Why do stars love such strange groups?
Date: January 11, 2004 10:09PM
many aspiring musicians and actors do their early training under teachers who are highly dictatorial and authoritarian. Diaghilev was one of the greatest impresarios/choreographers of all time. But he took over his student-dancer's lives wholesale, dictating lifestyle, diet, what to study what to read, plus keeping them to a gruelling training schedule. In return he promised to transform them into great dancers--and in many cases, he did!
Chuck Chester, a young actor has given descriptions of coercive psycho-drama exercises that he had to do in acting class. The exercises were encounter group set ups, 'hot seat' situations designed to force people to recall traumatic memories so that they could learn to cry 'on cue'.
It may be no accident that the tale of an archetypal cultic relationship between the sinister Svengali and the singer Trilby is that of a music teacher/promoter and an aspiring artist.
My hunch is that people in the arts and entertainment industries have a set of risk factors that make them highly recruitable to cults
1) Family instability is common--it often causes people to dislike the powerlessness of childhood, they survive by dreaming of a special destiny, develop their talents and leave home as soon as possible. But, unconsciously, they carry the hunger for a true family--a hunger that can be exploited by a cult offering instant intimacy.
2) Persons attracted to the entertainment industry are often narcissistically wounded. They are children in adults bodies and need constant affirmation to keep a fragile but fictional surface personality in place. An adroit cult recruiter can feed that hunger for affirmation and reel the person in.
3) The artist will be used to enduring capricious rude treatment, even outright abuse, from authoritarian personalities (tyrannical acting coaches, high powered agents who force you to wait for them, directors, producers. Its easy to put up with tons of bullshit from people who have control over your future and can make you rich if they choose to hire you. (Thats why Humprhey Bogart said that if you wanted a Hollywood career and also wanted to keep your integrity, you needed, at all times to have enough money to live on if you made enemies and could no longer work. He called it 'Fuck You money.')
4) Charisma, luck, the whims of powerful eccentric people can make or break your career. That may be why so many celebrities become fascinated, perhaps haunted by charisma and magic--and fall victim to those who claim they can confer charisma (personal development workshops/LGATs) or magical powers.
5) In the entertainment industry your work schedule is brutal, you cant trust people, and your social opportunities are limited. You see just a limited number of people. You're lonely as hell. Ordinary people with decent instincts are intimidated by your fame, so you dont get to meet them. You do get to meet lots of groupies and potential predators. So you're apt to hide amoung other celebrities and trust their referrals