The Beautiful and the Damned

I’ll be honest I only knew F. Scott Fitzgerald for The Great Gatsby, I had no clue that he had written other books and novellas and even screenplays. So a couple of months ago, Bandi & Luni’s, my favorite store (a bookstore, obviously) in Korea was having a sale on classics, I thought what the heck a free book thanks to my membership points with the bookstore.

I think that one of the ironic parts of the book was that basically his life was split amongst the three of the male characters, Anthony, Dick, and Maury, even if he didn’t know it. Anthony the man of the parties with the  beautiful wife and the money. Dick, the aspiring and then struggling writer whose later works never quite match up to his first real successful book. Maury, the guy always ready to laugh and then begins to wonder what does it all mean? And the two main loves, Pat and Gloria,  of Anthony’s life, were the two different personalities of his wife, Zelda, the young innocent girl from the Midwest that he met while he was stationed there during World War I and his wife that every other man seemed to covet but lost her joie de vivre through bouts of depression.

Apparently when he wrote The Beautiful and the Damned, he thought that the Jazz Age in America would be the most decadent and wild era of the millenium…boy was he wrong. After I check my Yahoo! e-mail account, I’m always brought to the Yahoo! homepage with links for the latest news, sports results, celebrity/public figures gossip, etc. And then there are plenty of websites that are full of late break gossip and one that you can apparently stalk your favorite celebrity, it’s that just the way to spend your day?

I was trying to watch a movie or something but before I could do that I had to watch a commerical for the “semi-scripted reality” show on MTV, The Hills. And quite honestly the only thing that I could think of as I waited for what I really wanted to watch, was how sad is this: this one girl screaming at another girl, ‘You messed with with wrong girl, dude! You messed with the wrong girl, dude! The b—– is back!’ mweo mweo mweo. This is captured on film, years from now anyone who wants to can bring this tape up and show how you were. But in the pursuit of fifteen minutes of fame, is having a lasting image of you cursing and generally disrespecting yourself and another individual how you want to be remembered? Is being a part of the “beautiful” famous crowd worth all of this self-humiliation?

I’ve had the same conversation with several people over the last couple of years: name a wholesome, good girl next door minority American actress…and it took a while to decide on Angela Bassett…and I’m serious when I said it took a while. The first time that I had this discussion, we came up empty, remember we limited this discussion to American minority actresses. Particularly for minority actresses it seems that the only way to get roles and to be accepted in Hollywood is to be the sex kitten, the comic relief, or have the gratuitous sex scene. And most minority who seemed to be “normal” (Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh, Nia Long, to name a few) have all succumbed to Hollywood pressures in regards to abandoning previous stances on filming sex scenes and self-respect and their beliefs. And for me that “damning” if you will of their self-respect and the beliefs that they left to join Hollywood is sad, because I really don’t see them the same way any more and that’s one less positive role model for young women, especially in the States that desperately want/need someone to look up to and be able to say that they didn’t compromise theirselves to fit in.

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