Vital Signs

All Play and No Work

A kid today, if he aspires to anything other than slack itself, aspires to one of three “crafts”: acting, sports, or rock ’n’ roll.  He wants either to play a part, to play a game, or to play guitar.  He wants to be a player.  The work ethic has been replaced by the shirk-and-perks ethic: “I’d rather be [insert doing anything but my job here].”  Girls just wanna have fun, the kids are alright, life’s a beach, and thank God it’s Friday in America!

Actress Helena Bonham Carter recalls in an interview,

I kept thinking I was somebody out of a film.  All my career choices were based on films, like Born Free—I was going to be a gamekeeper.  There was Charlie’s Angels, I was going to be a secret agent.  Then My Brilliant Career, and I was going to be a writer.  Then I sort of figured, “Well, no, it’s probably the acting which is what I want to do.”

Actors are still at pains to stress, at least to interviewers, how hard they “work” and how seriously they take their “work.”  They recount how they have trained for months to learn to ride cutting horses or studied for weeks to be able to deliver lines of dialogue in a foreign tongue.  So it sounds unusual to hear actress Yancy Butler’s admission: “People...

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