brings us back to the original question. Is Madonna stupid? Judd apparently has had a lot of mental problems, but Madonna and Streep have no history of mental illness. Short of handing out IQ tests, there’s no way to know if performers are unusually stupid, but perhaps there are other cognitive traits that performers have in abundance that present as a low IQ when displayed outside the narrow realm of the stage. Quants are super smart, but lack social skills, so they are often assumed to be retarded.

The first thing that springs to mind is that you need a near total absence of self-respect to be a performer. It is, at best, a degrading way to make a living. Anyone who has stood in front of a crowd to give a speech knows it is not as easy as it looks. Imagine standing in front of cameras, pretending to be someone else, while a crowd of people watch you play make believe. Often times, the job requires the performer to make a fool of themselves or do degrading things for the amusement of the crowd. Most people will not do it.

Even if you put limits on how much you will degrade yourself in public in order to be a performer, it is a humiliating road to success. Even the greatest thespians started out as complete hacks, often being laughed at and yelled at for being dreadful on stage. Movie and TV people get their start in terrible shows or making commercials for things like hemorrhoid cream. Then there is the casting couch, which is a feature of the business for both sexes. Male actors spend their youth biting a pillow or something else.

There’s something else that is universal to being a performer and that is a near total inability to judge risk. About one tenth of one percent of people who go into show business end up with a productive career as a performer. Most struggle for years and drop out or go into some other part of the business. New York and Los Angeles restaurants are famously staffed with the next big stars of stage and screen. Going into show business is about as logical as spending your life savings on lottery tickets.

This is probably why performers have money woes and tax problems. Just google actors and tax problems and you get half a million hits. People who are terrible with risk assessment are probably never going to be very good with their money, no matter how much they make. Nicholas Cage has probably earned half a billion dollars in his career and he is broke. People with any sense of risk assessment will not waste their life chasing a dream that is unlikely to materialize, but that’s what it takes to be a star.

Of course, the big key for any performer is their ability to draw attention to themselves over the others, who are also good at getting attention. The world is full of pretty blondes, who know their way around a penis. In order to gain the attention the star makers, you better be really good at standing out in a crowd of beautiful people with the same dream as you. This is why famous performers often have some weird tick or skill. Samuel L. Jackson got famous because he is a living satire of the militant black man.

There’s something else. Performers are much more likely to make it when young than old and young is defined as teens and 20’s. It’s why so many of the top starts are people who literally grew up in the business. Their parents were in the business in some capacity. This means that the typical star is someone who has had little exposure to the world outside acting. Even those who left home and went to Hollywood to become stars as young adults have had little experience with the normal world.

Most Americans have never been to Africa so they only know about the place from books and television. As a result, Americans talking about Africa sound like morons to people who have lived in Africa. This is the problem for performers. They talk about America as if it is a foreign country to them. That’s because it often is a foreign country. How much does Meryl Streep know about America at this stage of her life? She has been cooped up in a museum for decades. Death row inmates have a better feel for America than actors.

That brings us back to where we started. Are performers stupid? The safest answer is yes, they are very stupid. Being stupid makes it easy to not notice the long odds of being a performer. Being stupid lets these people avoid thinking about the moral dilemmas that are inevitable in the business. Those who are not stupid are so divorced from reality that they can no longer apply their intelligence to the normal world as it has become a foreign place for them. This means that most of the stars are both stupid and ignorant, which is why they so often sound like drooling idiots when speaking off-the-cuff.

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nil
nil
3 years ago

In the ancient world actors and other entertainers had the same social status as beggars or slaves. Not hard to see why.

Member
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

On the other hand, let us not pretend that the disdain some folks have for performers is fueled by envy. To deny that, is to deny human nature.

Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon
Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

i bet there isn’t one person working in hollywood that doesn’t have herpes pouring out every orifice in their bodies.

Member
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Sure, there are lots of folks who will accord far more props to a celebrity than a friend or family member. That is also human nature.

Two questions for you:

(1) Do you concede that there may be some exceptions to your overall assessment of the brainpower of performers?

(2) Do you include Reagan and Trump?

kokor hekkus
kokor hekkus
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

James Woods, who went to MIT, is in the top .01% for intelligence, as his SAT scores show.

kokor hekkus
kokor hekkus
Reply to  kokor hekkus
3 years ago

Other actors known to be extremely smart: Tommy Lee Jones, James Franco, David Duchovny…..

Jamesg
Jamesg
Reply to  kokor hekkus
3 years ago

Geena Davis was in Mensa

FaCubeItches
FaCubeItches
Reply to  kokor hekkus
3 years ago

Don’t forget Dolph Lundgren and the girl from the Wonder Years

Marina
Marina
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Stage actors are less stupid than film ones, because it takes a certain amount of brains to memorize a full play role and then do it 7 times a week for months on end. They also tend to be more “together” in general because there’s a limit to how dissolute you can be and show up and function on stage in front of a live audience nightly. This is why there are so many Brits doing the arty and highbrow movies in Hollywood. British drama schools won’t take anyone that can’t do Shakespeare on stage.

Craig Austin
Craig Austin
Member
Reply to  kokor hekkus
3 years ago

Woods is balanced by Leonardo, he is a high school drop out, currently trying to teach climate science, he is a handsome devil.

MSO
MSO
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Hedy Lamarr invented a jamming proof frequency hopping communications system for torpedoes during WWII.

She and George Antheil designed and patented a frequency hopping spread spectrum radio system that was adopted by the US Navy in the 60s.

coyote
coyote
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

social status gets reproductive rights- visual stimuli is the most powerful, followed by auditory, etc. movies and television have captured the baboon troops attention with faux alpha males and females. signalling what the alphas are upto gets the fux from the other pretenders. “entertainment” provides a virtual world for those who no longer have a tribe/ troop to be part of. too little space here to expand on.

Jamesg
Jamesg
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Supposedly in the early 1960s Jimmy Stewart’s assistant was turned down when he telephoned for a reservation at a 5-star Madrid hotel. Stewart told him try again using General Stewart and that worked. (He was a US Air Force general, inactive at the time.)

James LePore
Member
3 years ago

There’s also the matter of class, which very few of them have. No class and stupid are often found in one “celebrity,” Chelsea Handler for example: http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/01/23/chelsea-handler-wont-interview-melania-trump-can-barely-speak-english/

thor47
thor47
Reply to  James LePore
3 years ago

And who is Chelsea Handler that I would care about her thought on anything? Did God go on vacation and leave her in charge?

James LePore
Member
Reply to  thor47
3 years ago

She’s one of the celebrities that this post is about. She regularly reaches and presumably influences millions of people.

thor47
thor47
Reply to  James LePore
3 years ago

Yes, I understand that. The question was rhetorical. After all, I’m here reading zman’s blog, not Chelsea Handler’s. 😉

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
Reply to  James LePore
3 years ago

I must really be lost. I have never heard of this Chelsea.

In Voice
In Voice
Reply to  LetsPlay
3 years ago

I’ve only seen the name in headlines recently. I assumed it was someone paid to manage Chelsea Clinton and try to keep her from making a fool of herself.

Anchises
Anchises
3 years ago

On Hollywood’s intelligence level generally (not just actors), recall Herman J. Mankiewicz’s famous telegram to Ben Hecht: “Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don’t let this get around.”

Dr. Mabuse
3 years ago

Doctor Johnson’s definition of an actor: “A fellow who exhibits himself for a shilling.” I think the whole concept of entertainment “stars” is an antique holdover from the big studio era of movie-making. The studios created the stars, and carefully cultivated their images. “Singing in the Rain” is partly a satire of the way stars were cocooned to keep them from exposing themselves as obnoxious airheads. Nothing but the most elegant behavior and proper sentiments were fed to the press, so that people could believe their beloved stars were also thoughtful, gracious people. The studio system finally broke down in… Read more »

Ganderson
Ganderson
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Bryan Cranston, AKA Dr. Tim Watley, wasn’t a star, but he was at least an “Oh, THAT guy!” before Breaking Bad. Same with Jonathan Banks and Bob Odenkirk.

james wilson
james wilson
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

The poor financial habits you are speaking of are a marriage of a constant, the worst elements of actor DNA, being unbound in modern times. Performers of an earlier era often came out of true poverty and actual economic depression. Some were famous for holding onto every dollar. When W. C, Fields decided to test his fortune in Hollywood he took the 300K he’d saved from his stage work in New York, pinned it inside the lining of his greatcoat, and took the train to Hollywood. Others were obsessive and excellent investors, like Hope and Crosby. No doubt in my… Read more »

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
Reply to  james wilson
3 years ago

Hollywood also provides the current crop of coddled stars with their own brand of welfare. When these actors need some money, well, they call their friends, get a script and make a movie together, ala, The Expendables, or a cast of Used to Be’s. Still makes for some good action but for box office draw, they have to pool their collective brands to make it a hit. It really is funny and sad to see all these “old” guys getting together and making jokes, in the movie itself, about the old days!

Ganderson
Ganderson
Reply to  LetsPlay
3 years ago

I have heard that James Garner used the Rockford Files (one of the all time great shows, IMHO) as an employment agency for his pals.

notsothoreau
notsothoreau
Reply to  james wilson
3 years ago

Fields was much more obsessive than that. He opened bank accounts in most of the towns he went to. There’s no telling how much money he stashed and forgot about.

That could be part of the problem here. Actors used to realize that the fans were responsible for their lifestyle. They seem to have forgotten that these days.

Rurik
Member
Reply to  james wilson
3 years ago

Of course, when you are a “Star” you have to look and comport yourself like a “Star”, hair and dress, wheels, and shoes, just so. Lots of bling and accessories, and that takes money. Every day you stick your head out your front door you are on public display. This must affect both attitude and economics.

Ganderson
Ganderson
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

A possibly apocryphal or stolen story: a friend of a friend is friendly (whew!) with Wayne Knight. When out to dinner one evening this FOAF, in response to the seemingly hundreds of people who came to the table and bellowed “Hello, Newman,” and then laughed hysterically, asked- “don’t you get sick of this?” Knight supposedly answered something like “yeah, but in ten years when I’m sitting in a doorway drinking Drano it won’t seem so bad.”

alzaebo
alzaebo
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Before Reagan became head of the union and won residuals for performers, it was different.
Ma and Da were thoroughly blue collar and bought a trailer park. Actors were their most common tenants, such as Ed Asner and the dad from Beverly Hillbillys. (Brain lock, cant remember the name. Buddy…?)

We were accepted (a regular family) for a TV show called “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies”.
Everybody in this town has an industry story.

alzaebo
alzaebo
Reply to  alzaebo
3 years ago

Oh damm, did I just set myself up or what.
Z must be correct.
(C’mon, I was 1 year old, sheesh!)

MMinLamesa
MMinLamesa
Reply to  Ganderson
3 years ago

Very disappointing to see Odenkirk in one of those change the Electoral College vote videos. Until then I had no idea he was a looney Regressive.

notsothoreau
notsothoreau
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

I’m working my way back through Babylon 5. They used a number of Yugoslavian actors. There is a global pool of actors we can use. Maybe the American actors might change their minds about globalism, if they have to compete.

The entire culture is dumbed down. Witness the article in The Atlantic where they call Kasich the governor of Indiana.

Lawrence
Lawrence
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Hollywood product, like much of American industry has been globalized. I think 95% of all TV and movie programming is designed to impress fellow professionals, the government, and other countries. They have ignored us for so long, I don’t think they understand us at all. I work in radio. Ever since the Clintons allowed Wall Street to gobble up all the stations they could in 1996, jobs have been sheared (although the stations serving the illegal alien market are doing well), debt is up, and local content is gone. It will collapse soon because digital equipment has lowered the barrier… Read more »

Jim from Boston
Jim from Boston
Reply to  Dr. Mabuse
3 years ago

Probably well over 90% of what we now see in movies and on TV shows is ‘faked’, as different shots and a background are mashed together electronically in what we view. This practice is much more apparent nowadays with the advent of high-definition screens.

Actors think that their computer-generated alt-reality IS reality, and that imagery is all that matters.

thor47
thor47
3 years ago

Why are the best actors and actresses so good? My take is that because, at the very bottom, where you and I are someone, they are not. They have no basic personality; they are not really anybody. So they can become whatever the character is required to be on film or on stage. Being stupid goes long with this. As for Madonna, she has been mentally ill from day one. We would only have questions about her if she started showing signs of normalcy.

Drake
Drake
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Yes – I give them no more credit than a Powerball Winner. Dumb enough to play, and lucky enough to win.

thor47
thor47
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

That works.

Brian-guy
Brian-guy
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

I’ve always kind of thought Streep’s success came from being “cocooned in her museum”. You know, like the crazy cat lady in that old 2 story “haunted” who never ventures outside but when she does she’s got everyone’s attention?? By avoiding any sort of OVER exposure to the tabloids and to the public she gives folks a bigger bang for their buck. Not any of my $ but I’m guessing that is how Streep has played it. And us.

Kathy
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Some wise blogger (can’t remember who — maybe Bookworm?) wrote a rather psychoanalytic piece some time ago connecting the huge role of luck in the star-making process with film and music stars’ constant spouting off on political issues. The upshot was that deep down, all these superstars KNOW that it was mere luck that elevated them over thousands of other equally talented people. And that subconscious GUILT over their good fortune propels them into the “social justice” wars — as if speaking up for the “oppressed” or “the Earth” or whatever will atone for their being very, very, VERY privileged.

Estoy Listo
Estoy Listo
Reply to  Kathy
3 years ago

That could very well be, though the opposite could be true too: “Stars” may feel destined for their well-deserved fame, and feel justified in speaking from on high. Either way it feels like pathological attention seeking

Member
3 years ago

Once again you drill down to the heart of the matter, and give me my morning laugh. Well done, ZMan!

Harvey
Harvey
3 years ago

I would agree with everything said. Unfortunately, that doesn’t bode well for movie stars making the jump to politics….

Rurik
Member
Reply to  Harvey
3 years ago

Everyone wants to be someone, even when they are not, Probably most of all when they are nobody.

Tim
Tim
Member
3 years ago

What’s odd is why people like Streep don’t hire writers to trail along after them in real life and feed them their lines. Hollywood writers are cheap, 500 in a roll. People like Streep are rich….hire a roll of writers and appear smart.
Tim

alzaebo
alzaebo
Reply to  Tim
3 years ago

There’s a science fiction story in that idea.

A.T. Tapman
A.T. Tapman
Member
Reply to  Tim
3 years ago

I recall how hard I laughed when Barbra (the beak) Streisand rolled out her personal “Foreign Policy Adviser” Upon what meat does she sup?

Doug
Doug
3 years ago

Stupid? Ya the kind of psychotic stupid you can’t fix. They are legends not only on the screen but in their own minds. Narcissism has to be a component of their sociopathic tendencies. Legends in their own minds as living myths built on a foundation of disingenuousness and moral perversion as an admirable attribute within their make believe world. After all, they are actors. It is a self appreciation club, where the customers who provide their mind blowing income are the enemy. Like the political class, no different, it is oligarchy and your not invited, but your paying for it.… Read more »

Drake
Drake
3 years ago

There is another problem with performers. Most have never been what we would call “middle class” a single day in their lives. They start out poor – playing gigs at bars or waiting tables to earn enough to eat. Then, the lucky and talented <1% get a big break and rocket to the top. Suddenly that dirt poor idiot is a now a millionaire idiot. S/he never spent years working towards a promotion, saving for a car, paying a mortgage, trying to balance work and family, etc… They skipped it all. The idea of such a person lecturing me on… Read more »

Member
Reply to  Drake
3 years ago

How about the likes of James Woods?

Kris Kristofferson?

Dolph Lundgren?

Jodie Foster?

Upon what basis would any person capable of ratiocinating deem the above to be idiots or stupid?

Drake
Drake
Reply to  Libertymike
3 years ago

My main point was that most of them have not experienced anything like middle class life as adults. There are of course exceptions to that observation and some exceptions who are not stupid.

Kris Kristofferson is most certainly an exception on both counts as he was an Army Officer and helicopter pilot (where stupidity = death) before pursuing a music career.

kokor hekkus
kokor hekkus
3 years ago

Based on my experiences, I would say that successful performers are of reasonable intelligence, with an occasional James Woods, who is extremely intelligent. But they are usually poorly educated, extremely insecure because you are no better than your last performance, fearful of aging, and accustomed to venting their emotions on the set. Many, including Marilyn Monroe, have serious problems of identity. The clever and grounded ones, like Woods, Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, and Arnold, save their money, are very wealthy, and skew strongly conservative.

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
3 years ago

Yes! The answer by and large is a resounding YES! Most of these people, with the exception of musicians who have song writing and musical talents, are like trained monkeys. They are told by their Directors what to do, how to do it and when to do it. It is the rare exception to see an Actor who has the chops to improvise and give performances that people can fully absorb and forget who is portraying the subject. On the subject of the “performances” at the marches, it was interesting to see these “actors” reading from a script. Wow! Such… Read more »

thor47
thor47
Reply to  LetsPlay
3 years ago

Speaking of musicians, Brian May, guitarist for Queen, has a PhD in astrophysics.

Crispin
Crispin
Reply to  thor47
3 years ago

Which is why Mr. May is playing that guitar rather than driving a cab with all the other astrophysics PhDs
🙂

coyote
coyote
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

but Ali wasn’t so stupid to not know how much better off he was in America than Africa.

thor47
thor47
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

I’m not sure about that, zman. I know which end of a guitar to hold, and I know something about the way the math works in music. Beats to a measure, that sort of thing. But in country and blues/rock, a feel for the flow of the music is far more important than any technical knowledge. You have to have a sense of time to feel when you can play several notes, hold one, leave a space, etc. If you are writing music, writing it down on paper, yes, the math knowledge is an asset, but if you are creating… Read more »

Severian
3 years ago

They also lack a fixed identity. That’s what makes Leftism so appealing — whatever you are today (and we all know that the Party Line changes daily), you are with all your heart and soul, and spouting today’s catechism makes you not just a good person, but the best person that could ever possibly be. A word in their defense, though: People think you are who you pretend to be. This happens even with bush-league performers like teachers – I have former students who are convinced I’m a liberal, a conservative, a Communist, a Nazi, a union organizer, gay, straight,… Read more »

Dutch
Dutch
3 years ago

Actors are good at acting. Why success at acting would equip them with valuable insights on any other subject is very puzzling. As has been repeatedly pointed out by Zman and the commentariat, many, if not most, actors have no real family life or substantial normal human experience worth mentioning. Which is why, in my experience, meeting actors in person has been a depressing and eye-opening experience. Away from the script, there is nothing there. Nobody’s home. Just like many race car drivers and pilots, they are absorbed in their craft, and the rest of human experience gets pushed to… Read more »

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Fame must be an odd thing. But the “don’t you know who I am” response is typically used by actors, sports stars, and politicians, when they don’t get their way. Which makes me suspect that those three groups are fairly hard-wired to seek fame and recognition, and also the three groups most likely to fall into the bubble where reality fails to intrude.

james wilson
james wilson
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Gene Hackman once demonstrated in two short walks on a Manhattan street how very differently people would react to his presence depending on his body language. I once passed John Lennon sitting at a slot machine in Las Vegas and nobody seemed to know he was there, including security. Elvis, that would not have happened, but most of them can do with less if they want to.

alzaebo
alzaebo
Reply to  james wilson
3 years ago

In New York, I passed by Willem Dafoe coming from the deli. No big deal, nobody bothered him. Shortly after that, we passed by a car. Robert DeNiro and Johnny Depp were sitting there, reading their lines. My co-driver- a full-blown redneck truckdiver, baseball cap, sleeves torn off, missing teeth- pounded on the hood, waving with a big goofy grin. I honestly thought I was going to die of sheer embarassment, right there. (Another seedy, hilarious co-driver yelled, “Hey, Bruno!” At Bruce Willis at a shoot in Baltimore. He came over! Used to buy joints in high school from my… Read more »

alzaebo
alzaebo
Reply to  alzaebo
3 years ago

Hell, since I’m dropping names, my best friend worked out with Schwartzenegger at Gold’s gym in Venice, Muscle Beach.
Arnold walked over and said, “Come verk out wit me, dese guys are a bunch of poosies!” In the Pumping Iron days.

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Although I wouldn’t know personally due to innate lack of talent, acclaim/fame must be more addicting than crack for the susceptible ego. The few acclaim addicts I knew who aspired to be big time entertainers (musicians mostly) lived miserable lives on the edge of it, always reaching out for the ring they thought was surely within reach, this time, while getting just enough acclaim to feed their jones: Always a bite but never a meal. So they couldn’t let it go. The cruelest situations I’ve seen were where the aspirant really was pretty damn good but just not quite good… Read more »

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  Al from da Nort
3 years ago

“Acclaim addicts”, bingo. Extended family members were acclaim addicts. They were hurt if they were NOT recognized and praised in public situations. Going out in public was a quest for demonstrations of acclaim, as surely as the leggy young blonde goes out in a short skirt and expects looks and attention. The other sad element is that having experienced a moderate level of local fame for decades, the handlers (agents, bookers, legal retainers) did not see fit to say anything when the principal began to beclown himself from age and senility, and the principal either did not recognize it in… Read more »

Drake
Drake
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley? They were the two bright / sober ones. I think Simmons is taller or else he wore higher platform boots.

UKer
UKer
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

I was once begged by some young kids for my autograph because I looked like a then famous football (soccer) player, but I did point out to these lads that they really should ask themselves what a very well-known — for those who might care, I looked like George Best — and very rich sports star should be doing on a bus in another part of the UK, especially when the man was known for owning many fast cars. I think they then understood i wasn’t just being shy: I really wasn’t this great player. On the subject of fame,… Read more »

A.T. Tapman
A.T. Tapman
Member
Reply to  UKer
3 years ago

The easier explanation is simply a large fraction of humanity are quite stupid.

SamlAdams
SamlAdams
3 years ago

My observational cohort consists of the ones I went to college with, several of whom are household names. The ones that became famous were not stupid (couldn’t have gotten into the school), but elements of their education were very narrow. Actually admired the serious theater majors– most were in class, rehearsal or studying close to 18 hours per day. But as a result they socialized mostly with each other, took very few classes outside the major and did live in a bubble of sorts. Post graduation, really the same thing. If you wanted to succeed at acting there was little… Read more »

txjohn
txjohn
3 years ago

Similar in many ways to musicians who opine at length from their stage about all things “social justice” instead of making the music for which they are being paid handsomely.

George Orwell
George Orwell
3 years ago

Just another fine post from Zman. Leaning off-topic (sorry), while we speak of performers, let’s not leave out our punditocracy. Especially enlightening has been the unmasking of so many Responsible, Principled Conservative talking heads on TV, radio and online. The Trump phenomenon has shown vast segments of them to be nothing but bad actors and showboaters. How many of the Never Trumpers have, to this day, remained utterly oblivious to their failure at prediction and analysis? It’s new talent outside of the elites, like Zman, that brings intelligent thought in this era. How many well-remunerated pundits have found it impossible… Read more »

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  George Orwell
3 years ago

I am taking a wild guess here, but my impression is that Zman treats this site (at least so far) as a form of entertainment and intellectual stimulation, rather than as a paycheck, which makes all the difference. Most of the people George Orwell mentions strike me as people who do the work for a paycheck. This means that they are constantly monitoring which way the wind is blowing, and trying to position themselves to keep the pay checks coming, which has almost nothing to do with what they really might believe, or any relationship to some sort of underlying… Read more »

George Orwell
George Orwell
Reply to  Dutch
3 years ago

Absolutely. Many (but certainly not all) of our talking heads on both the Left and Right who are lucky enough to be on TV or radio know very well that Career Comes First. By the same token, it’s hard to understand why so many of them on the Right cannot sense the wind blowing in the direction of Trump. Heaven only knows what sort of errant drafts now breeze down the dingy hallways of the National Review.

George Orwell
George Orwell
Reply to  George Orwell
3 years ago

I would add it’s perilous to ascribe motives to others, however. Perhaps a given talking head espouses X on air or online, yet personally believes Y. There is no way to prove this. Someone can even state their motives yet merely be lying about them.

What is more puzzling is how stupendously wrong so many of our pundits were about 2016, and how few of them have either acknowledged it or expressed a change in their thinking to address their past misapprehensions.

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  George Orwell
3 years ago

The failure to move towards Trump puzzles me, too. I am watching Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell reluctantly shuffle a bit in Trump’s direction lately. Perhaps the media higher-ups have made it abundantly clear that they will brook no opposition to their party line from their foot soldiers. Off topic a bit, but it is fascinating to watch Trump divide the private sector unions from their own leadership (Trumka), and also it looks like the private sector unions are going to be pitted against the public sector unions. Trump is a master at skills many can’t even identify. Gives new… Read more »

alzaebo
alzaebo
Reply to  Dutch
3 years ago

The Left Mainstream has thrown away the proletariat- white male laborers- and is marketing to raw numbers- nonWesterners, nonwhites, and women.

Trump is a master. Soon we’ll question why these diddy bints are holding us and our country hostage.

I actually laughed out loud hearing the uber-cuck, Medved, guide us through our dire future.

Zman’s next piece should be on the intelligence of our revered legislators.
So august! Comedy gold.

Ripple
Ripple
Reply to  George Orwell
3 years ago

Actually, RS McCain freely admitted his error. He is one of our most pointed critics of modern feminism, and a mensch.

George Orwell
George Orwell
Reply to  Ripple
3 years ago

Ah, I stand corrected. I looked after the election but must have missed it. Good on you, RSM.

Solomon Honeypickle IV
Solomon Honeypickle IV
Reply to  Ripple
3 years ago

If you get Trump wrong to start with, like McCain, then your opinion on anything aint worth $0.02. Even if you “come around”. He might be a good guy, but he isn’t worth reading.

Wayne Parker
Wayne Parker
3 years ago

I can tell you from extensive personal experience that you truly nailed it today. I attended law school at the University of Southern California and 70% of my classmates were 21-23 year old kids who grew up in the “90210” (or nearby) and had parents who worked in the entertainment sector. I have a good friend who is a stand-up comedian/wannabe actress who I met when I lived in NYC and we’ve been good friends for years now. EVERYTHING you wrote above matches my observations of those who work in and around the entertainment and sports industry. Stand-up comedians as… Read more »

DiogenesLamp
DiogenesLamp
3 years ago

In the 19th century, “actors” were generally disdained. They were considered sleazy and immoral, and only fit to associate with drunks, gamblers and whores.

Then Thomas Edison made them rich and influential. Instead of audience sizes in the hundreds or few thousands, they could now reach audiences of millions, with commensurate compensation.

With Edison’s invention they acquired wealth and influence. They and the core of their industry were still sleazy and immoral, but now they had the means to indulge themselves and make society indulge them also.

And here we are today.

Mr. Blank
Member
3 years ago

Back in film school, one of my professors — a long-time industry vet — liked to say that actors and actresses were basically just “beautiful children,” and if you were smart, that’s how you should treat them. They live in a beautiful make-believe world, he said, and that’s why they’re so good at what they do. But as lovely as their world may look from the outside, you (meaning us aspiring filmmakers) really can’t join them there unless you’re prepared to give up on being a serious grown-up.

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  Mr. Blank
3 years ago

And our educational system works to make sure that all of their graduates live their lives as “children”, the “beautiful” part being optional.

Dan Kurt
Dan Kurt
Member
3 years ago

In the mid 1970s I had a friend who experienced dozens and dozens of young stars to be. He had been a cosmetic dentist who capped the teeth of aspiring movie stars. When he finished dental school he had a job for more than two years at a clinic that fixed the teeth of these aspirants who were in the Studio System. This was in the late 1950s. At a cocktail party he told a group of us his story. Many had heard it before and egged him on to tell it. This is what I recall. The Dentist said… Read more »

Epaminondas
Member
3 years ago

The ancient Romans of the republican era would not allow actors or performances within the city. The famous Roman theaters were built just outside the walls of the city during the republican era. When the Aurelian wall was built, it incorporated the theater district. But by that time society had become so decadent it made no difference.

michael x.
michael x.
3 years ago

I think Theodore Dalrymple was on to something when he said: “Actors who spend their lives imitating others are unlikely to have firm principles or even personalities of their own.” That part of the quote: “or even personalities of their own” is telling. Actors spend their whole life looking for a persona to temporarily inhabit. Some, it is recorded, even spend an entire movie shoot “in character.” Unemployed actors are always on the lookout for their next fix: another persona to wear between movie roles. They can often be seen at political rallies. You know the ones: loudmouth idiots, full… Read more »

Loos End
Loos End
3 years ago

ZMan – Thank you! I’ve been silently enjoying your blog like no other for almost a year, but I’ve made it a point to keep a very low online profile for many reasons. Today’s column compelled me to finally chime in. Are Performers Stupid? I don’t know if the word is stupid – many of them are…but to me the prime traits and worst traits of the actors I’ve worked with include a deadly combination of narcissism and estrogen (including the men). I’m a playwright – but neither a feminist nor a progressive – so clearly, I’m not getting much… Read more »

Doug
Doug
3 years ago

In 1918 Russia, leftist Bolsheviks conducted a campaign of murder so vast and depraved that media and entertainment organs committed themselves to forever shielding the public from its horror. The Red Terror was a starburst of logical conclusion liberalism that has persistently evaded capture in American museum dedications and feature films.
from https://kakistocracyblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/literal-obliviousness/

alzaebo
alzaebo
Reply to  Doug
3 years ago

And still shielding themselves today, I see.
From that time to this. Lampshades and soap!

newrouter
newrouter
3 years ago

ot

over here:

Kate Bush Cloudbusting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRHA9W-zExQ

newrouter
newrouter
3 years ago

It Started Raining the Moment Donald Trump Was Inaugurated President

http://time.com/4641165/donald-trump-inauguration-rain/

MMinLamesa
MMinLamesa
3 years ago

You could substitute the Sunday morning pontificators for actors in your piece Z and it would be essentially the same. Clueless George Will and Bill Kristol come immediately to mind.

Craig Austin
Craig Austin
Member
3 years ago

An actors most important gift is the ability to lie convincingly, to fake any emotion and do it well. They can make you believe them even in unbelievable situations, Merryl isn’t intelligent, but she has played an intelligent person convincingly in film, she lacks the intelligence to realize the difference.

Richard Whitney
Member
3 years ago

The first person I heard make this point was Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.
He was talking with Truman Capote, and he made the point that actors and actresses are dumb.
Capote said, “Well, Jill St. John is smart!” (St. John reportedly had an IQ of 162)
Carson replied “And she’s a lousy actress!”

The Usual Suspect
The Usual Suspect
3 years ago

Well yes, Truman Capote said so, and directly, on the Johnny Carson tonight show. Capote said all actors are stupid and even named names. He said, ” look at Marlon Brando he’s stupid” and Johnny almost swallowed his tongue. Carson tried to smooth over Capote’s comment. Carson said “look at (giving an actress’s name) she’s smart.” Without missing a beat Truman replied “that true she’s smart but she’s a lousy actress”

bluebird of bitterness
3 years ago

I wonder if one reason most actresses seem like idiots is their diets. An actress can’t hope to get good roles if she’s larger than about a size two, and for most women, staying that thin means a near-starvation diet. Could nutritional deficiencies be starving their brains and making them stupid?

J. Alexander Maximilian
J. Alexander Maximilian
2 years ago

They’re stupid people with an unusual amount of narcissistic based drives for popularity.