I am constantly astonished by the power of Facebook. It’s not always a deadpool of useless information about what we eat and where we go to get haircuts, sometimes Facebook is a living organism of opinion, updates, and productive information.
I retired from public life seven years ago after the embarrassing failure of a bricks-and-mortar studio enterprise I developed in Massachusetts. Since then, I have been speaking and writing fiction and living in quietude in a “house next to a duck pond”.
I don’t actually live next to a duck pond. My younger brother does. But since “duck” is considered one of the funniest words in the American vernacular, I use it as I am aware of the irony. I was once a studio boss at both Paramount and Walt Disney. I was constantly interviewed by various news outlets. But now I live next to a duck pond.
While I may live three thousand miles from Hollywood, I remain an active member of the Academy Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. But recently, the Academy hastily called for sweeping changes in the membership, including getting rid the older membership. I didn’t agree as I am one of those older members so I took to my pen and wrote a letter. I published it on this blog and decided to post it on my Facebook wall as well.
Within 24 hours, the post on Facebook had 430 “likes” and 102 “shares”. Within that same period, I received a request by Scott Feinberg at the Hollywood Reporter to reprint the letter. Within days, I was interviewed via phone by Catherine Shoard of the Guardian in the UK, specifically about Charlotte Rampling comments about the new academy rulings. On Friday, February 26th, I was taped in Hartford, Connecticut by NPR regarding the #Oscarssowhite controversy , and interviewed by Rachel Martin in Washington DC for the NPR Weekend Edition.
None of this would have ever happened had I not posted in Facebook. I have had my time in the sun with both fame and material glory. I don’t put much stock in either today. But I do believe that ageism is going to become a more prominent issue in the next ten years. It’s important to increase our culture’s awareness and vigilance against it.
I have always loved what Martin Luther King Jr. said. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” So much progress has been made, but there is much yet to be done, especially in a campaign year where we are experiencing the demonization and scapegoatism of so many people groups.