Hollywood Talkin’ But Where’s The Cash?

hollywood-sign-address

Once again Hollywood is on the attack. This time with a “PSA” about Protecting Insurance Companies. Click HERE to view the video via Funny Or Die (a new window will open). NOTE: I didn’t embed the video due the preview slowing down the site.

Of course the predictable “Hollywood are a bunch of stupid, clueless, latte liberal elites” (implied not said) from various sources in Right Blogtopia such as Hot Air, Riehl World View, and Michelle Malkin has started. And the also predictable “I don’t watch any of those Hollywood liberal elites but I really enjoy Heroes, CSI, and other TV series along with their movies on the big screen” is there in the comment sections as well (don’t get upset, Hollywood HAS us…your principals aren’t compromised by watching a flick with a “stoopid Hollywood elite” in it). Happens all the time when Hollywood gets all political and stuff. All that being said, I have a question for Hollywood:

Why do these type of political commercials/PSAs/infomercials anyway Hollywood?

All of you are filthy rich and I’m not mad at you for being filthy rich. The market is what it is. But wouldn’t you be more effective taking your sizable cash reserves and impacting the health care debate directly by, let’s say, starting your own insurance company? Building clinics and hospitals? You know? Sticking it to THE MAN by making something better? But that takes work. And sometimes that work is hard and painful. Case in point, former NBA great Dikembe Mutombo’s hospital project in The Democratic Republic of Congo (from Wikipedia):

In 1997, Mutombo with the Mutombo Foundation began plans to open a $29 million, 300-bed hospital on the outskirts of his hometown, the Congolese capital of Kinshasa. Ground was broken in 2001, but construction didn’t start until 2004, as Mutombo had trouble getting donations early on although Mutombo personally donated $3.5 million toward the hospital’s construction. Initially Mutombo had some other difficulties, almost losing the land to the government because it was not being used and having to pay refugees who had begun farming the land to leave. He also struggled to reassure some that he did not have any ulterior or political motives for the project. However, the project has been on the whole very well received at all social and economic levels in Kinshasa.

On August 14, 2006, Dikembe had donated $15 million to the completion of the hospital for its ceremonial opening on September 2, 2006. The hospital was by then named Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, named for his late mother, who died of a stroke in 1997.

When it opened in February 2007, the $29 million facility became the first modern medical facility to be built in that area in nearly 40 years. His hospital is on a 12-acre (49,000 m2) site on the outskirts of Kinshasa in Masina, where about a quarter of the city’s 7.5 million residents live in poverty. It is minutes from Kinshasa’s airport and near a bustling open-air market. The hospital has full telemedicine capabilities with the United States and Europe through the network established by Medical Missions for Children.

I followed Dikembe Mutombo’s hospital project very closely. And that man dedicated his livelihood and his life to build that hospital. And he succeeding with dogged determination, drive, and an admirable resilience.

Hey Hollywood, I know some of you are putting your cash where your mouth is. But in general your not. How about following Mutombo’s lead and doing something tangible instead of talking? Don’t worry, many of us will still watch you on TV and in the mega movieplexes. But money talks. How’s about letting it talk for awhile?

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By the way, I’m in love with Anna Torv of Fringe. I have to marry her… in another lifetime of course! See Hollywood? The love is still there.

         

Author: T-STEEL, Site Administrator

I'm not complex. Don't have time for all that. And all that complex stuff bad for the stomach. Just color me simple and plain with a twist.

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26 Comments

  1. Well, they do…you just don't always here about it. People close to me have seen numerous super stars running in and out of research facilities…giving tons of money….some super stars donate time too. I know of A listers digging holes to planet flowers at public schools.

    Every research facility in LA has a name attached to it…David Geffin School of Medicine at UCLA for one.

    Interesting side note, the new Ronald Reagan hosptial was named so because the Reagan family promised millions of dollars in funding….they never followed through with the money, but the name stuck.

  2. “Well, they do…you just don't always here about it.”

    Well there ya go! How about announcements showing that instead of these little ad thingies pushing political points? They just come off as cheesy and provides ammo to opponents. I like the do'ers. I want to hear more about the Hollywood do'ers.

  3. I would have agreed with you, until I read my local alt-weekly's set of stories about health insurance disasters in East Tennessee. By coincidence I actually know two of the people profiled, and the third – a doctor at the local hospital – is a high profile figure around here.

    Disgust is an understatement for how I feel about health insurance companies. This is Third World crap. A mocking by Hollywood is nothing considering what they deserve.

  4. Oh I'm not above mocking the insurance companies. And I have some family members who work for insurance companies and they say more doom than glory. I just think it would come off better if some ordinary folks did it on YouTube. Hollywood has much power (for better or worse) and money. Doing more dollar action is just a better use of their time in the health care debate, in my opinion.

  5. Not sure if I agree with you. Remember, the point of enlisting these actors is to get young folks riled up. Middle age Reaganites will call them all sorts of names but younger voters actually DO respond positively to appeals from these folks.

    Oh, and I love me some Jordana Spiro…

  6. T-Steele,
    You were also, no doubt, enraged at the “Swiftboaters” attacks on John Kerry.
    Why didn't those jerks spend their money doing something helpful?

    And if someone is a wealthy liberal, they are “filthy rich?”
    What are your feelings toward health insurance CEOs who make millions by declining coverage to their paying customers?

    Are they “filthy” too?

    And comparing the “power” of Hollywood to the real power of corporate lobbyist money is a very silly argument. Do you have the slightest clue how much the health insurance, pharma lobbys are spending to twist arms in Washington?
    Look up that number and tell me that's okay, but damned liberals should spend their money on Missions in Africa.
    You can get back to me when you've had time to look up the numbers.

  7. Oh, and by the way
    “NOTE: I didn’t embed the video due the preview slowing down the site.”
    is THE lamest excuse I have ever seen for not allowing your readers to see the video and judge for themselves.
    Here's the link for people that haven't had the chance to see the video you are talking about:

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/041b5acaf5/pro

    Update: sorry I didn't see the link in the original article. My error.

  8. My answers (even though I'm quite tired of going back in time ALL THE TIME):

    “You were also, no doubt, enraged at the “Swiftboaters” attacks on John Kerry. Why didn't those jerks spend their money doing something helpful?”

    No I didn't like the Swiftboat attacks on John Kerry. Nor did I like John Kerry. Nor did I like George Bush. I voted third party. I wasn't enraged simply because I didn't care for either of them. But I recognized that the Swiftboat attacks were BS. Yes the Swiftboaters could have spent their money doing something helpful. But comparing Hollywood (which I made VERY clear who I was talking about) to the Swiftboat Crew just doesn't jive.

    “And if someone is a wealthy liberal, they are “filthy rich?”

    The term “filthy rich” has been used for DECADES (probably longer) as a term of endearment among the rich as well as by journalists, writers, pundits, regular folks, etc. So stop playing the outrage game with that a term. Besides I said in my post “All of you are filthy rich and I’m not mad at you for being filthy rich. The market is what it is.” Also I used to hear the term “filthy rich” said so much on the television show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. And that show was a praise-fest!

    “What are your feelings toward health insurance CEOs who make millions by declining coverage to their paying customers? Are they “filthy” too?”

    Heck yeah they are “filthy FILTHY rich”. Big time money folks. But I'm talking about Hollywood and I will not hijack my own thread to talk about health insurance CEOs and the declining coverage situation that just plain sucks. That's for another day and another post.

    “And comparing the “power” of Hollywood to the real power of corporate lobbyist money is a very silly argument. Do you have the slightest clue how much the health insurance, pharma lobbys are spending to twist arms in Washington?”

    Where am I comparing the two? I'm talking about HOLLYWOOD specifically. Why can't you address HOLLYWOOD specifically like a few other commenters as well. Instead you branch out in all kinds of directions to determine my “street cred”. As valley girls used to say:

    GAG ME WITH A SPOON!

    “Look up that number and tell me that's okay, but damned liberals should spend their money on Missions in Africa. You can get back to me when you've had time to look up the numbers.”

    Not ever getting back to you because I was not talking about health insurance and pharma lobbies. I was talking about HOLLYWOOD. You know? Like actors, actresses, and hooray for Hollywood stuff? And did I say they have to do missions in Africa. I used Dikembe Mutombo as an example of the work that must be put in to start clinics or hospitals. Not because he's African or I would have specifically said “Hollywood needs to spend money in Africa”. 'Nuff said.

  9. T,
    I think one of the big reasons here is that actors, screenwriters, etc. aren't all filthy rich. Since most of these people are independent contractors their insurance is through the Screen Actor's Guild (if they have any at all). Let's face it, that PSA would get much less airtime/viralness(?) if it featured cameramen or set dressers. Get it? These people are the face for an entire industry so they are out there speaking for those folks. That's why Jay Leno and others supported the writers strike as well.

  10. How about if I say “Hollywood A-Listers”?

    My point is that PSAs like this really don't do much except harden positions on both sides of the aisle. While some think that is fine and champion it, I don't. Not in today's political environment. We need do'ers outside of Washington. Folks willing to create, innovate, and produce (or fund that in some capacity).

    Let's say Will Ferrell and Jennifer Anniston spearheaded an initiative that created an alternative hospital or clinic that was able to treat any and all (don't ask for details, I'm just putting it out there). Look at how much force and “viralness” a PSA from them would have then. Not just talk but tangible action. Am I saying that all Hollywood A-listers need to be this ambitious? No! But in these times, it sure would be helpful if some would attack health care in ways besides these types of ads/PSAs.

  11. I agree with you T. I'm a big Hollywood slappy. I love the glitz and glam. But i'm just not feeling this recent parody PSA. It feels all cheesy stupid cheesy. I don't know. I want health care reform in the USA so badly even though I spend half a year in Japan. And like you T, I agree Hollywood big timers could help more with their dollars outside of addys. But those insurance companies aren't easy fish to fry. and do you want to fry 'em all?

    Great post T!

  12. I agree with you on this, I feel the same way about CEO's and many in the public sphere. If you have a problem then do something about it, if you just want to talk to “change everyones mind” then do not use a megaphone provided on our public air waves. If you want to move public opinion do it the way the rest of us have to, one person at a time otherwise do something with your piles of money that will fix the same problem. I know that people pay for these advert slots but honestly that is one of the cheapest of their options and it should not be allowed(social stigma should be imposed not regulation). They should invest those piles of cash and if they have no good ideas invest in someone that does because there are plenty of good ideas out there, they just lack funding.

  13. I love this PSA, it addresses outrageous claims about healthcare reform in a tongue in cheek way. I think it will be quite effective in reaching some people.

  14. Well I'm glad you got all THAT out of your system.
    So you are unhappy that “Hollywood people” who have a big megaphone use that megaphone to try and counter all the lies in ads from wealthy special interests?
    What makes you think it would be a good idea for “Hollywood people” to start insurance companies or build hospitals? Most likely, they wouldn't be very good at it.
    Maybe you should stop wasting your time writing and be a rocket scientist.

  15. T,

    So you are saying that the more money one has the less legitimate their voice is in public debate? If your point is 'sarcasm doesn't help' that's one thing, but you seem to be dismissing someone's call for action on health care reform because they make too much.

    On a related point do you know for a fact that Will Farrell et al. don't support free clinics financially in the U.S.? Or is that just an assumption since it hasn't been on Sportscenter (ala Mutumbo)?

  16. Maybe you need to read my above comment to Uncular1. They don't have to start something from scratch. They can help FUND something from scratch instead of ads. Very simple.

    And if I had the cash and a rocket scientist had a damn fine idea with some meat to back it up, I would fund it. But I may not know EVERYTHING. You know, venture capitalists do it.

  17. Yes, sarcasm doesn't help many times. And no I am not saying “the more money one has the less legitimate their voice is in public debate” (that's dumb… not calling you dumb). On the contrary, they have a bigger voice. And action would make their voice a supernova. So I want to see more action.

    From my research on Will Ferrell, he doesn't do much or nothing at all concerning health issues (free clinics and the like). He could be but it's not publicized. But that is something I would want publicized if I were him. And regarding Mutombo, I knew about his project before it even reached Sportscenter since I was part of a charity that was helping him out.

  18. T,
    Thanks for your responses. We have different points of view here, but it's a good discussion. I still see them lending their voice to (what they percieve) the need for gov't sponsored health care reform, but I agree that the tone won't change a whole lot of minds (seems that way on both sides doesn't it?).

    On a related (kinda) note, I've always wondered why most U.S. religious organizations tend to do their hospital building overseas when there is a huge segment of the U.S. population that would benefit from some health care/charitable work here. I always assume the real motivation is potential converts/$$ but I'm just pessimistic that way.

    Thanks again for the sane, rational argument/discussion.

  19. T

    I don't get your point. People who are “filthy rich” who live and work in Hollywood should spend their money the way you think they should? Interesting, how did you become the socio-financial counselor to the stars? I mean, there are things I wish certain Hollywood stars would do for me too ;-), but wishing for that fantasy is no more realistic than yours.

    I would suggest you consider that your wishes may be based upon envy. If I had their money and access to main stream media, I'd do things differently too. But that being said, judging them according to your particular world view is rather naive. If I were king, things would be different. Neither you nor I can change what other people do, we can only modify our lives. I've heard your story on how you changed yourself, and these stars may just be a little behind in their evolutionary spiral.

  20. I assure you I'm not envious of their riches. Of course I would love to have that kind of loot but who doesn't. NOW you do make an interesting point about my expectations due to the drastic changes in myself. I really haven't thought about that much and MAYBE that does color my views on this issue some. But envious? Naaa….

    It just seems that Hollywood (on average) is quick to be seen and heard on certain issues. And that's basically it. I admit that I'm a “put your money where your mouth is” type of guy. I'm not belligerent about it (like some in Right Blogtopia) nor am I dismissive of Hollywood (as some in Right Blogtopia) are. I'm a film buff so to just blast Hollywood when I love movies is kinda loopy. But I see opportunity. And maybe I am applying a “socio-financial counselor to the stars” aspect to this. I didn't think I was but I can see how it looks like it.

    We do all have choices. And Hollywood A-listers are no exception. So how about I meet ya half way with this: It would be great if Hollywood (in general) do more financially in the health care debate (besides ads and PSAs) but they are not obligated to. But it would be kinda nice if they did.

  21. T-Steel, how dare you call on Progressives to use their own money only for Hope and Change. You are asking them to go against their religion you know.

    Will Ferrell
    Salary
    Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) $20,000,000
    Bewitched (2005) $20,000,000
    Kicking & Screaming (2005) $20,000,000
    Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) $7,000,000

  22. “wondered why most U.S. religious organizations tend to do their hospital building overseas when there is a huge segment of the U.S. population that would benefit from some health care/charitable work here”

    Hi there: and welcome to TMV… just to add to your comment: fully 1/4 of the hospitals (may be more) in the US were built and are run by the Catholic nuns, many expanding in just this decade. Some of those Catholic hospitals tried to partner with corporate in the past, and swiftly kicked the corporates out as they did not carry the moral compass to help those who are unable or down for the final count.
    If the Catholic (and Jewish, and Presbyterian, and Lutheran, Buddhist clinics, Seventh Day Adventists, et al, hospitals/ healthcare services in the US fell, the entire US hospital system would fall apart entirely … and add into that all the Catholic clinics, all the hospices run by the religious, all the shelters for the indigent etc.)

    In foreign countries where there are Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Buddhist and other religious missions, there are also clinics, health care facilities being built on going. They sometimes may not look like a hospital in Georgia, but rather a field hospital on the veldt, but they are there. As are also huge groups of docs, nurses, heath care workers from religious groups in the US and Eu who volunteer to go to other countries for a period of time to give of their expertise gratis or nearly so. This same set of groups also travels the US and Canada and Mexico to do same.

    Is is ever enough, anywhere? No, it is not yet ever enough. From your lips to Creator's ears.

    dr.e

  23. T-S, I understand your point. But Hollywood stars have something more valuable than their personal fortunes. They have the ability to access media in ways we can't. They have star value that to many people is compelling. How they spend their money depends on their goal. It's ironic that you have taken this position in a post directly following Kathy's Dickens post. Scrooge said “are there no poorhouses? Are there no orphanages?” In this post you argue that instead of using their voice and media access to try to get our society to remedy one of its most glaring deficiencies, they should contribute to poorhouses and orphanages (so to speak).

    The conservative position is that our society does not “owe” anyone health care. If they can't pay their own way, let them seek charity from friends, family or strangers. My position is that it is in our best interest as a society to take care of our tribe members, keep them healthy and educated and informed. I want to fix the broken system, not beg Hollywood actors to be the strangers providing charity to the poor or uninsured.

  24. T
    I sent this in replied email form, but it never showed up on the thread

    I couldn't find the “pulling your leg” font, so I guess you couldn't see I was trying to be more whimsical than critical. I do have a couple general observations on how “average” people seem overly consumed with the lives of society's elites. I don't put you in that class by the way.

    You probably know better than me that this country has a regular industry that touts wealth, power, and the perfect look as a product we should all desire. Indeed, the commercialism on TV sells these iconic images as real examples of success. If I have money, I must be smart, if I look good, I am someone that others envy.

    It's this illusion of appearances that drives fashion, real estate, and ultimately, our definition of success. I believe you know that personal success has much more to do with personal mastery than external image. Image without that control is a hollow shell, and while the image can be emulated, it's the control that lasts.

    Don't mean to go down the philosophic rabbit hole, but “rich Hollywood stars” are ultimately just people who by luck now have a public exposure. Using that exposure is natural for them, but if they are personally unfamiliar with values outside that world of image, their actions may seem trite and superficial.

    Ultimately, we all do the best we can with the lights we got.

  25. Consider my leg pulled. LOL!

    Thanks the clarification. I was in “serious” mode for far too long earlier today!

  26. T

    I couldn't find the “pulling your leg” font, so I guess you couldn't see I was trying to be more whimsical than critical. I do have a couple general observations on how “average” people seem overly consumed with the lives of society's elites. I don't put you in that class by the way.

    You probably know better than me that this country has a regular industry that touts wealth, power, and the perfect look as a product we should all desire. Indeed, the commercialism on TV sells these iconic images as real examples of success. If I have money, I must be smart, if I look good, I am someone that others envy.

    It's this illusion of appearances that drives fashion, real estate, and ultimately, our definition of success. I believe you know that personal success has much more to do with personal mastery than external image. Image without that control is a hollow shell, and while the image can be emulated, it's the control that lasts.

    Don't mean to go down the philosophic rabbit hole, but “rich Hollywood stars” are ultimately just people who by luck now have a public exposure. Using that exposure is natural for them, but if they are personally unfamiliar with values outside that world of image, their actions may seem trite and superficial.

    Ultimately, we all do the best we can with the lights we got.

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