Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Stars and Starlets

The entertainment industries comb the populations for stars and starlets so that audiences may be exposed to select beef and tush. By the time we have TV as well as movies, Playboy as well as the Sunday rotogravure, the entire population will be unable to love its actual spouse.
Furthermore, once the female trods the boards, she will become incapable by cultural reason after economic after social reason to bear her otherwise normal number of offspring. Now there's no genetic guarantee that beauty breeds: but better looking than average parents do tend to have better than average looking kids. Ditto intelligence, ditto motor skills. The guy with quick feet, quick hands, nimble wits will have a better than average chance of feeding his kids. If he's a star, he could feed them: if he had any.
Narcissists, public or private, don't breed at the normal rate: even if the narcissism is imposed on them by circumstance. Pamela Anderson wouldn't pass her silicon implants on to her offspring: at least not genetically; what she very well might pass on is a tendency to buy silicone implants: together with an ability to pay for them. But: how many daughters does she have?
A 1960s DW Griffith festival stimulated me to fall in love with Lillian Gish as I had with no other actress since Gulietta Masina (for her Gelsomina). Dorothy Gish too was wonderful, as were all Griffith heroines. Lillian Gish made twelve movies for Griffith in 1912. Her career in theatrics spanned seventy-five years. In her nineties she wore the same dress size she had worn at sixteen, and I for one could see her Orphans of the Storm or her Broken Blossoms in her ancient face. But how many more Lillians and Dorothys issued from her loins?
Rock Hudson ... never mind Rock Hudson. (Besides his acting consisted mainly of standing there (keeping himself in some sort of shape, I'll admit.) How many little Humphreys did Bogart breed?
Of course it's complex: looks is one determining factor: but you can have no looks, no hands or quick mind, but if you're rich enough, you also tend to forget to replenish the earth (overrun it, that is). It's even more complex: being an alpha-kleptocrat, even a poor and powerless one, tends to lure one out of the gene pool. An unemployed American WASP dropout with no discernable talents, compared to brothers of other colors around the world, will tend to breed closer to Donald Trump's rate than to that of any farmer from ancient Sumer or the pre-Columbian Mississippi.

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