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George Clooney Needs a Nap
By J.B. Rabin

In the past few months Whitney Houston, Jessica Simpson, and Lindsay Lohan have all been hospitalized for exhaustion and/or dehydration. I wish their cases were anomalous, but the sad fact is that celebrities have a long history of collapsing -- mid-interview with Jules Asner even -- from these dreaded maladies. Martin Lawrence, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Britney Spears have all been taken by ambulance at one time or another to "rest" and be "rehydrated."

It is curious that our beloved celebrities should be so tired and parched from their day jobs; rarely do you hear of non-icons needing medically supervised rehydration after a hard day of work. I, myself, cannot think of a single manual laborer, construction worker, farm hand, or lifeguard (unless you count Pamela Anderson) that has needed an IV, even after toiling in the blistering sun for twelve hours. This says to me that there is something going on that no one is talking about: the labor conditions in Hollywood are subhuman.

We've done a good job of raising awareness about the labor conditions in far away sweatshops, but we've been so focused on making sure that no five-year-old's hand gets cut off making cardigans for Kathie Lee that we've turned a blind eye to the exploitative working conditions right here in the good ol' U.S. of A. Dear, sweet Angelina Jolie fights for the rights of refugees in third world countries, all the while ignoring the needs of her fellow thespians who are literally falling over from lack of water and rest. Ms. Jolie, if you want to get an idea of the deplorable working conditions in the world you need look no further than Southern California.

To wit: Jessica Simpson was savagely struck down by dehydration while on tour recently promoting her new movie and butt. Apparently, not a single member of her entourage -- not her publicist, not her hairdresser, not her makeup artist, not her manager, not her trainer, not even her goddamned nutritionist! -- thought to offer her so much as an Evian while she was hard at work trying to make the world a more entertaining place in which to live. You would never catch, say, the Tibetan people denying water to one of their most beloved starlets. Imagine the Dalai Lama having to cancel one of his promotional tours because he had no access to liquids. Never happen.

One can only imagine the humiliation and despair these public figures endure when they go back to their trailers after twenty-seven straight hours in the spotlight to find their faucets disconnected and their beds replaced with giant hamster wheels. It is a well-known fact that in between making movies, pauvre George Clooney has to flee the country for his home on Lake Como in Italy, the only place he is allowed to nap.

Someone needs to speak out for our celebrities and to address this epidemic before it spreads to other vulnerable, under-represented members of our society like fashion models and D.J.'s. We must nip it in the bud, thereby sending a message to the international community that this type of exploitation will not be tolerated.

I have decided to found an organization called the Entertainers Rest and Rehydration Relief Effort ("To ERR in Hollywood is human, but to E.R.R.R.E. is divine," the PR materials will read), which will serve as an outreach to our brothers and sisters in L.A. County. Our fleet of volunteers will conduct regular, surprise inspections of movie sets, recording studios, and green rooms to make sure that water supplies are adequate and that each entertainer has access to a cot.

In the past, stars could always rely on unions to secure the types of salaries and nudity clauses they needed to live well-compensated, dignified lives. But clearly the unions have failed to fight for the basic food, water, shelter, and sleep these celebrities need to keep themselves out of hospitals.

I encourage all of you to wage a letter writing campaign to Melissa Gilbert, President of the Screen Actors Guild, to insist that the guild negotiate stricter contracts that will stand up for the basic human rights of its members. If we don't act now, we risk an entirely new generation of exhausted, dehydrated celebrities.

It's probably too late for the Olsen twins. But the fate of Dakota Fanning is in your hands.

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