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Is Hollywood just jealous?

Tonight is Oscar Night. Nobody knows anything about the candidates for best picture, but everybody is 100% sure there will be plenty of bashing of the 45th President of the United States. Sorry ABC, I’ll take a pass on this crapfest. But I will stay loyal, watching reruns of “The Untouchables” (a hit on that network from 1959 to 1963) stored on the DVR.

Winners of individual Oscars won’t be noticed. As Piers Morgan points out in London’s Daily Mail, the only actor or actress who will remembered is The Biggest Trump Basher. As he put it:

“This is the big one for all those hysterical Hollywood liberal snowflakes who’ve been frothing at the mouth since Donald Trump became president. They’ve got live TV, a billion or more people watching around the world, and a room full of 3,500 largely like-minded souls all waiting to roar on every Trump-bashing speech from the podium.”

Mr. Morgan, who sounds more reasonable these days that he did when he hosted the 9 p.m. hour on CNN and bashed the Second Amendment nightly, thinks Hollywood jumped the shark on hatred because President Trump is more famous than anybody in showbiz. Indeed, probably more famous than all of those Tinseltown twits combined. He goes on:

“The New York Times drew this conclusion after reporting evidence from data firm mediaQuant, which counts all mentions of a particular brand or personality in just about every outlet from mainstream media to blogs and Twitter, and then estimates what those mentions would cost if someone were to pay for them. In January, Trump broke mediaQuant’s records, receiving $817 million in coverage.

“This was more than the next 1,000 of the world’s best-known figures – including Hillary Clinton, Kim Kardashian, Vladimir Putin and Tom Brady – COMBINED. (Their total came to $721 million.)

“Given the fact there are now [more] people on the planet than ever before, and most of us now have access to the Internet and social media, the Times declared that Donald Trump is now the most famous and talked-about person in history.

“So when Hollywood, the most fame-hungry, egotistical place on Planet Earth, rises to denounce him on Sunday night, just bear in mind that their fury might not be entirely unconnected to this one simple fact. Trump, until recently a mere reality TV host, is now getting all their A-list celebrity oxygen and the only way La La Land can get a piece of the action is to attack him.”

More vanity from Hollywood

In addition to looking down on you if you voted for Donald Trump, Meryl Streep and the rest of the Hollywood crowd don’t want you to know she is 67. So they had their star-struck minions in the California Legislature pass a law targeting IMDb.com, the leading purveyor of information about showbiz.

In short, a state law went into effect January 1 requiring IMDb.com (a website/app based in Delaware, BTW) to agree to individual requests from residents of California to remove the ages of actors, directors and writers. IMDb.com has said it agrees that age discrimination is rampant in Hollywood, but insists that curtailing its First Amendment rights is not the answer.

Of course, it is ridiculous to think that it would be difficult to find out the birthdate of a star in the public eye for decades. Now IMDb.com, a subsidiary of Amazon, has sued in federal court, trying to prohibit California’s attorney general from enforcing this blatantly unconstitutional law. From the filing: “Rather than properly passing laws designed to address the root problem of age discrimination, the state of California has chosen instead to chill free speech and to undermine access to factual information of public interest.”

At its root, this issue concerns women more than men, because women onscreen have a shorter shelf life. Consider that Sally Field went from playing the love interest of Tom Hanks in 1988 (“Punchline”) to playing his frumpy mother in 1994 (“Forrest Gump”). Every magazine from People to Vogue has carried interviews of relatively young actresses fearful they will no longer be sought to play the ingenue. In the 1996 movie “The First Wives Club,” Goldie Hawn’s character got to point out there are three ages for women in Hollywood – babe, district attorney and Driving Miss Daisy. Two classic movies — “All About Eve” and “Sunset Blvd.” — tackled this subject in classic style in 1950.

As for the state of California, there is no hope. People of good sense know all is lost there. This is just the latest bit of lunacy, to be followed by many others.

The complexities of HR

[This originally ran March 10.]

Not long ago, the human resources department at a company consisted of hard-working, humble and often-lovely creatures who didn’t even have last names. Returning from lunch you might find a note telling you to call “Debbie in insurance” or “Angela in accounting.”

Those notes were delivered by a secretary, a/k/a the brains of the operation and the only person who knew what was going on. Now secretaries have been banned, replaced by a new species called the administrative assistant. AAs too often are pawns for executives and contribute little to the common good.

Early HR departments were often a single person. The first one I remember was in “Gone with the Wind.” Jonas Wilkerson was the overseer at Tara. He often delegated duties to his foreman, Big Sam, including when to call “quittin’ time.” Mr. Wilkerson eventually lost that job and most of his friends when he threw in with the carpetbaggers after the war.

From those humble beginnings grew the HR departments of today, overstaffed with people eager to stick their noses into areas like employee recruitment, which should be handled by managers familiar with the company’s product or service. Others have noted this, and a growing number of companies are sending the meddlers packing. Notes Nolan Gray at JobScience.com:

“In bygone years, HR was much less complex. There was hiring, firing, payroll and working out the occasional kerfuffle. But since the late 1970s, HR has grown increasingly more challenging. And in recent years, FMLA, ADA and now Obamacare have made compliance a series of flaming hoops to jump through!”

Against such an imposing government gauntlet, companies knew when to say “quittin’ time.” A man of good sense, Big Sam would approve.

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