Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Letter to Hollywood

May 10, 2010

Dear Mr. Clooney, Mr. Pitt, Ms. Jolie, Mr. Asner, Mr. Belafonte, Bono, Ms. Garofalo, Ms. Fonda, Mr. Gere, Mr. Harrelson, Ms. Lange, Mr. Lee, Ms. MacLaine, Mr. Maher, Mr. Moore, Mr. Penn, Ms. Latifah, Mr. Robbins, Ms. Sarandon, Mr. Stone, Mr. Williams and others who are unable to be with us tonight – or this week – or ever, really:

I simply want to thank you for nothing. That’s what you have done for our community. You, the loud mouth purveyors of artistic truth, have been silent. Only 30 people have died here so your silence is understandable. And there has not been one incident of looting, robbery or arson – not yet, anyway. Everything’s fine, other than the 30 people who died, the tens of thousands displaced from their homes, a clean water emergency and an estimated $1.5 billion in damages.

Nashville – it’s in Tennessee, which is east of Los Angeles (to the right if you are looking at a two dimensional map,) west south west, more or less, from New York City, north of New Orleans, northwest of Haiti and in a galaxy far, far away from the perspective of your primping mirror. From the LA area you would need to travel east roughly 2,000 miles by car or you can fly but there are few direct flights, if any. It is, after all, one of America’s minor cities that American Airlines abandoned after demanding a new airport (which we built) to qualify as one of their hubs a few years back. This may make it necessary to change planes in Phoenix (sorry, scratch that,) Denver or Dallas. Mr. Penn, you seem bright enough to do a Map Quest search if you’d like to find us. Maybe you and George can make the drive together and irritate the shit out of each other rather than us.

By the way, I know most of you have contact info for The Very Reverends Sharpton and Jackson and I think it would be nice if they tagged along, also. I’m certain they may recall that this hillbilly hub of white trash was a most significant centerpiece of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. The downtown sit-ins at department store lunch counters, peaceful student protests by TSU Tigers, fire hoses, fistfights and The Fisk Jubilee Singers mark major milestones in this country’s slow-motion movements toward equality. It may be edifying for these men of the cloth to witness what is going on here in case they encounter a future disaster in which they see an opportunity to spew more words that undo decades of slow-motion attempts at progress. We are doing something that is not unusual for cities, regions and states in which people actually work – we are helping each other rather than crying foul and sitting helplessly and hopelessly on the streets waiting for someone else to come to our aid. Oh, and if they do come, have them bring a Bible for a change. There are many here who would love to challenge you to an old-fashioned Bible drill. My thirty pieces of silver are on us.

I’d also be grateful if you could contact some of your PR folks – you know - those people who spin your bad press and follow you all over the world when you adopt children from foreign countries (never from West Virginia) and get divorced? Maybe they could help us tell our story – a story far less important than a failed terrorist bomb in Times Square, an oil spill in The Gulf of Mexico, Sandra Bullock’s conniving, soon-to-be-ex and that horribly egregious new law in Arizona that seeks to undo decades of hand-wringing and apathy in our federal government.

We would love it if Michael and Spike could bring their cameras and wit, too. I can only imagine the great film the two of these masters could make together here in Nashville. It’s right up their alley: destruction, the tearing down of tradition, desperate people, tragedy, etc. The only problem they may encounter is the clear evidence of hope that is radiant around town. But, I’m sure they can work around that and create a fallacious film about our reality – with the help, of course, of Oliver’s inability to see, understand, process or translate anything but lies and distortion.

Oh, and please bring your tuxedoes, bowties and gowns. We are planning a nice dinner and awards show while you’re here and will treat you to some of that great southern hospitality and lots of that country-western music you like so much. We had planned on having it at The Opry House but it has been destroyed so we began making arrangements to move it to one of our convention centers downtown but they’re under water so we contacted our beautiful symphony house but it was flooded, too as was our 17,000 seat arena, our 60,000 seat football stadium and much of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Not to worry, we’ll figure something out.

Anyway, I guess that’s it. Again, thanks for nothing. The power just came back on so I’m headed to our little den to watch some old episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, The Johnny Cash Show and The Beverly Hillbillies. This all happened before The Flood – The Great Flood of Your Transparent Shallowness.

“Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?”


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