Jewish World Review Nov. 14, 2002/ 9 Kislev, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports


Hollywood trash


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | 'Tis the worst of times for Tinsel Town. An LA jury got religion and found someone guilty. Winona Ryder, waif of an actress, is now a hefty felon, having met the standard for grand theft 5 times over. She's your better class of thief, sticking to designer goods at Saks, but a thief she is, even in LA.

Pundits moaned about a prosecution, brought only, they pontificated, "because she is a star." Actually, Ms. Ryder, caught on tape previously pulling suspected heists at Neiman Marcus and Barney's, cases in which charges were waived, had to go to trial because the prosecutor had no choice but to go for a felony. They do that sort of thing the third time around for unrepentant shoplifters or still-suffering kleptomaniacs.

Insurers who write policies on leading ladies, even for those of the Adam Sandler genre, Ms. Ryder's last vehicle, don't take kindly to felony convictions for coverage purposes, let alone discount rates. So, Ms. Ryder and Mark Geragos, infamous attorney for one of the Clintons' circle of underworld friends, Susan McDougall, thought an LA jury could help. O.J. Simpson's DNA at the scene of a murder was not a problem for his acquittal. The National Enquirer lawyer and his client took an educated shot.

They were wrong, but they gained worldwide coverage. USA Today had daily photos of Winona trial wear. If she'd developed bulimia, the coverage would have been front page: "Winona's Plight" or "Ryder Watch." Fox News had live coverage of the verdict, the crawl not being sufficiently sensational for such earth shattering news.

My theory about the Hollywood's rich and famous still holds true: they are white-trash fools, wrong about nearly everything. Winona's censure followed on the heels of a nationwide trouncing of Democrats, perhaps more humiliating for Ms. Barbra Streisand than a grand theft conviction. Woody Harrelson may stay in London. The Hamptons will never be the same for Alec Baldwin. Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon wear black. The West Wing cast and writers observe daily moments of silence for loss of the Senate.

Hollywood's politics, candidates, and sympathies for Cuba and Saddam matter about as much as shoplifter Winona. Their causes are about the PR. Mary Tyler Moore is animal rights. However, opening credits of her 1970's television show her in fur coats and beaming smile. Her animal passion arose when animal passion became popular.

The political knowledge base of stars is laughable. Ms. Streisand, resident blathersnipe of Hollywood Democrats, reworked the words to "The Way We Were" for an October fundraiser, to wit: "a House without Tom Delay" and "no more poison in our water and salmonella in our food." Did I miss something? When did GOP special interests win money-saving, salmonella-in-food protectionist legislation?

Actress Cynthia Nixon, who appears on that grotesquely stupid show, Sex and the City, participated in a protest about New York City public schools. She wants smaller class sizes and, well, chicken nuggets in every lunch. When asked from whence the funding would come, she responded, "Just raise taxes." Of course!

Hollywood folk are cut from the same cloth as the Kennedy dynasty, the Gore fiefdom and accompanying hosts of limousine liberals. Easy-come wealth makes folks uneasy with themselves but easy with others' money. Slow percolation of success through dogged determination breeds a bit of confident frugality.

Wealth that comes too easily, through inheritance or acting jobs, brings guilt assuaged by devotion to welfare programs, socialized medicine and estate taxes. The entire cast of Friends is not worth $1,000,000 for 10 years' salary, let alone each one per 22-minute episode. They make peace with unjustifiable gains via leftist, emotion-packed politics of condescending sympathy.

The same phenomenon consumed Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley. Here were twentysomethings, unable to hold down jobs and complete degrees, suddenly hurled into millionaire slots via IPOs, options and other paper transactions. Bill Gates, college-drop-outs, and a host of other dot-com options-rich Gen Xers, turned into leftist activists.

Winona's trial did not deserve the coverage it got and Hollywood's thinking about politics, voting and government warrants less. These kooky folk would have trouble with regular work hours. Actresses such as Jennifer Lopez and Julia Roberts marry the hired help because the disparity is not great. Their capabilities and training would put them in the same jobs as their blue-collar hubbies were it not for luck and casting directors.

Winona has an elegant face and demure presence, but she is no different from the rest of Hollywood and the nation's bluebloods: wealthy for inexplicable reasons and willing to seize money and/or property from others for their personal gratification.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

Up

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10/28/02: What the snipers and Moose taught
10/22/02: Nobel Prizes and other ventriloquist acts
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04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
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03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
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02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
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02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
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01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
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06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings