Hollywood Babylon

Reading the lives and times of famous actors and actresses tells you a lot. Doing this reveals some unsettling trends, the first of which is the preponderance of an abusive home life or an absent father.

The second thing you notice is just how many actors and actresses were involved either in pornography, strip shows, burlesque, or other off-color forms of entertainment before they became stars. That does make sense, as normal people don’t become exhibitionists on the silver screen – only the damaged do that, for their view of human sexuality and human relationships is all screwed up.

The last thing you notice is how the stories end – always with a star in the walk of fame in Hollywood. Few are buried in holy ground. Why is this? Although I have read somewhere that Hollywood was made to be a moth-flame for excitement, sex, and living as a counterpoint to the rest of the nation, the idea of stars in the ground conferring a sense of immortality goes hand and hand with it. If the latter is true (as I have little doubt that it is), then of course, the people who created a second life and made others believe in a simulacrum of reality should be added to pantheon. Lest you think this is overboard, the idea of stars being deities is something touched on by Shintoism and Hinduism and even makes its way into Western culture with the idea of “wishing upon a star”. Disaster means “against the star” (dis / aster), and so the significance of stars and importance is not something new. What better symbol than the upstart religion of Hollywood to claim as its own?

The sheen of the star is faded, now. Reading the lives of even film noir stars (40’s-50’s) reveals that at no time did Hollywood have it together, the Hayes Code notwithstanding. Hollywood has always presented the immoral as some kind of public virtue, or at least something exciting (and presumably beyond good and evil). So it seeks out the unstable, dangles them like marionettes on a string for the audience’s saliva, and when done, it throws them away. The gods must be changed at regular intervals to keep the audience hooked; behold the old gods are dead! Make way for the new gods! All hail excitement and sex and danger and love and lust and no morals or codes to stop or regulate or teach any of it all. In Hollywood, reality is the silver screen, for reality is never quite good enough, and the pretenders are the ones with golden idols in their hands until it is time to seal their caskets with a star – all without meaning. The deafness roars and purpose saturates the air but those unhappy dead had none of it and the only thing that keeps their memories alive is the pagan form of worship erected in Hollywood as the new Babylon.

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