Nothing wrong with good people in our lives, but good people often make poor performers. Or to invert that, some of the greatest stars in show business and in history have been bastards backstage.
Although the backstage cast and crew may consider the star a thoroughly despicable human being, their performances may excel. Documented examples? John Barrymore, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Sinatra, Brando, Cruise, Streisand, Dreyfus, Cher, plus a nameless number of others we’ll keep secret. And yet they give you a great show.
On that still bigger stage performing in that still bigger show, there are the great figures of history. And yet backstage, every one of them far from their public image. Xerxes, Ramses, Caesar, Henry VIII, Miles Standish, John Adams, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Churchill, DeGaulle, LBJ and almost every arrogant general from Washington to Grant to Patton to Colin Powell.
Here’s the point. Do we really care? Do we really need good guys to accomplish good things? Not always. Perhaps this begs the question, who out there is bad enough to be great? Right now we have a cast of characters in both Hollywood and Washington auditioning for us almost every day.
Sounds funny, but then so is democracy. Unless, that is, we forget that old show business adage: The audience is always right.
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