We've Got Hollywood Covered

On the Turning Away

Stars shed a hopeful light, but now is not the time to be complacent about future of MPTF long-term care facility

On the heels of good news often follows complacency as our natural inclination is to take a break while others do the heavy lifting for us.

Ken Howard and George Clooney’s interest and concern is a big win for the future of the Motion Picture Home’s Long-Term Care unit. However, in the glare of the light of hope that they shed, we cannot avert our eyes for a moment on the continuing oppression that is served daily by the MPTF.

Millionaires and those in power will always be recognized. They speak the same language as the oppressors, even when a heart of gold beats within. The language of money and the message of power speaks loudly in a tongue that is as secretive as it is foreign to most of us. For those of us whose future hangs on the callous vote of a board of directors, or the misguided directives of self-appointed arbiters of elder care, the language of power must boom from the voices of those who the board wishes would stand mute. Those whose words serve to divert the course of motion picture and television healthcare has been stymied by a dam fortified and comprised of the rank and file.

On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won’t understand

Don’t accept that what’s happening
Is just a case of others’ suffering
Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
The turning away.

From day one this has been a class war bundled in a cocoon of class distinction and discrimination, meant to divide the haves from the have-nots. The decision to close was made by the powerful, in a vacuum devoid of input from those who would be most affected. The uprising of the families at first was only a pimple on the rear of the board of directors. Messages of "We get a failing grade" or most recently "We f–ed up" were broadcast more to placate than to accurately describe the communication failings. Words that confuse and deflect pitted against our words of truth and compassion.

The much beleaguered message to close the facility was conceived by millionaires, crafted with purpose and customized for our consumption by their well-paid marketing and PR executives, and then spoon-fed to the rank and file like Pablum by the messenger that they control so well — the press.

Present company excluded, the entertainment press has all but ignored the fight. Opting to provide coverage on the meltdowns of young starlets over the meltdown of a facility that provides care to the industry’s elderly, it has been easier to source photos of Britney Spears awkwardly exiting a car than photos of SAG members showing compassionate care toward the elderly.

Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we’re all alone
In the dream of the proud.

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord.

Thankfully, the nagging pimple grew to be an abcess that threatened to expose the cancer whose purpose was to decimate a once world-class health facility. The ranks opposing the closure have grown. The ranks have filed into line, led by working-class heroes who speak out amidst threats of arrest, censure, and worse. The millionaires who characterize the opposition as "emotional" and whose knees are worn out from either apologizing to the industry or servicing their handlers — or both — realize that the "dream of the proud" is one of compassion and commitment. Not of money or power.

Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside

We will never turn away from the challenge that we have accepted. Our currency is determination, commitment, compassion — something that the MPTF board seems to be short on. We will not accept the impossible paradigm foisted upon those who are least able to fulfill it: "Aging at Home" is a bankrupt idea that seeks to guilt those who are not able to accept their parents into their home, and are not equipped to care for them.

Money and power have a way of skewing one’s sensibilities. Very few can see further than the hood ornament of their Rolls. We have been successful thus far in showing them that vision is more than what you see, it’s what you feel. We have something to teach these people, and we can only pray that one day we all come together in unity.

We all have ownership of this struggle.

"On the Turning Away" by Pink Floyd

Winner of the Los Angeles Press Club's best blog award and a Southern California Journalism Award for his HollyBlogs, as well as an award for the Facebook group that helped to muscle the salvation of long-term care for the motion picture and television industry, Stellar's "vituperative blog on TheWrap" (Vanity Fair) focuses on issues related to the motion picture and entertainment industry. Stellar is founder of The Man/Kind Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to fight religious and cultural intolerance through the arts while building bridges of tolerance for all people. Stellar lives in Woodland Hills, California, with his wife of over 30 years, Nuala, and much too much Beatles memorabilia.