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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