Thursday, January 19, 2017

Open Letter to Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,

I love you!  I love you as the people you are.  I love your art.  I may not agree with every movie you put out, but I love the fact it is an art, and you are free to express that art any way you see fit.  That is a gift, you use it to the best of your ability, and I love you for that as well.  Despite my love for you and the arts, I've never looked to you for my moral compass, my voice of reason, or my understanding of reality.

Sure, some of your movies are based on a true story.  Based on, not really is.  That means you have used your artistic liberty to add, subtract, shorten, modify as you see fit to make the film.  These are some of the most touching films one can see.  Yes, they reach my heart strings.  No, I don't believe the events are complete reality, but I do believe the events are close to reality.

Even your purely fictional movies have a bit of reality in them.  Maybe based on something you have experienced yourself or something a friend or family member has gone through.  Maybe you saw something on the drive in to the studio that caught your eye and made you laugh.  You thought, "Now that would make a great movie!"  And you should incorporate your life, your thoughts and what you see into your art.  It is who you are.  It's formed you to be the person you are both on and off screen.  Okay, maybe not on screen, but at least behind the scenes while filming.

However, that is your reality, not mine.  Yes, you have a job that not many can do.  You act like a person you are not.  You memorize lines folks like me could never begin to memorize.  You put your life, and the life of your family, out in public eye for everyone to see.  That is not something I would be willing to do on such a constant basis.  Yes, you live a tough life, one that I'm not envious of.  But, you also live a privileged life.  Your job allows you to travel the world if you so choose.  You are able to have house keepers, trainers, chefs and more if you desire.  Some of you have nannies that take care of your kids 24/7 regardless of you being home or at work.  A lot of you are involved in charities you believe are worthy of your time and financial support.  Great!  All if it.  Great.  You have the means, and I support that.  Good on you.  You've worked hard to afford all of what you have.  Me, I can't say I would want that responsibility.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a trainer that comes to my house, a chef, or a house keeper.  I'd love to travel the world.  But, I don't.  And I'm not sold on me not changing my habits if I were able to hire the people you hire.  I'm not sure I would like me if I had those people coming in and out of my house all the time.  My kids might be even more spoiled than they are now if I had a nanny for them and me providing everything for them.  Sure, the finances would be great!  I could support so many things I love, just as you support your chosen charity(ies).  But, I don't have the job you do that provides millions every time I finish the last day of work.

See, the Ben Affleck, Meryl Streep, DL Hughley and Whoopi Goldberg's are not my reality.  They are well respected actors/actresses, but they do not live in my world.  Just as I don't travel the world acting, they do not reside in Cheyenne, WY.  Sure, some of the Hollywood elites have worked in middle America at jobs that pay minimal income.  Some of them may have been raised on the streets of the inner city or suburban America.  But, because of what they do now, they have lost touch with me, my family, my friends and my peers.  Because they have, they presume many of us have as well, even if they work with charities supporting those that don't have.  How can I relate to someone who wears thousand dollar suits to events where tickets to attend cost hundreds of dollars?  How do I relate to someone who believes the only part of life is the arts?  I'm sure I may have something in common with Hollywood elites, but it won't be much.

Here's my plea.  My desire is simple.  Dear Hollywood Elite:  Come, join my family for a month.  I don't have much, but I have enough.  I don't expect anything from you.  Just come.  Eat with us.  Go to work with us.  Go to school with my kids.  Join me as I watch my daughter cheer at her High School Basketball games.  Or, come on out in the summer (it might be warmer, but no promises) and watch my son's baseball team.  Join me in the press box keeping score for his team.  Sit in the bleachers with his mom and grandparents.  Seriously!  Just come and visit for a month.  You'll get tired trying to keep up with all we do!  My wife volunteers at the County Fire District both in running calls and teaching classes, on top of her full time job.  Oh, she is also a part time student.  I own my own business on top of my full time job, volunteering for the Legion Baseball Team and a local concert promotion company.  You could even join us at our church on Sunday or either of my kids youth groups on Sunday and Wednesday.

See, dear Hollywood Elite person, the very one you think you speak for is more like my family and I than you and your peers.  Most of us work full time jobs, volunteer at our kids schools/sports teams/churches/etc, and somewhere in the full schedule we actually have a social life.  We spend our money to see the end result of your job.  Please, give us a the courtesy of treating us as equals to you instead of ignorantly thinking you know what we want and believe.  And if you could, Hollywood, please share this letter with your peers in the top 40 music industry as well.  Sadly, they've been fed the same line of thinking you have been.  Remember, it is us, the fans of your work, that have made you your millions, given you the recognition and a platform you can use.  It is up to you to use that platform, that money and recognition wisely.  Speaking for me is not using it wisely.

There you have it, Hollywood.  My open letter and invitation to you.  Which of you is up to the challenge of living in Cheyenne, Wyoming for a month.  Who is willing to run to and fro with my family?  The door is always open, the invitation has no expiration.  I will ask nothing of you except a friendship, a chance to shoot the breeze, maybe seek some knowledge, and a chance for you to see some of the most beautiful county in America.  If you do take me up on the offer, I'm easy to find, just drop me a line and we'll plan your visit.  Hope to see you soon!

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