Millennials - Remember This: Snowflakes Melt, Unless, of Course, You Live in Siberia!

Stephen Arch         www.thedailyarch.net          sparch@comcast.net

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In order to understand my point, some background information is necessary:

This, from The Washington Times by Jessica Chasmar -Tuesday, January 24, 2017:

American novelist Chuck Palahniuk says the term “snowflake” originated in his award-winning novel “Fight Club” before it was appropriated by conservatives to disparage the “easily offended” left.

“It does come from ‘Fight Club,’” Mr. Palahniuk told The Evening Standard on the phone from his home in Oregon. “There is a line, ‘You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.’”

Actor Brad Pitt spoke the infamous line as character Tyler Durden in David Fincher’s 1999 film adaptation of the novel. The term “snowflake” has since been popularized in politics, particularly since President Trump’s rise to power, as an insult to younger generations and particularly liberals.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway recently argued that American universities are doing students a disservice by “treating these adolescents and these millennials like precious snowflakes.”

“There is a kind of new Victorianism,” Mr. Palahniuk added. “Every generation gets offended by different things but my friends who teach in high school tell me that their students are very easily offended.”

I need to begin this article with the actual video which inspired it. Sit back, watch, and enjoy!

Not very entertaining, is it? I think it lacks an extreme amount of creativity. Of course, the "people" in this "public service" piece are "actors" (by definition in the Oxford English Dictionary,  one who behaves as if acting a part).  

SNOWFLAKES.

When I first heard the term, and I did remember it from Fightclub, but I hadn't thought of it in it's new application to describe the extremely coddled, fragile, and needy generation referred to as "millennials" who are given safe places in universities, petting zoos, puppies, and the like to make them feel better because the "big, bad world" is out there just waiting to devour them. Donald Trump is out to get them, for sure, according to ACTors.

This video, which features the likes of Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, and a cast of many actors whose names and faces I do not know (remember, actors look at times much different when they are "copying" personalities in the movies in which they act) appeared leading up to the Trump inauguration.  A few working actors I know from seeing them in movies and on television, but many actors I wouldn't know because they at times, take on extremely different appearances in the movies they are tasked when they "copy" the personalities of others. (Remember that phrase:  "copy" the personalities of others).

I would not want to be called a snowflake.  

This is a portion of an op-ed piece that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette last week when, at the Golden Globe award show, actress Merle Streep demanded that actors receive respect in the political world because they are artists, and, of course, art is important:

Art is supposed to hurt sometimes:  It is the job of artists to step into the friction points of human experience, which is, by definition, a political act by Andrew Swensen January 15, 2017:

This argument has many ironies, among them: Art is about human life and society, and human life and society are, by definition, “political.” All of us make up the “polis,” the Greek word for “city,” from which we get the word “political.” 

I could not agree more with Mr. Swensen when he speaks about art being about human life experience. I totally understand where he is coming from in his description of the importance of artists in our society.

What I disagree with in this column is that he is speaking about true artists.  Let's look at this a bit closer:  when a novelist writes a story, he, or she, CREATES something. It may appear to be close to real life events, but it is a "creation of her imagination" - and we understand this. When a song writer writes a song, the songwriter CREATES something valuable, something different, something special. When a painter paints a picture, he CREATES - it may indeed be a copy of something, but it is a CREATION unique to his view of the world.  When a screen writer develops a movie, she CREATES something. When a playwright develops a play, he CREATES something new, something rare.  When a jazz musician creates a unique piece of music, he CREATES something - something different from what existed before. When essayists write editorials, they CREATE a concept piece for public consumption that can be debated, argued, dismantled, discussed.  Comedians CREATE jokes about that attempt to place some understanding on our crazy lives.

As Kurt Vonnegut so aptly put it in his acclaimed CREATION Slaughterhouse Five:  "And so it goes...".

To me, actors, although they are "lumped in" the term as "artists" who, by nature, are permitted to make political statements because that is their right, are not to be put in the same category as writers, musicians (song-writers, actually), painters, poets, and the like.  Actors simply COPY and take direction from directors and producers, who CREATE roles for them.  

Thousands of commercials have been developed over the years which have the disclaimer: THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE, NOT ACTORS.  

This speaks volumes for today's society.  And how could actors disagree with this statement - they don't argue when they are starring in a commercial that boldly claims that THEY ARE NOT REAL PEOPLE.  And, when the credits role at the end of a movie (or if you refer to any IMDb post) the CHARACTER of Frank Underwood IS PLAYED BY Kevin Spacey. In the IMDb posting of House of Cards, it reads Francis J. "Frank" Underwood is a fictional character and the protagonist of the American version of House of Cards. He is portrayed by Kevin Spacey.  Kevin Spacey is acting the role of a politician. He is NOT a politician. He just plays one on tv.

Let's look at that statement:  FICTIONAL CHARACTER, PORTRAYED BY....

And why do so many actors change their names?  Recognition, I suppose.  Compare the number of actors who go by FICTIONAL names compared to the number of painters, writers, novelists, poets, songwriters - who don't change their names.  Why is this? I know Michael Keaton could not be Michael Douglas because Michael Douglas already existed.  But why create a name. Shouldn't one be able to stand on his own with his own name?

Jamie Fox is really Eric Marlon Bishop.  Charlie Sheen is actually Carlos Irwin Estevez. Portia De Rossi is really Amanda Lee Rogers. Estevez. Amanda Lee Rogers.  Carmen Electra is actually Tara Leigh Patrick. Vin Diesel is actually Mark Vincent. Helen Mirren is actually Ilyena Vasilievna Mironoff.  Marilyn Monroe was actually Norma Jean Mortinson. Whoopi Goldberg is actually Caryn Elaine Johnson. Olivia Wilde is actually Olivia Jane Cockburn.  This takes me to my point.  If a novelist wants to make a political statement, the writer creates a book. If a poet wants to make a political statement, the poet creates a poem. If a song- writer wants to make a political statement, the songwriter creates a song.

What, then, do actors do. First, if they are political, they may seek out a political movie or play in which they can star.  But those political dramas are few and far between and there are a lot of actors out there.  For example, Daniel Day-Lewis portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in my opinion was no more than brilliant. But Daniel Day-Lewis is NOT Abraham Lincoln. He is COPYING Abraham Lincoln and ACTING as the director dictates. (Yes, I am sure many actors "bring their own talent to the role - putting their own ACTING stamp on the role). Merle Streep is an excellent example - she has the talent and the ability to PLAY any female character that she wants - she can PLAY a witch, a chef, a suffragette, a queen, a politician.  But that's the point - she can PLAY those roles. No doubt, she brings her only talents to the screen, but she is role playing with help from a creative director.

Thus, the only outlet ACTORS have in politics is to SPEAK OUT publicly because they don't create; yet, so many people place so much value in their opinions. Why is this?  

Example, I know of Michael Keaton (Michael Douglas is his real name). His sister taught me in in high school, and he is from an adjoining neighborhood as mine.  Michael Keaton is a real person, but he is an actor - an exceptional one, at that. But do I care about Michael Keaton's political beliefs? Just as much as Michael Keaton cares about my political beliefs, I am sure. Michael Keaton, as Merle Streep, Robert DiNiro, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, etc... is an excellent actor, but he is no politician. I wholeheartedly enjoy watching Michael Keaton act. He's fantastic, as is Christopher Walken. But I wouldn't call Robert DiNiro for political advice, again, as much as Robert DiNiro wouldn't call me for my advice.

(Again, and I must say this, I do indeed love every movie that Michael Keaton starred in - I am merely using him as an example. He is a fantastic actor and probably, as I have seen in interviews, a pretty good guy, and I honestly can say I have never read anything about his politics).

I think you get my point.  The only THING that ACTors have is name recognition, influence, a platform (given to them by someone with money and an agenda), and money. So, they have numerous opportunities to appear on television to tell us how "wrong" we are to support President Trump, just as ACTors did when they told us how "wrong" we were to support President Obama.  Something I don't have.

Look at Clint Eastwood and his very weird appearance at the Republican National Convention in 2008 when he had a dialogue with an invisible Barak Obama and an EMPTY chair.  Clint Eastwood, again, whom I respect for his make believe world, tried to CREATE a skit that would convince us to vote for Mitt Romney.  The attempt to CREATE failed.  Now, Clint Eastwood is a different cat.  As an ACTOR, he pretends to be someone else.  As a director, he CREATES.  And he does a pretty good job at CREATING and MANIPULATING himself and other ACTORS.  The same could be said for Mel Gibson.  He is a great ACTor.  He also is a good director, who again, assists in CREATING characters and helping them become someone they aren't in real life.

Why do we put so much stock in the opinion of actors?  It's a mystery.  Why would I allow Matthew McConaughey sway my opinion? Who really is Matthew McConaughey but a great ACTOR. 

If any of these actors really want to make a REAL name for themselves, they should write - become REAL artists, real CREATORS. Not merely puppets who play a role on stage developed by a real CREATOR, say, such as William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is a great example. He made political statements by using his CREATIVE GENIUS.  As did JD Salinger.

The reason I use JD Salinger of Cather in the Rye fame is that he wrote an extremely political novel that spoke to generations of young people trying to manipulate their lives through a very turbulent world, as did Stanley Kubrick. However, Salinger and Kubrick very seldom made public appearances, if any at all.  What they simply did was CREATE works that mirrored their society and made political statements through their own writings, their own CREATIONS.

Which takes me full circle back to the SNOWFLAKES that made the aforementioned anti-Trump video.  Why does the opinion of a bunch of wealthy, by occupation, PRETENDERS matter in our society. It shouldn't, and they shouldn't. If they want to be consider real actors who promote change, write/CREATE a book about it, write/CREATE a poem, write/CREATE a song, paint/CREATE a picture that mirrors their feelings about politics.  Heck, write an ORIGINAL and CREATIVE joke about life and politics. Anything.

And finally, SNOWFLAKES should be lucky they can speak their opinions freely in the United States. And lucky for us who live in the United States, SNOWFLAKES MELT.  If they were in a place such a Russia, and the snowflakes expressed their anger toward someone or something political, they certainly would live on as snowflakes in Siberia where snowflakes never melt.

And I do not apologize for giving them the stage in the video posted above.  Because, again, just like snowflakes, their opinions, like them, will die off soon enough and be forgotten. 

I ask this final question:  which will live longer:  the ACTING of Emma Stone or the CREATIONS of Picasso, Tolstoy, or Twain? Interesting, isn't it?

But what do I know. "There's no such thing as bad publicity" is a quote often associated with Phineas T. Barnum, the 19th century American showman and circus owner. Barnum was a self-publicist of the first order and never missed an opportunity to present his wares to the public. As with many other supposed quotations, there's no hard evidence to link the 'bad publicity' quotation to him.

Self-aggrandizement, I assume, is good for actors when they want to be politicians.

Finally, to prove my point, would Kevin Spacey THE PERSON actually spit on the face of Jesus on a Crucifix?  Probably not.  Probably offensive to him, I don't know. But Kevin Spacey the ACTOR does this.