Friday, July 14, 2006

The Five Pillars of Aristocracy

I grew up in Southern California and saw (and still see) the idolization of motion picture actors as the kind of déclassé thing that is done by tourists who buy maps to the star's homes, and dream about encountering their big-screen heroes walking down the street in Hollywood.

Hollywood is an industry town; and the industry is movies. When I was a teenager, my goal wasn't to to be a movie star, it was to play horn in a studio orchestra.

So why are people whose main talent is pretending to be other people so celebrated?

John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson defines the basis for aristocracy:
The five Pillars of Aristocracy, are Beauty, Wealth, Birth, Genius and Virtues. Any one of the three first, can at any time over bear any one or both of the two
Rick Brookhiser comments that this applies to Hollywood stars:
The stars of Hollywood have beauty, and genius of a kind. Hence they are aristocrats in a media age.
Which reminds me of the scene in Back to the Future where Doc Brown realizes that when television becomes ubiquitous, the President of the United States will be a movie actor.

Many people love to joke about Ronald Reagan' status as a B-level actor being a poor preparation for the presidency. Many of these same people wet themselves when an actor who agrees with their political stance makes some inflammatory public statement.

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