In a challenged fiscal environment, the entertainment industry — specifically the movie industry — is gorging itself on record profits.
In what alternate universe would you find a movie grossing $1 billion, just scant weeks after it opens, showing in neighborhoods where families pool their change to share a Happy Meal?
Something is not right.
Where else would you find journalists flocking for a glimpse of a bobbing young actor’s head as he bails out of an Aspen jail after allegedly popping his wife, while they sidestep and maneuver around the effluence of those seeking bankruptcy protection at that same courthouse? That actor being the highest paid on television, and already back to work earning millions.
Something is amiss.
In what bygone era would there be an economic fiefdom that brings in $10 billion-plus in ticket sales for the past year, and then one year ago this Thursday, in that same year of record revenues, claimed they cannot fund a nursing home for their elderly? That same industry that brings art and entertainment to a society that is jonesing for joy and escapism has created an aristocracy whose opulence overwhelms our senses, and overshadows our compassion.
Something is messed up.
Our thirst to touch the coats of the haut monde has skewed our sensibilities and jaded our humanity. With every whack of Tiger’s 8-iron that his head or Escalade received, millions of dollars in media and advertising was won and lost. With every hit that Perez Hilton or TMZ gets on their website, millions of dollars in click-throughs flows into the coffers of those who feed our blood lust for gossip.
With every stupid reality show that springs forth, writers, actors and directors are back on the unemployment line. Those reality shows typically show how destitute in spirit we are, and focus on our human failings. We eat it up, like an obese child devouring his third Super Star with Cheese. Unsupervised indulgence in primetime.
This is why it’s not hard to understand why the Long Term Care Center — the nursing home of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Home — is going to close. The human and needy face of the entertainment industry is just not cool. The reality show that would star wrinkled skin and saggy breasts is just not going to happen. No slick nip ‘n’ tucker wants to perform butt lifts and tummy tucks on 80-, 90- or 100-year-olds.
We will not watch it, so why should the MPTF fund it?
We would rather observe the meltdown of a young celebrity who is caught in the vortex of fame than address the issues that cause it. We would rather lavish praise all over bankable stars and those who create box office gold than we would nurture those in the industry who are unable to nurture themselves.
We would rather pay homage to celebrities who hold most of us in total disregard and wouldn’t give us the time of day than to recognize the dedication of those who built this industry.
Don’t feel too bad about yourself. I’m just as sick as you are.
However, I woke up a year ago when the MPTF issued their inhuman decree to evict those remaining in their nursing home. I suggest you wake up as well. We are a year into a battle for lives, and we need your help.
In this new year, where all factors point to an even bigger box office for the entertainment industry, I urge you to get involved with an issue that has no business being a part of this industry.
I urge you to join Saving the Lives of Our Own and stand up to the debauchery, mismanagement and lies that seek to end the continuum of care that had been guaranteed to you by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford — back in an age where money was not plentiful but commitment was.
Commitment is a hard commodity to buy. With the millions upon millions of dollars that the likes of the MPTF board have to sustain their opulent lifestyles, it’s a pity that the price of commitment to our elderly brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives cannot be paid for in full.