The Hollywood Rite of Passage

I was cleaning the rug yesterday while my mum watched the E! channel. I personally cannot stand this blight upon cable television, and find that a lot of their in-depth programs on Hollywood stars’ intense personal lives and struggles to get to the top of the A-List are about as entertaining and informative as an infomercial for the Justin Bieber pubic-hair and testicle-growth hormone pack, now with free razor for all that pesky facial hair when puberty hits. True, however, there was a day when I didn’t mind the odd episode of E! News when I was 18 to watch as Angelina and Brad had another spat, or Tom Cruise molested a dog, or to hear Giuliana Depandi and her black co-anchor make another really bad pun about Teri Hatcher’s ugly dress on the red carpet at that year’s Golden Globes. I grew out of this phase about the same time I stopped liking Teletubbies, started shaving with a manual razor and became the man’s man that I am today.

Anyway, yesterday was a foray into young stars as they were when they were tweens, getting their first jobs as bubblegum advertisers or on cheesy 80s sitcoms with Tony Danza. The segment got to a part about Jodie Foster, talking about her role as a 14-year-old prostitute in Taxi Driver (I’ve never actually seen the film, but this alone makes me hesitant to experience it even for artistic sake).

The announcer, whose voice was as soothing and pleasant as a gang of unmanicured rats basejumping down a chalkboard, said that Jodie “lost her innocence, but gained an Oscar. In Hollywood that’s called a fair trade.”

I stopped immediately and glared incredulously at the screen, feeling for an instant that moment where the world seems hopelessly imprisoned by the restraints and novelties of fame. If what this badly-scripted nonce was telling the world was true, and that the only way to Hollywood is to shed your childlike qualities like a moth-eaten coat, it raises the question – is it worth it? Is becoming one of the adult members of Hollywood’s elite really worth the sacrifice of all that you hold from when you were young? Is it a fair trade to give up those elements in order to make lots of money and be remembered as the girl who took your clothes off at 14 for a bunch of obese internet nerds who are so breast-deprived that they’ll probably bittorrent the movie years after its release just for the possible hint of some nipple action? (I don’t actually know if Miss Foster did indeed get naked in this film, I’m just using this as a general example if it were the case)

I carry with me a lot of things from my early days that I could never imagine giving up to live in this world. Sure, we all need to grow up sometime, but isn’t it the old school stuff that makes the best people? Isn’t it fun to squirt people with water guns even if you’re 20? Isn’t it awesome to occasionally sit down and watch an old episode of Power Rangers when it’s on TV? Isn’t it fantastic to crack open one of those YoGos that had yoghurt in one side and chocolate pieces in the other so you could combine the two?

There’s a limit to how much Hollywood should take from you that most of those people probably won’t ever adhere to. I know I can say that if being in Hollywood means I don’t get to occasionally watch Thomas the Tank Engine on Youtube, then I’d rather become a septic cleaner instead.

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