STARS AND THE CITY:
What celebrity meltdowns mean to San Francisco
February 26, 2007
Our friend Mike in New Orleans got in touch just in time for
the Academy Awards. It turns out he and his kids played together
with Brangelina and their kids at the public playground last week.
Of course you already heard that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
moved the whole family there.
Local custom in New Orleans dictates utter nonchalance in the
presence of the famous.
Still, Mike was able to wish Brad good luck winning an award
for Babel. All children involved remained blissfully
unaware of anything unusual.
You dont need more Hollywood gossip at a time when the
world is going to hell. But it is hugely symptomatic of our increasingly
upside-down world, San Francisco included: Actors are either becoming
politicians or acting like them.
Politicians are partying and rehabbing like movie stars. Nationally,
Republicans and Democrats are engaging in mutual brain transplants:
GOP presidential candidates are flip-flopping on major issues
and the Dems are aiming for fiscal sobriety.
Whats going on?
Columnists everywhere scold us for following celebrity melt-downs
when there are urgent problems to be solved. But the aftermath
of Anna Nicole Smiths unexpected demise isnt just
ghoulishness. The fight over her body, baby, and money should
remind us that none of this would be happening if the late Ms.
Smith hadnt been so skillful at presenting herself, and
her appearance, in a way that pleased the public. Sound familiar?
No? Then lets look at the next pop star to capture center-stage,
First she broke one of the primary Woman Codes, which states
Thou Shalt Not Appear in Public Wearing a Short Skirt With No
Underwear (men dont always understand this law). Nobody
called that act of societal law-breaking as a cry for help. So
she shaved her own head in another act of body-baring desperation.
Personal acts that lead to public notoriety, followed by checking
into rehab: does that ring a bell?
If not, lets step back and look at the increasingly topsy-turvy
big picture. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have chosen New Orleans,
a significant American city, as the latest 3rd world country to
Its also a backwards situation at the state level: Governor
Schwarzenegger has stopped trying to channel Ronald Reagan. Instead,
he has decided to flex those muscles of his by listening to constituents
on environmental issues! What would the tree-hating Gipper say?
Its incredible to watch a Hollywood star like Schwarzenegger
develop political support across the board. No wonder former basketball
bully Charles Barkley wants to be governor of Alabama Arnold
is starting to make it look easy.
Governor Schwarzenegger at the AB32
So if actors can add to their political skills, can politicians
add to their acting skills? Or should our top city leader learn
from Anna Nicole that public glitz can mask a looming potential
tragedy? Is Britneys experience a harbinger of more troubles
to come for our Number One?
As Fog City checks into more allegations, we will let you know.
We would like to hear from you with more examples of whats
upside down at any level of government or society.
In the meantime, enjoy the tabloids and ponder their deeper meaning.