Hollywood. Its name elicits visions of star-studded glamour, fame, wealth, and the excesses and indulgences of the rich and famous. World renowned for its entertainment industry, its name has come to be synonymous with the motion pictures industry of the United States of America. Its humble beginnings were a single adobe shanty midst the native cactus of the area, circa 1853. Thirty years later, it was an established and flourishing agricultural community known as the Cahuenga Valley. Circa 1900, a man named H.J. Whitley, also known as the Father of Hollywood, bought-up the long sought after 500-acre Hurd ranch, with plans and a purpose to make it into something he envisioned. Whitley coined the name Hollywood, and as its history unfolded from those humble beginnings, it was transformed into the legendary Hollywood we know today.
The Artist’s Role
All of us have experienced the influence of much loved or much admired Hollywood celebrities.
Most of us have chosen our favorite actors and actresses, and our favorite films. It is a favorite American pastime to go to the movie theatre, and immerse ourselves in the dynamic world of a Hollywood film. Many of our childhood heroes were born in the creative minds of Hollywood scriptwriters and television producers. Legendary tales from classic novels, such as Gone With the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird, found their way to the silver screen and were brought to life for all to see. From such movies, we could learn about our country, its history, and its people, both good and bad. The bigger-than-life actors and actresses in those films and many others of such caliber, used their creative artistic talents to give us heroes and heroines, to impart a message, to teach a lesson, to give us hope, to set a good example, to show us right from wrong and its consequences, and to ensure good always triumphed in Man’s ever present war of good against evil. That is the role of the artist, to improve upon the present, and to create a better future.
A scourge is a means of inflicting suffering. We have seen at Narconon Freedom Center that drugs and alcohol abuse are the scourge of Hollywood. And there has been much suffering in Hollywood down through the years, as our heroes and heroines of the silver screen have been cut-down by drugs and alcohol. When we lose them, we suffer, too, as our culture needs them, their vibrant creativity and their vision of what is to be. The list of those killed by substance abuse is long, too long. Jimmy Hendrix, probably the greatest guitar player of all time. Janis Joplin, with a voice like none other. Jim Morrison of The Doors, whose lyrics and music remain solely his own. Marilyn Monroe, gone but sadly missed, a woman who still fascinates us decades later. More recently, Amy Winehouse, a talented and gifted singer, whom we watched destroy herself with drug and alcohol abuse. The list goes on. Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, and perhaps one of the saddest due to such highly visible destruction of an extremely gifted and creative spirit, Michael Jackson. Perhaps not widely known, Judy Garland of The Wizard of Oz fame, and a favorite actress of her generation. And lest us not forget The King, Elvis Presley.
Handling Hollywood Abuse Problems
Hollywood and its lifestyle unfortunately lends itself to the opportunity for drug and alcohol abuse. Lavish, high-profile lifestyles which are at the same time demanding, stressful, and open for the world to see, leave vulnerable artists easy prey to drug dealers, prescription peddlers, and “false friends”, promising relief or shelter from the storm. Over the years, the drugs of choice have been alcohol, cocaine and heroin, to which we now add prescription painkillers and psychiatric drugs. Abuse and misuse resulting in death by overdose is often a combination of drugs, or drugs and alcohol, a “cocktail” of death. And, according to a new documentary, our artists must learn and understand what drugs really are, and what harm they really do. Our artists also need to learn to choose their people wisely and in truth, and be able to accurately spot who is a friend, and who will do them harm. Armed with such knowledge and surrounded with people of goodwill, our artists will have the opportunity to make sound decisions regarding drug and alcohol use, and flourish in a safe environment where they can truly unleash their creative spirit, helping us to create a more beautiful and better world for all.
To find out more about how someone gets caught in the trap of addiction watch our Narconon video.