For Cali's Election Eve I want to post a few excerpts from Cintra Wilson's essay collection A Massive Swelling, because her rants are about the recall-slash-Schwarzenegger-coronation even if they were written years before it happened. I wish Salon were still free with Cintra Wilson posting diatribes every week or two, but I'll content myself with this -- read up, Arnold:
Most celebrities suffer from an advanced strain of Hubris, which leads them to believe that everything they do is cute and interesting. These stars believe that they are well-rounded, Renaissance-style “artists” and are capable of doing more than the thing that they originally gained success for -- i.e.: Actors start thinking they can sing, write, or direct. Models start thinking they can act, or sing. Authors and songwriters start thinking they can paint. Once in a great while, we will be surprised by the versatility of a talent, but most of the time we are hushed into a helpless viewing of an enormous ego performing far outside of its element, flailing grotesquely, wrongly and shamelessly. We shall call the unfortunate disease that compels a star to disgrace itself with an unbecoming art medium “Brunitis,” lovingly named after Bruce Willis’s blues album debut, The Return of Bruno, which left us all paralyzed with feelings of hopelessness and despair.
...if a person actually becomes famous, they are somehow ethically exempt from acceptable human conduct, and nobody, due to some grave universal error, is allowed to say anything when they step outrageously out of line. An acrobat friend of mine we’ll call Sparky was hanging out with a famous heavyweight actor, doing what Hollywood people do: drinking heavily and hanging around at three A.M. Being Themselves....The actor politely asked to see [Sparky’s] watch, and Sparky obliged.... The actor put the watch on the coffee table, pulled a .45 that had been concealed in his pants, and shot it, the incredible blast terrifying everyone in the living room into a sickly green silence. The actor started smirking, in his trademark multiplex fashion. To dispel the vapor of unsafe and terrible feeling that pervaded the room, another guest drawled, “Hey, Sparky, now why don’t you give him your necklace.” Everybody chuckled with blood-sweating relief, and the evening went on. The actor never apologized, Sparky bought himself a new watch, and the incident just became another laughable, aura-enhancing, iconic legend of how that star is such a bitchin’ psycho.
Nearly all the men, young and old, that I met in L.A. openly kept Club Internationals and Penthouses around the house in stacks as high as their neck, dating back to the seventies, with dog-eared “favorite” shaved-crotch shots that they treated with the tenderness of old friends. Male Lip Service to Belief in Feminism vs. Male Desire of the Basest Forms of Feminine Exploitation is a big conundrum in L.A. One is left with the overall impression that most men in L.A. are so disgusted and confused by their own tacky sexual peccadilloes that they simply bury themselves in mounds of vice, and instead of eschewing the depravity of porn, try to embrace the normalness of it by having it be as much an obvious part of their lives as cigars or Wellbutrin.
We treat our celebrities, regardless of artistic merit, like an untouchable royal family, which causes most of us to act like dribbling serfs despite the value of our individual lives. We regard ourselves as slow-minded, vermin-infested bedwetters when presented with the gold-plated auras of media success in others. The implication of Fame, in this value-warped society, is: You’ve made it. You and your grand talents are so bright, you are somehow, both physically and spiritually, light-years beyond all us bone-sucking hacks. I yowl in disgust at this bias.