New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Good Read - Ben Stein's Last Column
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Check for SWFA's No Reserve and No Minimum bid firearm auctions.

Good Read - Ben Stein's Last Column

 Post Reply Post Reply   Topic Search Topic Search  Topic Options Topic Options
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2009 at 07:32
cpwomack View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman

Joined: January/29/2009
Location: Chattanooga
Status: Offline
Points: 522
Ben Stein's Last Column:
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I 'slug' it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is 'eonlineFINAL,' and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a 'star' we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit , Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of  Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordinance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.
I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament: the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the  World Trade Center  as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin or Martin Mull or Fred Willard or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq  or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.
By Ben Stein

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2009 at 08:06
Dogger View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
Optics Jedi Knight

Joined: January/02/2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 5339
Excellent message there.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2009 at 10:02
budperm View Drop Down
Optics Retard
Optics Retard
show me your sheep!!

Joined: January/01/2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Status: Offline
Points: 27546
Yes Excellent message!  A real wake up call to alll those who can hear it!
It carries a deep ring of truth to it, doesn't it!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2009 at 10:15
8shots View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
Optics Jedi Knight
Lord Of The Flies

Joined: March/14/2007
Location: South Africa
Status: Offline
Points: 5725
This is so true. I have allways thought that Hollywood stars are real ...well you know what. Sure, anyone on the top of their game deserves the fruits of their labour. I would however say in fairness, that just because someone wears a uniform does not automatically qualify him as a super star. He must also be on the top of his game.
That brings me to talent: Does someone deserve more just because God gave him a talent such as beauty, ball skills etc?
Why should an ugly actor with the same skills be less respected then a handsome one?
Our Capatilist system says "YES".
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2009 at 13:49
errol_barean View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: May/20/2009
Status: Offline
Points: 1
"Our Capatilist system says "YES"."

And unfortunately the people eat it up and ask for more rarely wondering what else could be.

That is a great and accurate article.  I wish there were a way that people would really listen to it across the globe and stop admiring celebrity wannabe criminal rap stars.
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Similar Threads: "Good Read - Ben Stein's Last Column"
Subject Author Forum Replies Last Post
Very good read scubasteve Rifle Scopes 1 2/27/2007 11:02:46 AM
Another Good Read By JB jwp475 Binoculars 21
Any info on Karl Stein Prismalyt? Sherman321 Binoculars 2
Interesting read helo18 Tactical Scopes 7
Votex 6-24 pst good bad ugly porkchop401 Tactical Scopes 5
Lightning from last night Skylar McMahon Hot Shots 10
Last nights attempts Skylar McMahon Bows 6
Reference reading for binoculars. Losthwy Binoculars 1
need advice on the last scope i will buy cfalcon Rifle Scopes 27
Last Night's Dinner Skylar McMahon Critter Cooking Café 31

This page was generated in 0.344 seconds.