Before I start, I would just like to give a quick disclaimer: I am among the people who are attend, rent, and buy movies, and thus supporting Hollywood.
That being said, let me begin.
Why do Hollywood and its stars have so much power over the American people today?
Because we let them. Yep: you, me, and the American population have allowed celebrities to control our lives. Think about this: major A-list stars like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Julia Roberts make a cool $25 million a movie. Let's say that they make two movies a year. They are now making about $49.9 million dollars more than the average American every year.
Now think about this: the average American, let's say, is making about $50,000 a year. They are struggling to pay of bills, mortgages, and support their family of about five. In most families, both parents are working, leaving the kids with a neglected family life. Life can get so bad for these kids that they start looking for the "quick-fix" solutions like drugs, alcohol, and suicide by the time they hit middle school.
Okay, so we have our dysfunctional family. Now they need some entertainment to help them ignore their problems. Why not chose the most popular form of entertainment: the movies. And here is where Hollywood's power comes into play. Once you watch a few good movies, you start to get interested in the actors. Hollywood is more than willing to oblige you with interviews, gossip, and the whole nine yards. Why? Because more publicity means more people will see movies, meaning we give more money to Hollywood's richie-riches.
Somewhere along the line, we became interested in celebrities' personal lives. Now our dysfunctional family is buying magazines, watching TV, and surfing the internet to get the inside story on actors with a more dysfunctional personal life than theirs.
And that's not all. Now, let's talk about the Oscars. Celebrities get dressed up and hire their extra staff at a cost of about $5 million dollars per awards ceremony. And guess what? It doesn't cost them one penny of their already loaded piggy bank. The money is provided by the clothes designers who know that the American people will buy their brand of clothes if they see a famous actor wearing them.
And the stars love to run their mouth about politics. Barbara Streisand stated that if Bush was elected, she would leave the country. The Dixie Chicks said they were ashamed of the United States while they were in another country.
So what does this all boil down to? Here's another little thing to think about. If the highest salary for movie stars was set to $10 million a movie, which is still a hell of a lot of money, then there would be enough extra cash to give all 30 million people in the United States about $200 extra a year. Or let's say we give that extra to the government (and make sure it is budgeted wisely). We could improve America's education, college could be nearly free, new technology could be utilized; the possibilities are endless. And all we need is for each star to give 3/5 of their huge income to the government every year.