You get one guess. Who’s the most important person in the world…? At least our 21st C world…?
If you guessed the Pope, Dali Lama, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Stephen Spielberg or Oprah Winfrey, those would be acceptable entries. However, nowhere near close. You see, by all pragmatic measures, the most important person is actually many persons. None of them well known.
I refer to the world’s casting directors.
Stop shaking your head long enough to let me make the case. For a moment just think about all those people in the public eye who you DO think of as the most important person(s) in our world. Think again. Not one stands there in the power of the global spotlight without having been carefully cast for the role. In show business we call them casting directors. In the Vatican we call them the College of Cardinals. In the Washington we call them the party’s power-brokers. Even quarterbacks are in many ways “cast” by owners in order to look the part [ try to find many NFL quarterbacks who don’t fit on the cover of Sports Illustrated ].
Look, in every age, in every field, looks count. A fist-full of studies prove the point starting with the “cuteness quotient” of kindergarten kids. Today we’re living in an age in which looks not only count for something…they virtually count for everything. The quotients vary — cuteness, brainyness, holiness — yet there will always be some standard by which the casting directors choose their man or their woman. We the audience — voters, fans, true believers — we intuitively require thid of those we shall follow.
Consciously or not [usually very consciously] the deciders take into consideration what every casting director in Hollywood has known forever: Casting the right player is 90% of the job. Think of all the stories of all the wrong might-have-beens in the movies: Lana Turner instead of Vivian Leigh in “Gone With the Wind,” George Raft instead of Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca,” Robert Redford instead of Al Pacino in “The Godfather.”
Does this make the world’s casting directors no more than skillful manipulators…? audiences little more than sheep being led by wolves…? everything in today’s culture just another example of Show Business…?
I leave you to cast the answer.
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