Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy Hollywood

As I'm sure you all know, there is a huge grassroots movement spreading throughout the US that originated in NYC, called Occupy Wall Street. I, for one, am glad to see this. The American populace is finally rising up against these shameless corporate crooks who basically bankrupted the middle class, but took their tax dollars to save their sorry asses, and are now back to making record profits, while that same middle class struggles to survive.

I read a great article on the Huffington Post by Jo Piazza stating why it's time to Occupy Hollywood and target celebrities who rake in ludicrous amounts of money for "entertaining" us. She states that most celebrities are on a higher pay scale than most CEOs, surgeons and lawyers. They are in a class all their own - the overpaid and overblown.

We, as the consumer, are not entirely innocent. No one has boycotted these celebrities in protest of their completely disproportional salaries. No one has refused to pay the thousands of dollars that people like Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, of Jersey Shore fame now commands for speaking engagements (that's an oxymoron, if I ever heard one). 

I was perturbed by the apparent dumbing down of America to the point of simply accepting that the Kardashian family rakes in millions in a single year. And for what? Airing their dirty laundry on TV? Who are these people? And why do we care?

Sure, we can probably all admit we have a secret weakness when it comes to reality television or such and such a celebrity but the reality of a growing number of Americans is forcing us (even us Canadians) to reevaluate where our values lie. We cannot simply continue within the status quo.

Michael  Moore appeared for a full hour on Piers Morgan Tonight this week, along with a live studio audience. Listening to the stories of these average Americans was heartbreaking. University graduates with Masters' degrees, crushing debt and no job; middle class folk behind in their mortgage and bill payments, struggling to make ends meet; people working well into their 70s to be able to afford health care. This is more than just "not ok"; it's criminal.

There is enough wealth on this planet to feed, clothe and shelter every human being on it. Why is the equitable distribution of wealth such an unacceptable concept? What are the obscenely wealthy so afraid of? They would have much less to fear with a general population that is thriving and content.

One way this incredibly lopsided distribution of wealth will change is if the consumer changes, and demands that the entertainment industry cease to pay these ridiculous amounts of money to "stars", and adopt a more reasonable pay scale, especially for such luminaries as Kim Kardashian and Snooki. And if they don't, we'll simply boycott the celebrities. 

We seem to forget, the consumer holds all the power, not the celebrity, and not the entertainment industry. Without fans, the celebrity is nothing, just another face in the crowd. It's time to wield that power, people.

Instead of paying some celebrity a gazillion dollars to appear in some mediocre Hollywood flick, how about paying them less and reinvesting the rest into creating jobs for people who desperately need them, and maybe throw in some benefits too. Is that really too much to ask?

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