Dear Jodie Foster: I think you should stop sucking and blowing.

kristen-stewart-robert-pattinson-harper-bazaarIn August, which is like 1000 years ago in media time, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison broke up because of… QUELLE HORREUR!… an infidelity on the part of Kristen Stewart. I won’t chide you if you don’t know “who” they are because if you don’t know who they are then you win! You win because you’ve successfully managed to steer clear of The Hype and live your life, and not the life the media are encouraging you to live. However, if on the off-chance that you haven’t been sucked into the media vortex of “other people’s lives” permit me to continue.

Kristen and Robert are actors. Their claim to fame is The Twilight Saga movies based on the popular novels by American author Stephenie Meyer. The two are very very successful—by Hollyweird standards—and very very rich—by normal people standards. They are early 20s young, which means that they are pretty much old enough to know some things like how make a living, make mistakes, vote, you get the picture.

At one time, the media were in constant pursuit of these two attractive individuals, and like the creepy middle-aged folks who manage the careers of the young, beautiful and talented, we too—either passively or actively— were assumed to want to know who they were f*cking, if not each other. Because the story of young people f*cking sells product. A LOT OF PRODUCT. The gossip-hounds and the jealous-obsessed among us who follow the minutiae of such insignificant “events” as “What Celebrities Are Wearing” and “Who Wore It Best?” have become so invested in material culture that they have convinced themselves that the universe cares enough to make it a part of our daily business. Hold up Jodie Foster, I’ll get to you in a minute.

It is no fortune of coincidence that the evolution of a successful Hollyweird media brand begins with the real or imagined courtship of two previously unattached actors who quite predictably become “attached” in their movie either through some dramatic connection in which they are romantically involved, or through some other dramatic plot twist on screen.

To sustain the marketing brand power of the film, and to keep the actors top of mind so that the suspension of belief carries throughout the entire film franchise, the couple is encouraged to pretend like they are a couple In Real Life. This is done to further heighten their perceived marketability, and to lend credibility to an expanding franchise that hawks Useless Crap which impressionable people devour like a kid who’s never seen candy. In other words, Big Bucks, people. More bucks for everyone six degrees of the franchise, and more media-cache for the actors involved. What’s in in for us, you ask? Our dubious role—and forgive me, but there is no honour or fairness in this exchange, well if you discount the “joy” we express as a result of being passively entertained— is to buy [into] that shit. And we do. Oh, how we do…

Now lest you think that film companies operate alone, or that actors work independently of the corporation— they don’t, actors are handsomely paid corporate employees— you should know that the media plays an integral role in the marketing brand strategy of the film. The media literally writes the script, ie film reviews, etc., and creates a niche market face for everything you see. Depending on how invested the media perceives the public to be in the film, the actor, or the studio itself, they carry the narrative forward. [I won’t go into how paid bloggers have become yet another cog in the wheel, but you can see how “us regular folk” have been all too keen to feed into the group-think politics of the media].

What You’ll See

Us-Weekly-Who-Wore-It-Best-Sophia-Bush-and-Kristin-CavallariThanks to the media you will see lots of magazine pictures of celebs wearing expensive brands which popular labels “lend” to the celeb which in turn increases the market value of both the clothing brand and the actor who suddenly becomes a fashion icon, and a newly-minted brand ambassador for that label. There will be various editorials on the actors’ lives because the Real Life trajectory of an actor “humanizes” them in our fickle gullible minds [See also: They’re Just Like Us!]. Further, an onslaught of TV appearances by actors who have films or products to sell will take up residence in your living room and sycophantic hosts will ask inane questions while actors preen and say dumb shit that is pre-scripted, because you know, ACTORS.

Thus TV becomes an even more important, yet insidiously mind-altering media vehicle to convince us to “care” about the lives of actors since few of us watch television with a critical eye. The point of television after all is to anesthetize us into the false belief that our lives are basically un-exciting so we need the escapism of entertainment that isn’t too challenging in order to be happy. If we are emotionally-disturbed we too can find solace in TV that privileges dysfunctional relationships and scenarios that “validate” our dark thoughts and behaviours.

Film and television provide us with the opportunity to live vicariously through the stories of 2D beautiful people who seemingly have it all. The great con of Film and Television is that attractive people can do “anything.” Sometimes there are consequences, but lo, how beautiful they are when they are being naughty! If we see non-beautiful people being naughty, well that’s because they are not traditionally beautiful, or what the media perceives to be beautiful so their behaviours are commiserate with their appearance.

But let’s not forget about drama. In addition to Reality Television drama, the media is skilled at creating faux-controversies that end up in faux-apologies. Both are part and parcel of the script for an actor or film that needs to be talked about, or a career that needs boosting or to take our minds off our own personal dramas or the politics of our times. Pregnancy, the new media currency for less popular actresses, will have us actively engaged in the life of a celeb who suddenly expresses a desire to procreate, and then lose weight. And not to be out done by the grown-ups, we can now add the suddenly sexified image of a former Disney “child star” who turns 18, and has been contracted to appeal to a new audience.

The list of media assaults under which the public seemingly has no control, is endless.

But please don’t get it twisted folks, the studio strategy banks on the effectiveness of each of these carefully constructed media tools and our so-called obsessive fascination with celebrity culture. Actors who veer too far from script don’t have great careers. It’s that simple. Those that fulfill their part of the contractual agreement—part of which is to make us obsess over them—do exceedingly well. And this is precisely how we get sucked in.

Recall if you will that the evolution of Kristen & Rob, began with “Are they or Aren’t They? I’m not sure that the “Are They” thing was ever confirmed because I gave this story the same amount of f*cks I usually give to media stories. What I do know is that the question that Dare Not Be Answered kept these two young hotties top of media-mind, forever. A short time after, a new surge of interest was planted as news of the alleged romance toppled and it was reported that Kristen Stewart betrayed her loyal fans by banging another dude; a married dude. Hypocrites, clutch your pearls! The media-script suddenly shifted to implicate the narrative of a rabid obsessive fan-base. After all, if the two stars of a successful brand are not together what will become of the franchise if so-called obsessed fans aren’t there to carry the franchise, and the media narrative forward?

Following script, Kristen Stewart issued an immediate  awkward public apology, and outraged feminists everywhere said, “Girlfriend STFU, do not own that shit! Except, Outraged Feminists are not part of the script, and infidelities manufactured by Hollyweird are not Real Life, so.

Jodie-FosterAaaannnddd cue Jodie Foster!

I love you Jodie Foster. You are SO awesome, except when you take me for stupid and conveniently forget that like you, I too live in these Hollyweird saturated times. Your well-intentioned, yet misguided sucking and blowing treatise about “child” actors for the Daily Beast entited “Jodie Foster blasts Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattisson Break-up Spectacle” was a bit too earnest.

The problem is that you falsely assumed that the public and I are supposed to automatically have sympathetic feelings towards a multi-million dollar brand who, let’s face it we only “know” through the lens of the media spotlight. But rather than admonishing us for not having a set of prescribed feelings—over and above the studio-scripted feelings we’ve been conditioned to have since the moment we laid eyes on the actor, it might have been more appropriate for you to examine, and hold responsible Hollyweird Culture—a culture that has been strategically designed and carefully honed by both the studio and the media to create strange desire between regular people and the employees of Hollyweird as if the lives of Hollyweird Staff are worth more than ours. This is the reason for our growing skepticism.

The issue isn’t that we, the public are terrible people, we aren’t, rather the issue is that the reality of the actor’s so-called over-exposed life, a life that every actor creates, together with the media machine that chronicles the life and times of the actor, sucks. Of course it sucks, Jodie. Why? Because according to Oprah, “Fame magnifies everything.”

Oprah-Tweets-Fame-Magnifies-Everything

What’s important to realize in the Jodie Foster Rescues Kristen Stewart narrative is that you Ms. Foster—in an admirable attempt to romanticize a time that never was— are talking about yourself, not Kristen Stewart. It’s not like Kristen Stewart or any other actor who feels similar to you is giving press conferences about how Jodie Foster is “right.” On the contrary, Kristen Stewart has hitched up her big girl panties and carried on. Why? Because she’s got a JOB to do, a career to tend to, a brand to continue building, an image to maintain, and most importantly contractual media obligations to fulfill.

Jedi-Media Tricks

The media script posits that we, the public, aren’t grown up enough to handle the “real life” transgressions of actors—apparently it disrupts our ability to “suspend belief” when actors make so-called human errors— it therefore becomes even more important to an actor’s career that they regain the public’s trust and confidence so that we can continue to buy their shit. In other words, KStew’s apology manoeuvre was a well-versed, and well-rehearsed Jedi media trick. She had to be sorry, Jodie. And she had to put that blame squarely on her own shoulders.

In your Daily Beast post you alluded to a poignant exchange between you and Kristen Stewart’s mother on the set of your movie, Panic Room. You asked KStew’s mom if at age 11 her daughter really wants a movie career. Stewart’s mom sighs and says, “yes, unfortunately.” Between sighs, you ask, “Can’t you talk her out of it?” But the thing is, Stewart was already in it. KStew’s fate had already been sealed. Indeed, I found it truly ironic and a bit disingenuous for a mega-watt celebrity like yourself, who started in the business at age 3 would find it inconceivable that an actor who had the opportunity to share screen-time with someone of your legendary status wouldn’t want a career in acting. And no disrespect, but why do you get to decide whether someone “should” have an acting career or not?

At the end of the day it isn’t that Stewart needs to be protected from the media glare as you, Jodie Foster would have us believe, it’s that you, Jodie Foster want your privacy back. You want to reclaim a time that no longer exists [did it ever?]; which is fine for someone who is notoriously private and protective of her life as you are. Except please take note, you are also part of the Hollyweird system that perpetuates and institutionalizes these oppressive regimes. Which means you can’t have it both ways. You’ve told us repeatedly that given the choice you wouldn’t be a child actor today—but why was it OK for you to play a preteen prostitute in the movie Taxi at age 13?

Actors quit the profession all the time. If Kristen Stewart feels that she cannot cope with the exploitative tactics of the studio/media relationship—a part of which has now been dishonestly and conveniently repackaged, re-scripted, and resold to actors and us as “public scrutiny,” she can find a new career. Kristen Stewart is not a child, and she isn’t Jodie Foster. The public isn’t to blame, the media culture of Hollyweird is.

So please Jodie Foster, stop sucking and blowing.





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