Monday, March 31, 2008

Shameless people

Shameless people never fail to amaze me. I recently re-read an email I received from an actor during the run of a show. This actor did not change into the right costume for a scene. As a result, the stage manager and other people in the booth were talking amongst themselves wondering what had happened - and whether the costume assistant was in trouble. Since nobody complained about the costume assistant we inferred that the fault was the actor's.

So this actor complains about the noise from the booth - which occurred because of her mistake. As if the audience would notice the noise in the booth much more than the fact that this actor was wearing a completely inappropriate dress.

This wasn't the only time this happened - she missed a hugely important entrance during another performance, and when I asked her about it later her response was to simply shrug it off, like no big deal.

The shameless never blame themselves for their own mistakes but are quick to blame others. I guess shameless people must sleep better at night than the rest of us.

Probably the performing arts does not have a higher percentage of shameless people than the rest of the world, it just seems that way.

Luckily I can get a sense of perspective on this via Roy at Alicublog. At least the critical, self-satisfied, demanding, ungrateful actors I've been forced to deal with dwell in complete obscurity - and probably will always remain there - unlike Megan McArdle, who writes for The Atlantic:

As Tbogg has pointed out, Megan McArdle has previously defended her own Iraq wrongness on the grounds that her heart and methodology were in the right place and her opponents are mean, and darned if she isn't doing it again. Give her credit, though: in her follow-up, she has actually found a way to make her argument simultaneously more abstract and more viscerally offensive:

My discussion of failure in the context of the Iraq discussion is part of my broader beliefs about innovation...

To succeed quickly, he said, what you want to do is fail. A lot. Failing eliminates wrong answers faster than any possible analysis. I was reminded of the famous Thomas Edison quote: asked how it felt to have failed to invent an electric lightbulb, Edison said "I haven't failed! I've discovered 10,000 filaments that don't work."

By this point McArdle has segued to the economy, but those of us who can remember two whole paragraphs back are thinking: did she just defend the death of 4,000+ Americans and countless Iraqis on a "try try again" basis?

Why, yes she did, and I'm sure she doesn't even know what's wrong with that, except that certain mean people may insist on making a big deal of it.

I've changed my mind about the First Amendment. I want to ban Ayn Rand. Let's not lose another generation. Our dorks should be fiddling with computers, not applying their hideously deformed ethics to matters of life and death.

As always with these shameless people, whether they are actors, Atlantic writers, or the current president of the US the question presents itself - are they EVIL or STUPID?

Probably both.