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How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World? (Ben Stein)
OperationHomeFront.net ^ | July 23, 2004 | Ben Stein

Posted on 09/13/2004 6:37:37 AM PDT by stainlessbanner

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.

Lew Harris, who founded this great site, asked me to do it maybe seven or eight years ago, and I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

But again, all things must pass, and my column for E! Online must pass. In a way, it is actually the perfect time for it to pass. Lew, whom I have known forever, was impressed that I knew so many stars at Morton's on Monday nights.

He could not get over it, in fact. So, he said I should write a column about the stars I saw at Morton's and what they had to say.

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 ordnance 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.

Last column, I told you a few of the rules I had learned to keep my sanity. Well, here is a final one to help you keep your sanity and keep you in the running for stardom: We are puny, insignificant creatures.

We are not responsible for the operation of the universe, and what happens to us is not terribly important. God is real, not a fiction, and when we turn over our lives to Him, he takes far better care of us than we could ever do for ourselves.

In a word, we make ourselves sane when we fire ourselves as the directors of the movie of our lives and turn the power over to Him.

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


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ben; benstein; hero; heroes; hollyweird; hollywood; military; mortons; moviestar; stein
Ben Stein's last column.
1 posted on 09/13/2004 6:37:39 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner

I can't recall one multimillionaire I really admire enough to say I consider them to be a 'role model'.


2 posted on 09/13/2004 6:38:48 AM PDT by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
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To: stainlessbanner

Ouch. I like the content but... is it just me or is his writing style flawed?


3 posted on 09/13/2004 6:41:16 AM PDT by Fenris6
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To: cyborg
Sorry this is off the subject,but does any fellow freeper one speaker at the rally yesterday quoted Kerry saying he called the soldiers Yahoo's can anyone refresh my memory on what Kerry said and to whom was it about? Thank you
4 posted on 09/13/2004 6:41:19 AM PDT by patriciamary
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To: stainlessbanner

Oh, thank you so much for posting this! I really like Ben Stein, and this piece brought a lump to my throat. He's a grand fellow I'd like to meet, sometime.


5 posted on 09/13/2004 6:42:22 AM PDT by Judith Anne (Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Grandma is beating off the Indians, and they keep on coming...)
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To: patriciamary

I do recall a thread about it, but I've not been freeping as much these days. There are so many Kerry gaffs one can hardly keep track.


6 posted on 09/13/2004 6:42:34 AM PDT by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
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To: Judith Anne

Who knew that the teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off was such a conservative gem! LOL


7 posted on 09/13/2004 6:43:26 AM PDT by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
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To: Judith Anne

Stein is a good conservative, I believe his father was as well. Wish he would keep writing.


8 posted on 09/13/2004 6:43:53 AM PDT by stainlessbanner (Hey Kerry: Flip-Flop Hurricane Ivan back out to sea!)
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To: cyborg

Anyone, Anyone?


9 posted on 09/13/2004 6:44:17 AM PDT by stainlessbanner (Hey Kerry: Flip-Flop Hurricane Ivan back out to sea!)
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To: stainlessbanner

AMEN! Well stated.


10 posted on 09/13/2004 6:44:34 AM PDT by borisbob69 (Old shade is better than new shade!)
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To: Homo_homini_lupus

Truth ping.


11 posted on 09/13/2004 6:44:36 AM PDT by Buggman (Your failure to be informed does not make me a kook.)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: stainlessbanner

13 posted on 09/13/2004 6:45:01 AM PDT by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
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To: stainlessbanner
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.

Welcome to the world the rest of us live in ...

14 posted on 09/13/2004 6:45:29 AM PDT by spodefly (I've posted nothing but BTTT over 1000 times!!!)
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To: cyborg

I thought his quiz show was hilarious! Hub and I watched it whenever it was on, for quite a while.


15 posted on 09/13/2004 6:45:57 AM PDT by Judith Anne (Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Grandma is beating off the Indians, and they keep on coming...)
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To: stainlessbanner
Ben Stein's last column.

Last as in recent, or last as in done?

If the latter, I hope he enjoys the rest of his days in insane luxury. ; )

16 posted on 09/13/2004 6:47:00 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Democrats.. Socialists..Commies..Traitors...Who can tell the difference?)
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To: stainlessbanner

I'm sending this to our Soldier penpal and his family......


17 posted on 09/13/2004 6:47:00 AM PDT by goodnesswins (VICTORY...........brings peace.)
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To: stainlessbanner
First 'Win Ben Stein`s Money' goes off the air and now his column. I will both now. Hope the Visine ads keep going.

Favorite item from WBSM - 'The electrician tried to count up all the electrical outlets in the house but he was just a jack off'.

18 posted on 09/13/2004 6:47:28 AM PDT by pikachu (The REAL script)
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To: stainlessbanner; RhoTheta

Ben rocks!


19 posted on 09/13/2004 6:48:04 AM PDT by Egon (It's starting to look like the Poodle has finally screwed the pooch.)
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To: stainlessbanner
...remembering Paris Hilton's reply to the "normal" woman when she mentioned Wal-Mart?. "Is that some place where you buy stuff for your wall?"

now the decision is...was she being honestly sincere?

*smiles*

Doogle
20 posted on 09/13/2004 6:50:31 AM PDT by Doogle (USAF...8th AF...Wolf Pack...408MMS ....Ubon,Thailand in "69" Night Line Delivery.AMMO)
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To: Caipirabob; pikachu
my column for E! Online must pass

Maybe Stein will continue writing for an outlet other than E-Online.

21 posted on 09/13/2004 6:51:13 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Fenris6

Wasn't he a speechwriter for Nixon at some point?


22 posted on 09/13/2004 6:53:29 AM PDT by Stag (Kerry, Lenin, Chirac - which one doesn't belong? Kerry. The others love their country.)
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To: cyborg
Then you don't know the right kind of money people. I know one person who, if you didn't know he was rich, sure doesn't act like some hot shot. But he also has stopped Greenpeace from docking in various ports. When he sees a small piece of trash on the street when he is walking, he picks it up.

Some people forget how to act after they earn a fistful, others know how to act because of who they are. Money won't make you successful, but it does help. The person I'm speaking of runs an extremely successful company in natural resource handling.
23 posted on 09/13/2004 6:54:37 AM PDT by Issaquahking (U.N., greenies, etc. battling against the U.S. and Constitution one freedom at a time. Fight Back !)
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To: stainlessbanner

I love Ben Stein. My son wrote to him when he was about six or seven (he loved to watch Ben's game show) and Ben sent a really sweet letter and an autographed picture. It's still up on my son's wall, right next to his Brett Favre and Reggie White autographs.


24 posted on 09/13/2004 6:54:48 AM PDT by Buttaboom (Fill in the blank)
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To: patriciamary

Yes, I do. Kerry was quoted in the book tour of duty refering to the pilot of the Cobra gunships in Viet Nam as a bunch of "trigger happy yahoos".


25 posted on 09/13/2004 6:55:04 AM PDT by Stag (Kerry, Lenin, Chirac - which one doesn't belong? Kerry. The others love their country.)
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To: stainlessbanner

bump


26 posted on 09/13/2004 6:55:08 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Stag

I believe the apeaker said it was on page 211 of Tour of Duty...which I will hereafter refer to as ...

Tour of Doody...because it is full of bullsh!t


27 posted on 09/13/2004 6:56:02 AM PDT by Stag (Kerry, Lenin, Chirac - which one doesn't belong? Kerry. The others love their country.)
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To: stainlessbanner

Ben, there is one star in the entertainment industry, and it's you.


28 posted on 09/13/2004 7:01:56 AM PDT by LisaMalia (In Memory of Sgt. James W."Billy" Lunsford..KIA 11-29-69 Binh Dinh S. Vietnam)
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To: Fenris6
but... is it just me or is his writing style flawed?

Can you be a little more specific?

29 posted on 09/13/2004 7:02:55 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: Doogle

paris hilton is pathetic white trash who happens to have rich parents.

Nice article by stein. I always liked him best in the mask.


30 posted on 09/13/2004 7:05:02 AM PDT by thirteen stars
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To: raybbr

"Can you be a little more specific?"

Yes, but if its not obvious to anyone, then it must be me :)

Just seems abrupt and akward. Doesn't flow.


31 posted on 09/13/2004 7:06:14 AM PDT by Fenris6
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To: Fenris6
is it just me or is his writing style flawed?

It doesn't flow
32 posted on 09/13/2004 7:08:03 AM PDT by Vision ("When you trust in yourself, you're trusting in the same wisdom that created you")
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To: cyborg; Judith Anne; stainlessbanner
I remember a photo of Nixon's last day in office, during his resignation speech. In his audience in the White House was the young Ben Stein tears running down his face, while listening to the resignation speech.

link to article about Ben Stein

"Young adults who grew up watching The Wonder Years and Ferris Bueller's Day Off don't know that Ben Stein was at one time a Nixon speechwriter. They see his face and one word repeats in their mind: "Bueller... Bueller..."

"But Stein is more than just an actor who made this line famous as he played a nerdy, monotone economics teacher in both shows. In fact, he is a brilliant economist and university professor in his own right." (More at link)

~~~~~~~~~

Ben is the son of the late great economist Herb Stein.

Here's an article

Remembering Herb

33 posted on 09/13/2004 7:30:56 AM PDT by texasbluebell
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To: texasbluebell

Thank you very much.


34 posted on 09/13/2004 7:35:38 AM PDT by Judith Anne (Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Grandma is beating off the Indians, and they keep on coming...)
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To: Judith Anne

Sure!

(I love Ben Stein.)


35 posted on 09/13/2004 8:02:03 AM PDT by texasbluebell
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To: raybbr

I really liked the article and forwarded it to my friends. I only read it once but the link between being a star and hero wasn't really made: maybe if he had said the real "stars" are... and then list the heroes he mentioned.


36 posted on 09/13/2004 8:05:16 AM PDT by discipler
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To: discipler
maybe if he had said the real "stars" are... and then list the heroes he mentioned.

Maybe you missed this part?

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 ordnance 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.

37 posted on 09/13/2004 1:05:12 PM PDT by raybbr
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To: stainlessbanner

BUMP! This one deserves to be read.


38 posted on 01/14/2005 8:41:33 AM PST by I'm ALL Right! (Welcome to my addiction.)
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Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: stainlessbanner
Response to Ben Stein's Reality Check on OUR REAL SuperStar's.... I would, undoubtedly like to respond to this article. As busy as my daily schedule has become, I will take time to acknowledge this important issue & to state I agree wholeheartedly that we as a “people” have indeed turned our sights toward the wrong idles & superstars. Most of these persons are selfish, sef-indulgents, closed minded, and under such living conditions in self-taught thoughts, become reality to themselves and those that ultimately place such high regards & beliefs toward, the ones most consider to be super-stars & idles to admire can be viewed as the center piece leaning our society to ruins. The super-stars of our society are movie actors & actress's, sports players, and sometimes even criminals are idolized ( & protected )by our society.
It appears that our “society” has long ago begun to loss sight of “Wisdom”, the ability to make good judgment. Those that truly deserve the most from all that live under the Freedom of our country, Teachers, Men & Woman in our Armed Forces, Police Officers, Social Workers for Child Advocates are barely recognized and compensated the least of a decent wage to reflect any appreciations for the very society they serve faithfully. Mark 6:1, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is he without honor” Meaning those in this country we should honor & hold high respect we ignore & refuse to acknowledge with any honor or reflection for which is deserved by which they contribute to this society & country!
How many times have we heard “ Blood is thicker than water”, meaning I will defend you based on who you are, not for right or wrong. The moral thinking & (family) teachings within the boundaries of this county has long ago become the core at which is the end of decency for which our founding Fathers stood strong & proud! The basic core teaching only 20-40 years past has long since been viewed as worthless. Yet our young stand for a failing foundation. Where is Faith, Trust, Respect, Honor, Compassion. The reasons for building, fighting for and believing in a free country. A country where one can chose the life style & moral standard freely without restrictions, where sometimes the consequences of our choices aren't even viewed as needing attention....however, our teachers suffer abuse, disrespect & sometimes harm, our police officers protect our communities, rise to the dangerous call, sometimes losing their life only for his family to fight for every ounce of help from the very society he honored by his protection.
Our society is confussed & fickled, to state the least. We stand for the wrong, fight against the right, have too many chiefs, don't honor those in the position of leadership yet complain about his performance. We have destroyed our own language, no longer teaching pride to our young to pronounce & speak with honor. The days of idle hands has been among us for a very long time & the results have lead our young to misleading talents. Most persons have no idea why they believe what they think they hold true, with no basis of facts reality comes truths which leads to a confused & fickled society.
There should be not tolerance for drugs, abuse, misbehavior or the lights with our sports players, especially since it's the people creating the extreme pay checks. Our society must regain their rights to our Government, stop allowing this Government to rule our country, we are to run this agency not the other way around! Remove the extreme pay checks & pedestal from those least deserving & reward those that honorably protect, teach & serve everyone of us in this country.
I agree with Mr. Stein that we may have all at some time placed high regards to those that entertain us & will continue to entertain us. However, it's going to be a very sad day when we will answer to our reality check one day & realize to late we have placed beliefs in the wrong arena. When perspectives becomes reality to us we tend to lose sight of the truth.
I believe in most cases a personal situation causes most to realize the importance of life in the way God wants us to see & believe in it. I further believe that by choosing not to believe in God, one may need to do their own research instead of believing simply from personal option without facts to back that option.
This country was founded on the faith & trust in God by our founding Fathers, history research clearly proves this. Why have we taught our society this belief in not important in ones life?
Faith, Respect, Honor, Compassion are all the mixture for a healthy, moral foundation at which to live. All we do, all we believe in, all each of are ( character) are based on our personal beliefs.
IF our top respect level is for a sports player or actress yet we don't believe in God, how can we truly Honor those at which deserve this Honor the most.
The most disturbing fact is that most persons making the extreme pay-check forget what true reality is & rarely if ever give to the needy or unfortunate. And when they do, they always make public notice of it for personal reward or acknowledgments. An unworthy act if one does a good deed from the heart.

I believe in & give prayer & thanks to the underdog, the less fortunate, the men & woman of the armed forces fighting for whats right for “peoples” lives, the police officer that serves his people every day in every call, the working mother with children to be feed, the farmer that plants dawn to dust, the child protection agency that is overloaded with cases & extremely under paid,
and pray for the lonely thats lost, the sad & hurting, the confused & depressed, the volunteer, the elderly spending each day without a hug or kind word and the mistreated/abused child.

I learned a long time ago not to take things for granted. A day changes everything!
Give Thanks to those that truly deserve the appreciation & respect and better treatment. And Always Stand or what is Right, Honest & Compassionate!

Diane Voudouris

40 posted on 07/30/2008 6:04:40 AM PDT by DMVoudouris
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To: latina4dubya

ping


41 posted on 07/30/2008 6:09:47 AM PDT by scripter ("You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." - C.S. Lewis)
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