Gary North on current economic affairs and investment marketsGary North -- Specific Answers
HomeContact MeTell a FriendText SizeSearchMember Area
Gain immediate access to all of our current articles, the question-and-answer forums, dozens of free books, and article archives. Click here for details on how to join.

About This Site
Academic Gaps
Capitalism and the Bible
Clichés of Protectionism
College Finances
Debt Management
Ellen Brown: Critique
Federal Reserve Charts
Gary North's Free Books
Get Published Here!
Gold Price & My Report
Keynes Project
Price Index (U.S.A.)
Questions for Jim Wallis
Remnant Review
Social Security/Medicare
Sustained Revival
Tea Party Economist
U.S. Debt Clock
Yield Curve
Your YouTube Channel
Gary North's Miscellany
Budgeting for Wealth
Business Start-Up
Career Advancement
Digital Tools
Education That Works
Evernote: Free Notes
Federal Reserve Policy
Fireproof Your Job
Goal-Setting for Success
Great Default
Inheritance Strategies
International Investing
Investment Basics
Job and Calling
Keynesian Economics
Marketing Case Studies
Precious Metals
Real Estate
Safe Places
State of the Economy
Stocks and Bonds
Video Channel Profits
War With Iran
Members' Free Manuals
Our Products
Contact Me
Tell a Friend
Text Size
Your Account
My 100% Guarantee
Privacy Policy
Terms of Use

This site powered by MemberGate

What I Should Have Said to Meryl Streep

Gary North
Printer-Friendly Format

July 6, 2009

It happened maybe 15 years ago. Howard Phillips and I were standing in line at a theater, hoping to get tickets to a play. I don't recall where we were. Probably in New York City.

I happened to glance behind me. There was Meryl Streep.

I think she is the best movie actress of all time. This does not make me unique. That is a common opinion. There are a couple of leading men who could give her a run for the money. Daniel Day-Lewis. Robert Duvall. That's about it.

What impressed me was that she looked young. The woman never seems to age. I have this vision of a self-portrait of her on her wall, wrinkled like a prune.

I am semi-paranoid about my privacy. So, I don't say anything when I find myself in close proximity to celebrities. They spend their lives being hounded. I once stood next to Elton John. We were waiting for a cab in front of a swank motel. I was at a conference. Otherwise, a Super 8 is good enough for me. What could I have said to him? I have never seen him perform. The sight of him persuades me to click the channel-flipper. So, I said nothing.

I was not tempted to say anything to Ms. Streep. So, I turned around and began chatting with Howard.

I might have said, "You never seem to age. I thought it was camera work. It isn't. It's depressing to the rest of us." That's true, but I didn't say it.

These people get wild praise and fawning fans. What does one more fan mean? But, I could have said what I Jack Lemmon said made his day. A fan would approach him and say: "I never once felt cheated after spending my five bucks to see you in a movie." I had the ultimate follow-up. "I even liked Time After Time." Nobody remembers Time After Time. It was Lemmon's one attempt at a hit record. It missed. I think it came out in 1962. There is not a trace of it on the Web. It consisted of three words: time after time, strung together in a melody I can still hum: mindless. It was silly enough as a concept to be amusing.

Then I would have walked away: no chat.

Movie stars get fans telling them they loved this or that favorite movie. What is the actor to say? "Thanks." Then what? The fan wants to talk. The celebrity doesn't.

Celebrities really can't judge if their work is any good, based of what fawning fans say. That's a curse. He makes money, but popularity can disappear fast.

A person who is really good at something has his peers to evaluate his work. Their judgment counts. Or a highly skilled use of whatever it is the craftsman produces has an opinion worth taking seriously.

I should have told her that I always felt I got my money's worth after seeing her on screen, which is true. Also, I am an expert in what I like. My opinion on her comparative skills with all other actresses is worth approximately nothing. My view on always getting my money's worth has standing.

The key would have been to turn around after that and ignore her. That would have proven that I meant what I said. I wasn't just looking for a chance to chat with a celebrity. Besides, what could I have chatted with her about? Her views on Alar?.

Years later, I was with Phillips again. We were watching a performance of Bobby Short, the Cole Porter master interpreter. We were in D.C. At intermission, I spotted Jim Lehrer, the PBS News Hour man. This time, I was determined to say something. I followed him into the lobby. Now, this was Washington. Fans are supposed to be cool. There were no autograph seekers. I went up to him and said this: "Authors never know if their books are really any good. Your autobiography is one of the best I have ever read." This was true.

Then I added a zinger: "My only regret is that I never heard you do your Greyhound bus destination list." He had written that he worked for Greyhound, and that he had a masterful announcement. He even did it at parties 30 years later. I knew he would know I had read the book. He said: "Maybe you'll get a chance sometime." I walked away.

This way, he knew I was serious about his book, A Bus of My Own, which I was. I wasn't after chat.

I also didn't tell him I paid a buck for it at a remainder sale. No use reminding him that it didn't do well.

Celebrities deserve to be left alone. If they have done anything truly exceptional, they are entitled to brief, specific praise from people with no ulterior motive, preferably people with enough knowledge to be able to assess their performance. I am not competent to judge Lehrer's professional skills as a newscaster, although they seem good to me. I am in a position to assess his ability as a writer.

Lehrer's book is incredibly important because of one incident he records. I reported on it here. It had to do with Kennedy's assassination.

Just before the plane was scheduled to leave Fort Worth for the short flight to Dallas, the rewrite man, Stan Weinberg, asked me if the bubble top was going to be on the presidential limousine. It would help to know now, he said, before he wrote the story later under pressure. It had been raining early that morning, and there was some uncertainty about it.

I told Stan that I would find it. I put the phone down and walked over to a small ramp where the motorcade limousines were being held in waiting. I spotted Forrest Sorels, the agent in charge of the Dallas Secret Service office. I knew Mr. Sorrels fairly well, because I was then the regular federal beat reporter. . . .

I looked down the ramp. The bubble top was on the president's car.

Rewrite wants to know if the bubble top's going to stay on, I said to Mr. Sorrels, a man of fifty or so who wore dignified glasses and resembled a preacher or bank president.

He looked at the sky and then hollered over at one of his agents holding a two-way radio in his hand. What about the weather downtown? he asked the agent.

The agent talked into his radio for a few seconds, then listened. Clear, he hollered back.

Mr. Sorrels yelled back at the agents standing by the car: "Take off the bubble top!"

Just over twelve hours later, I was part of the bedlam at the Dallas police station along with hundreds of other reporters. I went into the police chief's outer office to await the breakup of a meeting in Chief Jesse Curry's main office. I had no idea who was in there.

The door opened and out walked several men. One of them was Forrest Sorrels. He looked tired and sad. And bewildered. He saw me and I moved toward him. His eyes were wet. He paused briefly, shook his head slightly and whispered, "Take off the bubble top."

I will someday include this in a book on history: the "what if" phenomenon -- the inherent unpredictability of events.

If you see someone who is a true master, take a couple of minutes to tell him that you recognize his performance skills with respect to something specific. If you have expertise in the field, tell him that, too. Then leave.

Why? Because masters need encouragement from people with no ulterior motive.

Printer-Friendly Format

 Tip of the Week
Sign up for my free
Tip of the Week
Verification Characters:    Type     2  Q  6  9  G     here   

Tip of the week archives
On what this icon
means, and how it
can help you,
click here
 Q & A Forums
General Q&A Forum
Advertising and Resumés
American History Topics
Backyard Food Gardening
Banking and Politics
Blog Sites and Web Sites
Books Worth Reading
Bumper Sticker Slogans
Business Forum
Buying Smart
Christian Service Forum
College -- The Cheap Way
Education Alternatives
Food Storage
For Women Only
GNC Benefits
GNC Testimonials
Gold and Silver
Great Default Forum
Health and Diet
Health Insurance
Investments Forum
Iran War
Job, Calling, and Career
Leadership Development
Legacy Building
Less Dependent Living
Local Political Action
Non-Retirement Forum
One Good Idea
Police State
Public Speaking
Real Estate Forum
Remnant Review Forum
Safe Places Forum
Taxation Policy
Typographical Errors
Video Production Basics

Reality Check
 Discussion Forum
Search Discussion

Recent Forum Posts
• insurance
• Foreigners Stop Buying Treasury IOU's
• Technical Analysis
• Blood Moons Tetrad
• 60 mins piece, stock market rigged! Why Invest.
• 60 mins piece, stock market rigged! Why Invest.
• Sean Hyman Absolute profits secret calendar
• Investment Portfolio - Inverse Funds
• DowJones Ind Avg is a hoax
• Digital textbooks
• Joint Venture Oil & Gas Investing
• Trading Or Gambling?
• 5 year return on investment in Stock Market
• Bottom for Mining Stocks?
• Home Equity Loan for investment
• RIch Buy Real Estate, Poor Want Gold
• HUD bringing a bit of Chicago to Dubuque
• Buying a home/ putting it in child's name
• CNNFN Rent rate tool
• proposed elimination of 1031 exchange
• Business card for real estate
• Buy rentals in NW Indiana
• Market and Timing
• Housing Advice Sought...
• Too many Eggs in one basket???
• edit
• Sit On Two Mortgages?
• Motivated sellers
• Recommendations for Pre-Approval for Mortgage?
• Rental properties in hurricane country
• Middle Class squeezed out of Chicago
• An Article on Chile
• 5 Amazing, Cheap Places to Live as an Expat
• Oil Field Job Security
• Moving to TriCities Area
• PJ ORourke on the Baby Boom
• Is Vegas DOOMED?
• Second Passport- Mexico?
• Radiation dangers to US,World Confirmed
• Safety in numbers? Questions…..
• Best in Asia?
• Simple Exercise
• Coming to an airport near you ...
• S.W. New Mexico not looking so safe...
• I take it Retirement Armageddon is not available
• Post Retirement Career
• Social Security - when to start collecting
• 401K Risk
• Detroit Retirees Fight 83% Health Care Cut
• Lump Sum Early DROP
• Underfunded pensions
• 401k strategy
• Can I Avoid Medicare Entirely?
• Looking for a Financial Planner/CPA
• How to calculate retirement needs
• Two IRA questions:
• Rentals
• Why?
• Teaching in non-retirement
• Christian Nation novel
• On Law Enforcement and Government
• MC = MR: True but useless?
• Ruppert Article
• Up from Slavery
• Don't accuse customers of cheating
• Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews
• Money Banned
• Question about gold not being ultimate asset
• Gary has wisdom
• help finding a decent rehab center
• Rodent Congressmen
• Evernote and Moleskine team up to create smart bus
• Up Credit Limit on Card?
• New study warns on effects of wireless technology
• free service?
• How to quit my full-time job
• Fair joint ventures?
• Intern to Equity Holder
• Oil field business ideas?
• Turning Over Tables on Craigslist
• This might be crazy. Maybe not. I don't know.
• Best Ways of Starting an Online Business
• Copyright Law for Textbook Problems
• Help Needed with Music Appreciation Course
• Engineer starts rubber band braclet business
• Is my USP unappealing?
• Startup of a Daycare
• Last payment
• Employee Death