Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Makes Me Not Want to Chant "USA"

So remember how I was all charged up about there being a woman and a black man running for the highest offices in our nation. I wanted to chant USA.

Yeah not so much any more.

I'm frankly appalled by what's happening. I feel that this woman is being used, and actively allowing herself to be used, in some of the most shameful hatemongering that I've had the misfortune to see. Hatemongering so appalling that even John McCain had to silence his own supporters who have taken to shouting out that Obama is a "terrorist" and remind them that he's a good and decent man. It's shocking and appalling and upsetting and frankly, I am no longer all that excited that my daughter will learn about it one day in school. At least, not what the minds behind the Republican campaign have done during the last few weeks.

But it's been a kinda lousy day. I had an audition for an agent tonight. Not getting rid of my sweet manager--in fact he set up the audition. Just considering adding another person (read, deducting another %15) to my "team." Let me tell you, it was friggin' sobering. First of all, I didn't really do my audition pieces too well. As the Red Sox proved tonight, you can't always hit them out of the park. And I so didn't. But that aside, what followed was a respectful, but painful interview in which I answered frankly questions about whom I do not know in this industry. Pretty much, I discovered, I know no one. I mean, I know some people. I've met a lot of people. But "know know"...like if you say my name to them will their eyes light up with happy recognition? Yeah, not so much.

And this is, as I have stated before, not an industry that takes kindly to aging. Particularly to women aging. So as the years have passed, and I have lived in this unforgiving city, and my career has moved at it's own leisurely pace (note my passive voice in discussing it...as if "it" not "I" were moving so slowly) I find myself in a bit of a pickle, pushing...well pushing the age I am pushing. "Opportunities for women 40 to 60 in this country" as I heard a wonderful, creative, imaginative and smart casting director say the other day, "are limited." I nearly fell over. Did he actually lump 40 - 60? This very smart man whom I respect a lot and knows this industry inside and out? Me with my mother? Yup. He so did.

So this all brings me around to what the people who are running this campaign are doing to this former beauty queen and sportscaster. Let's face it, she was lifted out of the entertainment industry to feed the entertainment industry. She's as much a player in a drama as I am. Here was an opportunity for a woman 40 - 60. A huge one. And it has become a punchline. No worse. It's become dangerous.

And that so does not make me want to chant U.S.A.


Mutha Mae said...

Really good post. I often say she was cast to play the part of VP. And you are right about opportunities dwindling as we get older. I've become hyper critical of how old I look for fear those opportunities will pass. It's a shame because we become better performers as we age. And yet the industry wants us to be at the top of our game at age 20. I just have to look at Ellen and Oprah and other hosts who have hit their peak in their 40s and hope I can do the same one day. Only those in the business understand how hard it is. It was nice to read this post because it reflects so much of what I go through and the worries I have.

ilinap said...

I've said from day one that Palin was pulled straight from central casting.

cyberpenguin said...

Good post! With the election rolling around, it seems that the more polarizing elements of the body politic are trying to capitalize on the basest sentiments of human nature, which is very unfortunate. Tempers flare & then reason goes straight out the window.

Regarding your audition: Wow, that sounds tough! I honestly don't know how you deal with those types of hard-edged attitudes in NYC, especially in your profession! I'm sure you've learned to develop a thick skin after a while.

It's unfortunate that you had to go through what seemed to be an exercise in self-immolation on some levels, but at the same time, you seem to have a healthy perspective (& sense of humor) regarding your experience.

So don't let those turkeys get you down, OK!

Plus, I guess you can always chalk it up to a learning experience, no matter what the outcome!

So why did they ask you who you knew? How was that relevant to getting the job? Or were these people just trying to get information out of you, or see if you were "connected," & therefore, somehow, in their shallow eyes, have more "value." Ugh, I can't stand people like that!

Anyhow, you have many more valuable traits than what these people are apparently looking for, qualities which no one else will ever be able take away from you. Plus, I'm sure that having your family around you -- your beautiful daughter, husband, & the rest of the clan -- also helps immensely to ground you when it's time for you to go off to auditions!

I find that one of the great things about being a strong woman who values the higher concepts of the mind (versus shallow, mutable attributes that shift like quicksand) is that you don't base your worth on a sliding scale. While a large portion of the world concerns itself with "staying young & beautiful" (or if you're past a certain age, "preservation"! ;-) ), people whose confidence comes from a more substantial source, will always be beautiful because they shine from the inside out. Of course, this way of thinking about oneself means that the entity of self is a purposely abstract/immeasurable/unquantifiable & therefore invaluable commodity. Knowing that truth allows a person to fight the good fight & still know that deep inside, no matter what anyone else says or thinks, that you do matter in this world. You have value beyond what the eye can see.

I'm sure that living in NYC & being in the acting profession is an interesting study in how people cope with these aforementioned issues!

Anyhow, I you have a better day tomorrow!