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The Art of War for Hollywood

Dishonor Killing

 

By Bruce Edwin

In Hollywood, there is generally always someone out there trying to destroy you. Whether it is an actor that tries to ruin your chance of getting the part you both want, an agent or director that ripped you off, or simply the raging lunatic– the anonymous stalker online, slandering and lying about you. In Hollywood, if you expect to survive and thrive for any length of time, you can be sure that eventually, you will most likely encounter an enemy.

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While most people out there in the world ‘are’ basically good, in Hollywood, it may be fair to say that the ‘most’ in that statement is at least a little bit ‘less’ by some percent. Like America, Hollywood is a melting pot of the world, where reportedly a hundred thousand or more people from all over the world travel to each year to try make it in, whatever they think that ‘it’ is.


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For most, that ‘it’ is the ever elusive ‘FAME AND FORTUNE.’ Most of them fail, running back home with their “tail between their legs” (as my acting coach friend likes to say), having failed miserably, and then the next wave gets off the bus. Fresh meat–as Hollywood calls them. After a few years, if the ‘fresh meat’ lasted that long, they have generally suffered a few battle scars, and are a little more wiser– if not totally jaded.

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So what do you do when you–that nice kid from Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, or wherever, gets your first taste of Tinseltown’s ugly side, and you get screwed over in one way or another? What do you do? Do you fight back? Go ballistic online? Sue? Knock their lights out? Or do you try to let it ride, try forgive, forget, and move on?

Turn the Other Cheek or Destroy?

This question is essentially a moral dilemma of sorts. Because if you are a good, happy, honest person that just so happened to be the victim of an evil jerk, you may feel your spirit polluted to some degree if you get down in the trenches and confront them. Do you fight back? Walk away and be quiet? Or what?

How we respond to bad treatment from people should depend on various things;

1, Did the person deliberately hurt you?
2, Have they done this to other people or to you before?
3, Do you think they will do it again?
4, Did they apologize?
5, Do you consider they are basically good or bad?

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6, Are they willing to communicate with you about it or are they hiding from you and
thus avoiding responsibility?
7, To what degree have they hurt you?
8, How quickly did you or can you recover from the hurt?
9, Is your philosophy one of forgiveness, or of revenge?
10, If you choose revenge, or what some prefer to consider ‘retribution’,
how, when, and where will the fighting stop? Or will it stop?!

These are some of the many serious questions we should ask ourselves if, or when someone does us wrong. It is one thing to get accidentally screwed over, but it is quite another to have someone do it on purpose. And, how we interpret and respond to the act of perceived wrongdoing can effect us for better or worse, for the rest of our lives.

As a result, it is imperative;

1, Do not overreact to perceived insults or even provably known actual insults or injuries.

2, Put things into perspective. Give your words and actions a self-imposed delay switch of at least 24 to 48 hours before you make a serious decision as to attack back. I will tell you from experience– while not the easiest in the short-term, forgiveness is usually the best option. If you go around trying to get ‘even’ with ‘every’ person you think did you wrong, you will most likely spend your whole life trying to get even, never catch up, and never have time for anything else–including any happiness in life. It is no fun being angry all the time and having many enemies. It may be fun and entertaining for a while, but it gets old–fast. And, for every action, there is a reaction. If you try to fight back against someone you think did you wrong, then you run the risk of them once again committing another abusive act against you, which could be worse than the first. It is no fun having to watch your back or be paranoid. Mainstream media attempts to induce this fear enough already.

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3, If you do have to fight back to defend yourself in some way, don’t let the fight consume you. Don’t become obsessed with your ‘enemy.’ In fact, don’t even give them the power of being ‘your’ enemy. Don’t honor them with such a lofty title. Many of our so-called enemies actually ‘seek’ to be our enemy, and are proud and most happy when they are. Sometimes, one of the most radical acts we can do is to forgive our enemies!

Sometimes, an enemy hits us so hard that it really hurts, and they will keep on doing damage if we don’t fight back. This is similar to the thug on the street that attacks someone and starts beating them up. One should run away fast–yes, but if they have the person in a choke-hold and are trying to choke them to death for example, then they better take some action to fight back, and fast–if they don’t want to end up badly hurt, or worse–dead. Sometimes, we need to fight back–and hard. This is never pleasant, but in Hollywood, where the competition is fierce, and psychotic jerks abound that will sometimes crawl out of the gutter and attack, sometimes it is necessary.

When you decide that you have fight back– if it is not a physical attack, try to set aside one hour or so on one specific day per week to handle it, until it is dealt with. The rest of the time during your life, give it no attention, and give them no thought. Do not allow an enemy to infect your mind and ruin your peace within your soul or your happiness. This is exactly what the spiritual or human enemy wants–they want to steal your peace and your happiness. Do not let them.

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Great men have fallen by small attacks from weak enemies, simply because they gave them too much power over their emotions. They let the enemy steal their peace, their joy, and thus, their success in life. Many great men have allowed the infection of hatred to poison their body to the point where their health suffers to such a degree, they end up dead. It is true, that stress, and anger can kill. It is a brutal, yet silent and covert enemy actually covered up within an enemies own attack! But like a silent bomb, stress and hate concerning an enemy can covertly kill if one lets it. Do NOT give an enemy that power over you! This is exactly what they want!

The enemy wants you stressed, upset, angry, and sick! Instead, rule your own mind, your heart, and your soul. Let your spirit be filled with love and happiness. Forgive as much as you can, give amnesty to all you can reason to, and put yourself in your enemy’s position. Be a man or woman of logic, of grace, and of peace.

If you believe in ‘God,’ you surely want God to be forgiving toward you. We are certainly not perfect human beings. If you don’t believe in God, or care about God’s forgiveness, then you at least want your friends and loved ones to forgive you when you accidentally do wrong. Right? Wouldn’t it be terrible if–every time we made a mistake or did wrong, everyone shunned us, and left us forever, or attacked us back and then left? That would be awful! And so, what harm is it to try to forgive a stranger, when we would at least try to extend the same courtesy to a loved one in order to keep them in our life, and we would like them to forgive us?

When we treat a stranger as an enemy by not forgiving them, we can not expect a stranger to forgive us the next time we harm them. Life is–whether you realize it or not, like a wheel of karma. When we treat someone wrong, they will want to treat us wrong. Or if they don’t, then someone else will–sooner or later. The golden rule of “Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated” is of vital importance. It is not only a wise moral decision, it is in fact, a key to success in life, and yes–to Hollywood.

The Art of War for Hollywood

The Art of War for Hollywood then, is not so much a war with others, but rather, it is a war within yourself. That is, it is a battle within your own mind and soul to rise above your ego, to your higher self. To forgive others as you yourself would like to be forgiven by God–if you will, or by your loved ones, or by strangers yourself when you harm another. War is never good, it is never a solution to strive for. An eye for an eye, as the saying goes, leaves everyone blind. Granted, sometimes we must strike back, to stop an abuser and preserve our life or the life of our loved ones or our business. But if and when you can, forgive. Or if you can not forgive, then at least grant amnesty, grant them grace, grace to go on in peace, hoping they learned. Grant yourself the grace to live in peace, and hold love above all, as your highest virtue. Hatred literally leads to death, and love is life. Give love, and spread the word. This is the Art of War for Hollywood. Peace. –Bruce Edwin

The Hollywood Sentinel makes no claims regarding any product or service herewith, and assumes no liability thereof. This content and title are copyright (c). 2016, Bruce Edwin, all rights reserved.

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The Age of Innocence

By Moira Cue

Age of Innocence 2016

Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Age of Innocence, details life among the upper class of New York Society during the late 19th century. Like many Pulitzer Prize winning novels, this story, too, became a Hollywood movie, most recently in 1993, seventy-two years after the original story won the Pulitzer in 1921.

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The first film adaptation was a silent film released by Warner Brothers in 1924. The second version was released in 1934 by RKO Studios. The third adaptation was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Daniel Day-Lewis as the novel’s protagonist, Newland Archer; and Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder as his competing love interests, the Countess Olenska and May Welland, respectively.

The novel succeeds in capturing perennial attention because Wharton (born in 1862) wrote so precisely about what she knew, the high society New York she witnessed as a child. Even among Pulitzer Prize winners, Wharton’s gift is remarkable. Her ability to render the psychic arcana of a small clique of wealthy families is almost overshadowed by the encyclopedic density of allusions and references to artistic, cultural, and historical minutiae specific to Old New York Society circa 1875 which literally require footnotes. If you read Wharton’s footnotes thoroughly, you will learn about Old New York down to its buttonholes (which Newland Archer adorned with a single flower, preferably a gardenia). You will also learn about Europe at the time, to a lesser extent.

For one who is more accustomed to reading contemporary fiction, the humanity of Wharton’s characters really doesn’t compel or shine through until the reader’s mind has adjusted to the ramifications of (literary) time travel, as well as the culture shock of glimpsing behind the veil of an elite social strata where money and position is something you inherit, rather than something you earn.

But rest assured, if you are patient, you will not only adjust to but enjoy the stylization, and before you realize, the story will sink its hook in. This is a Symbolist story, which, to oversimplify, represents the relationship of New York to Europe as America approaches the turn of the 19th century. The story begins as Countess Olenska, born in New York, having been seduced by a European rake and the tolerance of his set for infidelity, has returned to her own kind, where she longs for a certain purity. Ultimately, having been “contaminated” by European aristocratic decay, it is only in renouncing a future in New York that she becomes an unlikely guardian of its ideal—an ideal which progress disintegrates within a generation.

Newland Archer is engaged to May Welland but falls desperately infatuated with the Countess. He is smitten by her inappropriate behavior and disregard for social norms because she is natural in her emotions, and surrounded by “interesting” artists and literary types. He wants to break off the engagement and even after he is married, his tortured longing continues.

The addictive elements of the plot structure are delayed gratification and suspense, which can almost feel formulaic. Ironically, the realism of Newland Archer is most evident and moving at the end of the novel. The book’s final scene takes place in Europe when Newland is older and wiser, closer to the “contemporary time” of publication of the novel. In this scene, Newland’s hollowness is revealed, movingly, as his most contemporary psychic characteristic, made poignant by the reverberation of all the “stuff” around him: the serving platters, the customs, the parties, the mannerisms. Newland Archer’s emptiness, born of a life constructed by exterior social forces, is transformed by noble restraint into a shrine of the memory of dualistic love: the love that never was to be, and the love his world made room for.

Age of Inocence

10 More Things about Wharton

1. The battle between The Academy of Music and The Metropolitan Opera House

The Metropolitan Opera House was organized by Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt in 1883 as a competitor to the established Academy of Music in New York when despite her husband’s tremendous wealth, she was unable to procure a box at the Academy of Music. The Vanderbilts were considered at that time “interlopers” by Old New York, much like the characters the Beauforts, who are extremely wealthy, but considered “vulgar” by the old monied families accustomed to running elite society. The latter venue is where the opening scene of The Age of Innocence takes place, with the explanation: “Though there was already talk of the erection, in remote metropolitan distances “above the Forties,” of a new Opera House which should compete in costliness and in splendor with those of the great European capitals, the world of fashion was still content to reassemble every winter in the shabby red and gold boxes of the sociable old Academy.”

2. “Pardon my Latin”

Archer Newland, whose family stood as a pillar of Old New York, was so well-bred that when astounded or exasperated, he the uttered Latin phrase “Santa Simplicitas!” (or, “Holy Simplicity”) rather than cuss. Sounds a little more elegant than “freakin.”

3. Cult Phenomenon

Edith Wharton, like a few other beloved Pulitzer winners such as Ernest Hemmingway or Margaret Mitchell, is a cult phenomenon, even today. Ms. Wharton’s estate (The Mount) made headlines in The New York Times in September of 2015 when the Edith Wharton House Museum, her former home in Lennox, Massachusetts, cleared its debt of $8.5 million. There is also an international membership organization dedicated to Wharton scholarship, the Edith Wharton Society, by Professor Annette Zilversmit in 1983. Her former home can be toured after its winter closure beginning again in May of 2016.

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4. Beyond Literature

Wharton’s impact goes far beyond literary circles. She is considered one of the mothers of the field of interior design, who understood proportion and balance far better than many of the fashionable designers of The Gilded Age. Her first book, the non-fiction The Decoration of Houses, co-authored with Ogden Codman, Jr., is considered influential and relevant today.

5. First Woman

Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, first to receive an honorary doctorate from Yale University, and first woman to obtain full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. To be fair to the Pulitzers, Wharton’s was only the third award given, and in the Pulitzer’s first ten years, 40% of the novel awards went to female authors. During the last ten awards given, the Pulitzers for fiction have achieved gender parity at 50%.

6. 100 Years of Change

The dawn of the 20th century was an exciting time where technological advances changed forever the way society functioned, much as the dawn of the 21st century has brought new advances in genetic sciences, the Internet, and mobile communication. It is only, for example, looking back from a vantage point where no matter where you are, your family can call and check in on you, that being “out” and using a pay phone or answering machine and then waiting rather than sending a text message seems “innocent.” In fact we have no excuse to ignore each other anymore other than “my cell phone battery died,” and even those of us who grew up without cell phones marvel with some envy the luxury of being gone and not being able to be digitally tracked.

The British ship Mauretania, which won the blue ribbon for speed in 1906, was the first to cross the Atlantic in less than five days; the first tunnel under the Hudson was opened 1904-5; the first powered airplane flight took place in 1903; electric lightning was established in New York when the Edison Illuminating Company opened its Pearl Street power station in 1882; Marconi patented the first system of radio telegraphy (without wires) in 1896. The book’s protagonist is only dimly aware of people who believed such advances were on their way, but has very little interest in such things.

The “age of innocence” also refers to this period of time after the Civil War and before the Great War (WWI).

7. Edith Wharton, like the heroine in The Age of Innocence, left the Old New York of her youth and spent her last twenty five years as an expatriate in Paris.

8. Edith Wharton only began to write fiction seriously after a nervous breakdown in 1898, which marked the end, in the author’s words, “of trying to adjust herself to her marriage.”

9. What Others Have Said
“The note of distinction is as natural to Edith Wharton as it is rare in our present day literature … She belongs to an earlier age, before a strident generation had come to deny the excellence of standards.” -Vernon L. Parrington, Jr., Pulitzer Prize winning historian, 1871-1929

10. Legion of Honor

Ms. Wharton was awarded the French Legion of Honor, the highest civil award the French government gives to foreigners, for her volunteer work during World War I.

This content is ©2016, The Hollywood Sentinel, Moira Cue, all world rights reserved.