One of the most important lessons we should all learn, that perception IS reality. This is true for ourselves as it is for others.
This is why con artists get away with what they do. If someone is very well dressed or in a uniform of some kind, most of us automatically assume they are worthy of our attention and trust. We have no "evidence" other than what is presented to us. Another example is if someone claims to be an "expert" on something we will tend to believe what they say, even if their only expertise is selling us a product and bumping up their commission.
In the entertainment business there are many example of this. Nothing personal Mel Gibson, but he had us all snowed for many years. His image as a good husband, good Catholic, and father held up over numerous incidents of boozing and cheating. It was all chalked up to partying too much. It wasn't until we could no longer ignore the drinking, cheating, anti-semitisim, arrests, and abusive threats recorded on tape that public opinion changed. Remember Britney Spears meltdown a few years ago? We all thought Kevin Federline was the problem there...until we were faced with photos and more showing that Britney really was mentally ill and Kevin was the normal one! Can't finish this subject without bringing up John Edwards. This smiling, baby faced family man had us all reminiscing about the late JFK. Edwards was a top candidate for President until he, noble man that he was, dropped out to care for his ailing wife. It wasn't until again, presented with repeated evidence we all realized that he was hiding his mistress and love child, and paying them off with money from questionable sources, and that's the real reason he had to drop out of the race. Hmmmm....maybe he really was just like JFK.....we all know what a rascal he was!
My parents, limited as they were in resources, did teach me one of a few important lessons by example. To try to present the best image possible when you leave the house. In other words, put yourself together so you don't look like white trash. This is overlooked by so many people today who literally leave their house in the same sweatpants and t shirt they slept in and expect to be treated with respect. I also remember the ladies championship lacrosse team who showed up to a group lunch with former President Bush wearing flip flops!! This was so tacky it made the papers.
You've probably noticed I have little to say about entertainment today. There is a film being shot in town, "Lay it Down" with Bruce Willis. Don't think I'll be working on it as I was flat on my back sick when it was being cast for principles and extras.
Looks like the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists may finally merge. Long overdue. This should have been done 14 yrs ago when it was first attempted, before the internet took over so much media. Now I fear it may be too little too late. I really hope our unions do combine and become stronger. It is challenging enough being in the business with the unions. Without them I fear we would all be chewed up and spit out, since show business is the kind of business that many will work for free, those of us actual professionals benefit from the union, sometimes at a minimal level, but sometimes on a life changing level.