Having lived here for just under a year in the past and more recently for close to the same, I feel I’ve gotten a decent enough feel for Los Angeles to accurately critique the Hollywood mindset that permeates the region.
One thing I’ve really noticed is how many people complain that it’s a city filled with “fake people”. And in many ways that is true. They’re too politically correct, too paralyzed by a fear of being judged or coming off as offensive, and are just nervous in general (even if they hide it masterfully). Hilariously, they envy New York (where I’m originally from), seeing it as some kind of utopia of openness.
I’m not even going to touch on how they couldn’t be more wrong about New York (unless they really love suppressive police states with high taxes and shitty weather), but I will say that I couldn’t be happier with Hollywood. Why? Because it’s freeing. When you see so many people in chains of their own making… whether it’s the need to be skinny or simply having the best rims, it’s all superficial bullshit. And if you are aware of this already then you have the power within you to resist such nonsense. But many of the people I’ve encountered are unable or unwilling to do so, opting instead to remain in chains. When I’m surrounded by people voluntarily beholden to societal expectation, I can’t help but feel liberated by comparison.
Why do they opt for these chains? I can only theorize, but I believe most of these Hollywood-types aren’t actually pretending. They might do what is expected at first only because it’s expected, but after awhile it becomes more than habit. It becomes a lifestyle. It becomes a personality type, this incessant need to please everyone else and neglecting ones self. This is why I generally don’t look down on such people, because they are in fact victims of society and eventually became victims of themselves. Once the “fake” lifestyle becomes old hat, these people aren’t happy. Not at all. And that’s how I know they’re victims because nobody would purposefully torture their psyches to such a fucked up degree. It might start as a weakness in character, but pretend for a long enough time and eventually it’s no longer much of a decision to be a puppet for the masses and the strings no longer have any resistance when tugged.
So no, I cannot simply condemn Hollywood because all this city does is say, “Hey, we’d like you to do X, Y, and Z.” Then the people decide whether or not to jump through the hoops. Emphasis on the word decide. If nobody jumped, the hoops would be lowered. When everyone jumps, the hoops move higher. And that is how this city works, folks. That is why the hoops, the expectations, are so artificially raised. The majority just isn’t willing to take a stand. Without the weak, the insecure, those lacking in self-esteem… Hollywood has no power. YOU have the power and always have.
That’s why I feel I can make it in this city and why I might even discover happiness here. Because I’m not caving, I’m not buckling, I’m not sacrificing. I’m just being me, and that kind of purity is simply not common in Hollywood. And who is it that succeeds most, specifically in the entertainment industry? The ones that stand out instead of selling out. The free spirits. The genuine.
So stay free, my friends. Don’t bend over.