The Official Website of
Paul Michael Glaser
"Our ability to love is our truest power, our greatest power as human beings." PMG
June 23, 2007
Paul Michael Glaser Speaks at
La Sierra University.
On Celebrity and Social Activism
PAUL: I think before you talk to celebrities in the community or the celebrity or what a celebrity can or can not bring to the table, I think it?s really important to recognize why we have celebrities, why we create celebrities. Ahm, and I know I talked about this morning, but at the risk a being a boring professor who says ?Well if you didn't get it then, you?ll get it know??.. (Laughter) Ahm, (coughs) excuse me, my favorite expression in defining how I relate to celebrity and how it terrified me when it happened is that ?People create their Gods in order to eat them?? ?People create their gods in order to eat them." That can be something that as harmless as these autograph that you asked for, pictures that you take, I happen to be the celebrity right now, it can be more significant like wanting to take their shirt off a performers back or jumping over their fence and invade their privacy. It can be a letter written to them asking for a response or it can be a communion wafer of the blood of Christ ?. because there too, you are asking for a piece of that God. You know, we create Gods, heroes, it?s synonymous in an interesting way, to teach us and what is it they teach us. They teach us that it?s possible to over come our fear of death, to over come our fear that we have no impact of our own mortality.
The example I used this afternoon was of the baseball player, World Series, last inning, 2 outs, 3 and 2 the count, bases loaded, trailing by 3 runs. Here comes the pitch, does he have it together enough to stand there and face with all his fear and miss the ball, stay present, keep his eye on the ball and hit it out of the park? And if he does, he has exemplified our ability in the face of our fear to stay present and to connect. That?s very, very important thing to understand. Because in doing that, that person embodies our own need to believe that we can, we can make a difference and we can stand up, we can stand in the face of our fears of having no power, no control,?.. not being able to make a difference, our fear of failure. You can list all the things you want but they all really come down to the bottom line of fear of death, of mortality and I?ll explain that in a second. That person?s ability to do that elevates them to a level where they become exemplary to us and they become ? Gazuntite (to audience member) ... an icon worthy of our worship. We look to pictures and pieces of that person to remind us that it is possible. We?ve created a whole religion around that. All of our religions are created around that. I think it?s really important that we understand this concept so that we can understand our own need for celebrity. Each of us has a need for celebrity, not our own celebrity but a celebrity that we can look to. At dinner we were talking and you mentioned ah, this ah, ah story of Paul Newman, somebody else mentioned, Dan I think, mentioned a story about somebody else. I remember once, I was at a birthday party for Buddy Hackett at the Jonathan Club and I was standing there next to an ice sculpture display at the buffet, all that shrimp, and I heard this voice behind me, right behind me, and I knew that voice. I turned around and there was Cary Grant... and I couldn?t speak. I couldn?t open my mouth, I was tongue tied. So, we all have this need.
Now, I?m gonna digress a little bit and talk about where this need comes from as far as I can understand, and what I think. Whatever the point of conception you want to believe in, whether it?s the sperm meeting the egg, or the child being born, wherever you want to point your belief, there?s a moment in time when you biologically start to exist and at that moment in time at animal level, you in a cellular knowledge know that the clock has started to tick. You know at an animal level you?re gonna die.
Now, when you?re born and your brain starts functioning going ?Woo?, there?s a world out here, hmm what do I want and I?m in the middle of this all and I?m hungry and I?m this and I?m that. The notion that you have no control over this event becomes an anathemas to the mind and the mind perceives to create as many illusions of empowerment, of control, of ability to affect a difference as it can. I am this, I believe in this, I understand this, I built this, I own this, this is my favorite color, my name is, I?m pretty, I?m ugly, I?m tall, I?m short, I?m strong, I?m weak,... the mind goes through a whole set of machinations to create an illusion that has some power, but the dirty little truth still exists is that in this arena, in this area of mortality, it has none,... none, zero. So we react in many different ways to that. We get angry, we get depressed, which is anger turns inward, we get sad, we get glutinous, we engage what we identify as our sins. We do anything to get away from that feeling of that fear that we have no power, that we have no control.
Well the master, Christ, Buddha , all the great masters and teachers through time, learn something really valuable, and they studied it, and they learned it, and they spoke to it and it?s still being studied today and what fascinates me is how it translates. If I were to ask you at any given time, or ask myself, was I scared, I would say, ?Yes, I?m scared? and I would use the words ?I am scared?. Is that who I am? I?m sacred? No, What I mean is a part of me is scared. Now if I?m saying that a part of me is scared and I can identify it and I can define it at any given time, maybe its in my neck, maybe its in my stomach, maybe its in my chest, it?s a headache,... that means there?s a part of me that isn?t scared. Interesting concept! You mean the top of my head isn?t scared, my earlobe isn?t scared, my right finger isn?t scared? Well, what part of me is able to look at all these observations, what part of me is able to look and sit back and go" that part of me is scared and that part of me isn?t scared. That part of me is happy, this part of me isn?t happy." That part of me that can make that observation, that part of you that can make that observation is the same part that can put you, that can, right now here in this room, can put yourself on the ceiling of this room and see yourself sitting in your seat right now listening to me. Sometimes you can even go so far as to say that that?s the same part that can watch yourself think. Oh, I?m thinking about what I m gonna say next. ?Oh my throat feels scratchy?, my throat feels scratchy. What is this place of awareness that we?re making all this observation from? This place that sees, that knows? We call this our consciousness, our awareness. And when were in touch with this place that knows awareness of consciousness, we have a choice? and the choice is, do we beat the living day lights out of ourselves for being so helpless or to go ?Wow?, this is really tough being this human being, resolving this mortality thing. Having no power at being scared, not wanting to acknowledge or deal with the fear ? too much Chinese food .. and the ability to choose to have compassion for yourself in that place of being a human being. The ability to have compassion for yourself, the ability to forgive yourself for being helpless, the ability to forgive others and have compassion for others is born out of ones ability to recognize from that place of awareness?. . our predicament and how a part of us is scared and what the masters understood was that?.. its not so much a question of avoiding your fear, its a question of being able to acknowledge it because it shows you your heart. You need to experience your fear to get in touch with that place of awareness in order to find your love,?. fear and love, they exist together, ying, yang.
Well why am I digressing and talking about all of this? What we expect of our celebrities should be no more or less of what we expect from ourselves because each one of from when we?re born, we?re the center of our own universe is a celebrity. So then what do you say about that demarcation between those that achieve some level of visibility, or recognition or celebrity and those of us that feel condemned to a life of ?animinity?? I say that with a little bit of levity, hopefully! Well we can say that people create their Gods in order to eat them! I have mine, Jimmy Stewart, ah, not Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, I would have done the same with Jimmy Stewart?. So with that in mind what should we expect of our celebrities more or less of what we should expect of ourselves? Aren?t they the embodiment of what we find we what want to be, would like to be, think we could be, because they either look like us or they hit a baseball the way we would like to be able to hit a baseball or to sing a song the we we?d like to be able to sing a song? Because their humanities through whatever medium they are gaining their celebrity in, their humanity moves or humanity. That being said, at the end of the day a celebrity is no different than you or I, excuse me, than you?. . joke, joke, joke (laughter)! Really, think about it, think about it! The, you?ll have some celebrities who are more in touch with their humanity, some who are more in touch with their narcissism, some that are more in touch with they?re power, some that are so stoned they?re not in touch with anything at all because they?re a reflection of all of us. So when a celebrity functions in a socially, conscious way... wonderful! When a celebrity functions in a sociably irresponsible way, see that in yourself forgive that celebrity as much as you?d forgive yourself or would hopefully forgive yourself.
How we relate to our celebrity, the concept of celebrity, the act of celebrity, the act of worshiping another human being, how we relate to that stands to teach us more than we get from an autograph or photograph. Those that are chosen by fate, by the crossing of the stars to arrive at a cross roads where there?s 4000 bright lights and everybody?s watching, those who are chosen to become celebrities believe me are no different than a virgin about to be tossed off the volcano? joke.. true! (Laughter) We want them to be our Gods and what we need to do is let their being their celebrity show the Gods or God in ourselves. So you have celebrities that act sociably consciously and that go out into the world and state their beliefs, put their money where their mouth is and that?s their journey, that?s what they?re about. They teach no less than the celebrity who stays at home. It?s too easy for us to judge those, but they teach no less a lesson because there?s a side of all us that would just assume stay home and as much as there?s a side of us that would like to be able to go out and make everything all better and OK in the world. That?s my riff on celebrity, that?s my take on it, that?s my relationship to it and that?s my experience of it. Is there anything anybody wants to ask or talk about or discuss?
Question1: Indeed the pediatric AIDS foundations tweaked this campus into launching a drive for 1000 quilts for AIDS victims in Africa and that was in part of your discussion for pediatric AIDS foundation. We got 17,000 quilts the first season and they still come rolling in. The question is on the foundation and celebrity. I have read not much in the area on the foundation, but a couple of articles argued that the old timers, Rockefeller, etc, umh, were conscious money founded foundations and had very little ties with them but the new timers, ahm, Silicon Valley and ..??? foundations are very much hands on and tied in. Is that a too generalized or is there truth to that?
PAUL: I think it is too generalized, if you don?t mind me saying so. I think it?s ? I think it?s so easy for all of us to judge and I think a guy who?s born into three generations of money may arrive at an epiphany to do good or to make it count. I?m not there on the wall, I?m not a fly on the wall in the house, so I don?t see whether that happens or not or whether it?s a tax shelter or a tax dodge I don?t know. In the case of the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, you had a mother who lost a daughter who stood in danger of losing her son who said "Why isn?t there more being done for pediatric medicine and for children?" and organized the foundation because in the face of her helplessness, she had to feel like she could do something. She did a great thing, don?t get me wrong, she did a great thing and she was also deified for it, she was made into a Saint? .. which is an interesting thought to keep in mind. She?s just a person, a human being who fought the same fight we all fight, who did what she had to do in a given time, in a given way and did the best she could do. Then you got someone like Bill Gates, now Bill Gates, I?ve never met him personally. I know he gave our foundation $15 million for a program that we started called "Call to Action" which inseminates drugs and education to underprivileged company? countries.. third world countries to help interrupt the cycle of transmission from mother to newborn. There?s a man with a lot of money who takes looks around him and says something?s gotta be done with this. They?re all individuals, people like you and me and I don?t know that it isn?t, not only our place to judge, but it may? . and I do this too, those Yankees, I hate those Yankees! How can I say that, some of them are very nice people even though I?m from Boston (Laughter), but we all do that, don?t we... we all kinda practice our own kind of racism, we all bunch people together. I don?t know, I don?t know except thank God there are people out there that balance people that wouldn?t do it, you know, and there should be a lot more. There is what there is.
Question2: Do you find through your experience, ahm, with your wife that you over came your fear of death or did it become more fearful of it?
PAUL: No, I don?t think you ever over come it and I don?t think you want to over come it because I don?t think it?s possible number one, and I think what you learn or what I learn or what I learn to study through some great fortune that I found some really good teachers and one in particular, what I learned, that my friend? my fear was my friend. My fear gave me the opportunity to make choices from those conscious places that enabled me to grow my heart, so experiencing my fear was as important as some fantasized pursuit of a place of always being happy, they don?t exist ? (his cell phones rings)?.. and I told you if my cell phone goes off, you?d know it. Does anybody wanna dance? I?ll just turn it off. Ahm, you know its funny how life works because, when I was in college, I used to write poetry and when I was in college my niece, my sister?s daughter, no it was after college, my niece, asked me if I would take out an ad in her yearbook and I said I would if you put one of my poems in and she said OK. This is just an observation, the poems an interesting poem and I?ll read it to you in a second, but it?s interesting to me to look back and see that my journey was with fear or dealing with fear for a long time in my life even before I ever
A.) became a celebrity;
B.) Met my wife;
C.) Went through the whole AIDS thing.
It?s interesting. It?s interesting because that each of us be able, without judgment, no judgment whether it?s good, bad, right, wrong we should be able to witness our individual journey with some curiosity and amazement. ?WOW?, look at the lessons I have to learn now. Look at what my lessons are. You gonna do it till you do it right, Look at my lessons. The universe gives us not what we want but what we need and and maybe it was, you know, fear was a major theme in playing itself out. And this is the poem I wrote:
"Fear is amazing thing
It wraps its arm around you
It smothers your breath
It holds your heart in the palm of its hand
It thrills your life to death."
So there you are! (Laughter)
Question 3: Do you think that?s an unhealthy relationship between celebrity and philanthropy? I mean, I think of Charles Bronson?s wife, she had breast cancer and became sort of the face of breast cancer and a lot of money was donated to breast cancer and then when the next celebrity came, like Lance Armstrong with testicular cancer, less money goes to breast cancer and more money went to testicular cancer.
PAUL: Well, how, how would you define the word ?unhealthy??
Questioner 3: Well it sort of becomes the philanthropy of the moment. Bill Gates, ah, primarily a famous figure.
PAUL: So that?s wrong?
Questioner3: I don?t know, is it, is it?
PAUL: Well, I?m asking you, is it?
Questioner3: It does seem like it?s a transit perhaps not a general philanthropy spirit, but ah, more of the moment, a very momentary impulse.
PAUL: However it brought attention to the cause and allowed certain monies to accumulate and allowed research to be done that furthered the cause.
Questioner 3: Ah, I don?t know?
PAUL: I think the, the value of your question is in the act of judgment that we all succumb to, you know, if it had been the President?s wife,would it have been any different. Depends on who?s in the White House, democrat or republican (Laughter).. ahm (he laughs). You know, its again, it?s given the visibility especially in our capitalist society where our conditioning and our training is to reward material success, to seek material success as if it were a panacea, as if it were an antidote to our fear or helplessness, which ultimately it doesn't?t as witnessed by the Har Kaufman play ?You Can?t Take it With You?.
Ahm, but we?re trained, we?re conditioned. There?s our mind again, what I was talking about before. Remember what I was telling you about the master?s were studying and teaching that whole notion, our minds seeking for some sense of control, some sense of empowerment creates belief systems and value judgments and qualifications and quantification's. Is it unhealthy the mind asks? Is it bad, is it good, is it right, is it wrong? You know, in Buddhists tradition.., lets see if I can get this right, they try to avoid aversion or attachment. So if you look at the pendu... you know how the universe expands and contracts, we breathe out, we breathe in, what goes up, what comes down, we live, we die, it?s always these opposite motions that are going on. And, ah,... I lost my thought, ahm?, must have been that Chinese food (laughter).. ahm. What was I saying? Avision, aversion, so you have these two motions going, these two motions going in the universe. Well, another motion you can describe is the swing of a pendulum. So the pendulum comes all the way over to fear and we go no way, get away, I?m out a here! What can I do, how can I cover this up? Gimme something to eat, gimme something to smoke, gimme, oh I?m out a here, I don?t wanna deal with this! I believe in this, Dear God! We do everything we can think of and then the pendulum swings the back and all along the middle spot there?s this (he takes a deep relaxed breath)? peace and then it's gone and it swings all the way to the other side and sweet lovely, mmm, yeah, I love that, she?s/he?s wonderful, oh I love that, it feels good, tastes good, Oh my God, money, oh success, security, comfort can?t hold on to it cause the pendulum is already heading back and it?s gonna pass that moment where you go ?Oh I?m one with everything" and then it goes back, so you keep talking about aversion and attachment or attachment and aversion and how you need to avoid those. Not avoid them, but don?t get invested in them. Witness it, experience it, go ?Oh, look at me. I?m being so attached to something right now.? Don?t kick yourself in the butt and go ?You schmuck? rather go ?That?s an, a, really interesting part of my unique journey in this body, in this life in this time.? Ah, I think it?s really a healthy thing to cultivate that. I know I?m always trying to do it. Someone ticks me off. Oooo, I can get foul. I did this morning. Ok, so.. (Laughter)..
Question4: How old were you when you first became aware of having a sense of humor?
PAUL: (Laughs) I don?t know, are you talking about preciosity? (Real hearty laugh) I don?t know! I don?t know, I don?t know..ah .ah How old was I? How old am I? How old am I? I don?t know. I think emotionally, probably, I?m somewhere in my forties now.
Question 5: You kind of explained like your life?s philosophy here and I was wondering how you take that and apply it to your humanitarian work that you do and how it shapes your goals in that area?
PAUL: Well, you know, a lot of it is a product, in other words? . what prompted me after my wife passed away, what prompted me to become Chairman of the Board of the foundation, I thought, I thought, was I wanted to continue with her work, and make a difference and that was true to an extent, to an extent. You also get an awful lot of kudos and you get a lot of sympathy ?Oh did you get through that?? ?My God you are so amazing! How did you get through that?? How did I get through that? I don?t know, I put one foot in front of the other. However, what I was aware of was that I was studying in my journey ah, a year before Elizabeth died and through that year she, and subsequent years, I was studying how to keep from becoming a bitter old man and become more in touch with my capacity for love because it was my survival.
So when I went out to talk for the foundation I would speak to what I was studying and how it related to my understanding of what the whole AIDS epidemic stood to teach us as people about ourselves, about our planet, about our survival, about our journey, about our individual journeys by exploring my journey. I?ve always maintained when I?ve acted and directed and now when I write, that it?s really, really important to identify for myself the parallel between the thing I?m working on and my life at that point in time,? so that I know why I?m there. That?s what I?m studying, so when I get in trouble I know where home plate is. I can go ?Oh, OK?, cause we all want to get in as much trouble as we can when we?re creative, that?s the secret, isn?t it, to get lost because we are lost and we?re on a perpetual state of trying to find between attachment and aversion. So I think the foundation served me as much I served it, I,?. I learned a lot and I, I stepped down with tremendous amount of feelings of ambivalence, you know, I enjoyed the work, I enjoyed being able to share with people and talk and fashion, ah, ah,ah, you know, ah,ah, what?s the word I want,.. ah, ah where the foundation is going and we grew it to a much bigger foundation and I wanted to insure that the true, the true ,ah, journey of the foundation, the true mission, you know every foundation has a mission statement, oh my God, mission statement!
Well, the true mission of the foundation, I believed was that it was exemplary for the world of what it?s possible to do by joining hands. So, that to me has and always has and continues to be what the foundation was about and I was trying to learn it and study it and I?m still trying to learn it and study it. I just decided that, it got to a point where you know, I have a new wife, a new daughter, it?s difficult for them going back into that world all the time and I have done my thing there and I really wanted to get back to telling stories because story telling happens to be one of the ways in which I get to share myself and what I?m studying, and what I, ah what, ah what I believe, so, ah, that?s why I made that choice.
Question 5: You?ve been talking about the relationship between celebrities and humanitarianism I was wondering if you could talk about artists and the capacity they have to think creatively and to imagine those possible worlds and to make those possible worlds visual to the rest of us. There?s something in the power of actors, directors and writers where they?re just skills that bring these particular skills to ???(can?t hear the rest)
PAUL: Well, yes, I mean you know, it?s all about telling stories, ah, you know, I often envision in the, in the trade routes you know when they first happened, where the first camel caravan ran into the first camel caravan, right, and they looked at each other and (he sniffs) they smelled each other and they?re suspicious dadadah, and they got over their initial fear of each other and they weren?t gonna destroy or eat each other, they start telling stories. ?You should hear about my wife, she makes me nuts!? or you know, ?I gotta kid and he?s always doing this?, or ?This guy was at the watering hole? and they start telling stories which is their way of communicating and in an oral tradition their society, and it became the tradition for handing down, their old tradition of handing down their lessons to each generation. And then there were those that were talented and the guy in the in a cave and scratch a buffalo on a thing, right, and he? or she, was able to, had a gift of capturing that animal in flight on the edge of a cave... and that spoke to people. Were those people with those gifts of story telling or imaging or coloring, were they, did they arrive at that gift because of some magic wand? I don?t think so. I think they arrived with those gifts because of a degree of sensitization that happened as they evolved either in the way they were exposed to things or taught things or if they needed to see things the way I needed to see something; I need to see the light and not the object.
I started,.... I was telling you this afternoon that, on how, how I was teaching a master?s class in directing and I said ?Who here feels that they are compelled and would absolutely die if they didn?t direct?? One person raised his hand. The others thought it was a good idea, wanted to find out what it was about, it was a couple of credits, there wasn?t a lot of homework,.. only one person felt compelled. And I give the same advice to actors, if you feel you are truly compelled, go to New York, get a job, see if you can survive on the streets of New York, while you?re banging on doors, getting a few auditions, and trying to get a break and if you can do that then you are compelled. Then you are compelled, then you are creating and experience a creation of your need, of your sensitization to express yourself in a certain way.
So an artist who has a gift because he sees things in a certain way. Maybe my gift as a story teller and an actor came out of my own particular journey with my mother and father. My father was a workaholic and my mother was? she had her own barrel of problems. But she?d get me up there and perform, my sisters up there and perform and we?d perform and carry on. It became a language that I could speak. And my need, my yearning to communicate sensitized me to how people talked, acted and looked. So I became perceptive, not because I was any kind of a genius but because those were my physically, psychological and emotional needs in the face of whatever yearning I had as a child,... so an artist needs to see something that way and we need, because we all have our own individual private yearning, we need to have that communicated from within us, out and back to us. We need the mirror that graphic artists, musicians and performers provide to reaffirm and reassure us about our communality and of experience our communality of fear, of pain, joy, silliness. So they provide a very real set of languages with which we can communicate our needs and get the attention for research for breast cancer, get the attention for research for pediatric AIDS. Its yet one more story that need to be told of all the stories and they?re all important, stories of marriage, birth, robbery, seduction ?
Hello? Am I the only one in this room? (Laughter)
One of my favorite Leonard Conant lines, he?s walking down the street and he looks up at four o?clock in the morning at the apartments on the gangs of New York and says ?Do you understand, do you know who?s down here?" (Paul laughs)
Question 6: How do you see this related to cerebral palsy? Someone will say OK 100% to disease.. 5% to pediatric AIDS, 40% maybe to cervical cancer but only 2% is spent on cervical cancer?? Do we think about fairness or subject to illness, how?s the spending dollars distributed?
PAUL: Here?s what I think. I think that there are a few things that have to be implored in understanding this issue or discussing this issue, I?m not saying I understand it. One is curiosity without any judgment as to what?s good, bad, right or wrong, just a healthy dose of curiosity so that you can step back and put a wide angle camera on it to see the whole picture of the to?s and froe?s of society and things that are politicized and things that are cared about and then not cared about and then look at the whole organism of society as being this big expanding and collapsing thing and that at one moment says ?I need research on breast cancer, I need research on cervical cancer, I need research on muscular dystrophy." They?re all expressions of an appetite of society and I think what?s important about this exercise of having a curiosity without a judgment is that it allows one to remove the emotional response as to whether something?s good or bad but rather to be able to see it for what it is and then see a way to interface with it. If it means that much, if your individual journey in life is to go to Washington DC and climb the steps and make an issue about cervical cancer and you can disassociate yourself from a value judgment and walk up to the plate three and two count, bases loaded and be present enough to say ?Folks, here?s the reasons why cervical cancer?s being left behind and why it can?t be and here?s the reasons...? people are going to listen to you.
We spend far too much time, I believe, in making judgments and far too little time in understanding what it is we?re all trying to do and not judging it but understanding it. Now this sounds very pie in the sky and I can hear people right now talking saying ?Well that?s all well and good Paul, that?s very idealistic of you.?, but its really very practical which is why I bring up the baseball analogy again because when we get caught up in the judgment of what?s right and wrong, we become very invested in how that feels. We feel hurt, we feel scared, we feel angry, we feel all of those things and all that energy is going into that investment of fighting a cause or fighting for a cause and so then when we try to plead our case to the other person and they?re on the other side? ?You?re wrong?, ?No you?re wrong? ,?No you?re wrong?, ?No you?re wrong? as opposed to ?This is what I need, what do you need?? This is what I feel, what do you feel?? This is what I understand, what do you understand??
Judgment leads us into an awful lot of contrary positions which I don?t think are productive, and I think our journey, for me, the soap opera on this planet is are we gonna evolve to the point if we are indeed meant to as spores populate elsewhere, or are the human race is meant to end right here? Is the conscious side of us going to hold sway or is the animal side gonna self destruct in a, in a spasm of fear? And those of us who ask the questions like the question you?re asking are those that are struggling to find that consciousness and to practice and disseminate and share the consciousness because we understand it at an intuitive level that that is our salvation? that is our answer.
Did I answer the question? I gave you food for thought.
Question 7: You said that we should expect from celebrities we expect from ourselves. How do you respond to, what happens when celebrities don?t make the expectations we set for ourselves. Like, you know, all of these celebrities do and people who are in the limelight and they don?t make those expectations and for example, with children, I could just imagine if I were a parent and I had these expectations for myself as a parent and I may see other celebrities that my child is exposed to from the media or whatever and ?..they don?t meet those expectations?
Questioner7: ? and I expect these from myself
PAUL: Are you a parent?
Questioner7: No, but I can imagine?
PAUL: (Laughs) Wooo, oh well, man alive! You can imagine, I grant you you can imagine, I can imagine, and I wish I had a nickel for every time I as a parent and other parents, I?m not gonna be too greedy about this, and other parents went "God if I I?d only done, I wished I could have done, I wished I could have done, I didn?t wanna to do." You know the old joke ?about the old couple ?What are you gonna do when you grow up? We?re waiting for the kids to die!?
Parenting is replete with those disappointments, those disappointments are very real! And when you?re disappointed by a celebrity, they're touching something in you that yearns for and is disappointed by, that?s what I mean. They?re, they?re imperfect, they are not perfect, they are human beings just like you and me, we?ve elevated them or circumstanced, circumstances elevated them, but they?re just as fallible as you or I and when they disappoint us. ?Wow!? We don?t want to look at that in ourselves but if we do we?re able to find that we have a choice to forgive ourselves, to have compassion for ourselves and by extension have compassion for them, Yah it?s a waste. I?ve missed more opportunities with my kids than I can imagine. We all disappoint ourselves, we?re all waste.
Question8: When you were younger and...
PAUL: Nah, I was never younger! (laughs)
Questioner 8: ? and you were working on TV and acting and all that did really think about what all the public said or did you just care about what the critics said or what your agent told you to do or?
PAUL: I just cared about not being an idiot in front of the camera or the audience!
Questioner 8: ? Do you think that actors now really, really have your notion that there here to please us, entertain us?
PAUL: I think that we have not evolved as nearly as much as we?d like to think we have evolved by the evidence of all the sophisticated crap we?ve created in our society beyond those two guys around the fire. Oh, I didn?t tell you about my two guys around the fire. I was telling somebody about the two guys around the fire, the caveman. We haven?t evolved that much. So why should actors thirty years ago (laughs) be any different than actors today? You can have some actors this way and you can have some actors that way. You can?t generalize, you can?t, I mean you can, you?re welcome to it! I don?t I don?t?
Question 9: People are always talking about giving back to the community, and to be a working actor and a celebrity means you?re doing your job very well and that others appreciate you do you think that celebrities have this notion that you have to give back
PAUL: Again, its individual, it?s individual, you know you have to understand that when you become a celebrity is a creative act in of itself, right? That?s why an, a sculptor or a painter, the best news is to become famous posthumously because if you become famous while you?re alive, then you have to re-invent yourself, you have to re-invent yourself and some like Picasso and Gaughann made a pretty good career out of it. The.. how can I say this? . when you become a celebrity, 99% of the times its because it?s of something you were a part of, part of,. you were in it. I didn?t want Starsky and Hutch! "Starsky and Hutch", I read it, I went, Spelling and Goldberg kept asking me to do a series for ages, I kept saying, ?No, no, no!?, I read the script and I said it?s a pilot, a two hour movie, it will never become a series and I went and fell asleep at the auditioned, I couldn?t have cared less, I got it, I shot it and when they said it was going to be a series, I was horrified because I thought it was such a, below what my fantasies of what I should be recognized as (laughter) and... right? So at that moment when celebrity happened, then I became involved in the creative act of being a celebrity which means, means to say I had to then interpret myself to myself, interpret myself, other people to myself, interpret other peoples expectations, all those the photographers , all the autograph seekers, all the people, all the gossip, the, the, the reporters, the, the, all of it, the film crew, cause they wanted to keep paying for their houses up in Big Bear, so don?t rock the boat, keep us ahead. Psychologically, emotionally, psychically the act of being the virgin at the edge of the volcano, of being the God that people want to now eat becomes a creative balancing act. Some people interpret it one way, some people interpret it another, some people implode, some people explode, some people give back, hey, just getting in front of that camera and telling a story is giving. You look at one of, some of these really good actors, what they do and how they make you feel when you go to the movies, they?re giving you a lot. Some will have an inclination in the act of celebrity and visibility to be more charitable in terms of raising money for some things and some won?t and we?ve talked about that.
Question 10: You?ve talked about your writing; can you talk about some of the things you?ve been writing?
PAUL: I?d rather not because you know, ahm, it?s a process. Ah, about seven years ago. I ahm, I did my last movie, I produced, wrote, directed, co-wrote and directed a movie, it was ?KAZAAM? with Shaquille O?Neal and I was very disillusioned by the whole studio journey. I didn?t like the way they functioned so I took a project back that I had at Columbia, now Sony and I said I was gonna write it as a small movie, and then I discovered that, while I?d re-written a lot as a director, I really didn?t know anything about writing so then I started writing some more and the next time I stuck my head up, the industry said in effect, ?How old are you? Did your last movie make money?? and so then I new that a new part of my journey was time to write if I was ever gonna get my feature career back, it was creating a piece of material. So I?ve been engaged in that for five or six years or seven years maybe. And I have a few scripts that I?m trying to get together and a children?s book thing, and then I have a novel I?m gonna write which is an adaptation of a screenplay that I wrote, my wife said write it as a novel because schematically it?s the most reflective of what I?ve been through in the last fifteen years.
(There is a small section of the forum missing here where he talks about his books.)
Alright, any other questions?
I enjoyed it, I hope you did.
Lots of applause!
Please use the SITEMAP for complete navigation of this site!
All contents copyright of PaulMichaelGlaser.org
Speeches are the personal property of Paul Michael Glaser, and paulmichalglaser.org
They are NOT to be copied and posted on other sites or used in any other fashion.
Transcripts by Pam.
Linguist team: Raffaella, Hilly, Marion