Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Concentrating on becoming, not on being

March 07, 2012|By Joe Puglia

Our daughters, Sabine and Simone, were riveted to the television. As each starlet walked the red carpet on Oscar Night we were breathless, watching the beautiful gowns worn by the gorgeous women of Hollywood.

We sat waiting to learn the origins of their gowns.

Milla Jovovich wore an Elie Saab creation and Rooney Mara was dressed in Givenchy, while Octavia Spencer was in a design by Tadashi Shoji. How about Gwyneth Paltrow in that white Tom Ford dress, not to mention Jennifer Lopez in the slinky beaded Zuhair Murad?

The talk of the evening was Angelina Jolie's luscious red lips and that extended leg with her hand on her hip. It was enough to make your teeth sweat.


After this display of haughtiness, I said, “Enough!”

“Daddy, if you don't like it, go into the other room,” Simone said.

Help me out with this. Do you think we're too preoccupied with celebrity, and that we compare ourselves to the Hollywood stars?

Of course the Oscars are fun to watch and movies are works of art, but we've gone too far, giving these people a distinction that is beyond a grasp of who we could become.

Actors play the lives of real and imaginary heroes, people that they could never be. But we call them stars and become enablers to a self-perpetuating façade.

Success is often confused with fame and stardom.

The morning after the Academy Awards I was sitting at Starbucks, working on the great American novel. I heard two young girls discussing the evening's events.

“Stacy Keibler is so beautiful! It's unfair; I could never look like that,” one said.

Doesn't it seem that we're never good enough? One of the classic films, “On the Waterfront,” plays to our collective failed hopes.

Marlon Brando plays a fighter who lost his chance at the title because of bad advice he received from his older brother, Charlie. In a soliloquy to his brother, Brando chastises Charlie for not looking out for him. “You was my brother, Charlie. You should have looked out for me. I could have had class, I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.”

Those words strike a chord in those who sense that somehow, they've missed the boat. They epitomize the agony of the person who didn't quite make it, but who dreamed of what life could be.

Hollywood's portrayal of heroes reminds us of how far we have to go to be one. So maybe we can only hope to be a contender.

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