The Harpy

Posted on October 25, 2012


Harpy:  from Greek mythology, a

  • vicious winged monster; often depicted as a bird with the head of a woman
  • a ravenous creature with a woman’s head and trunk and a bird’s wings and claws.
  • a malicious woman with a fierce temper
  • large Old World bat of warm and tropical regions that feeds on fruit
  • a monster renowned in folklore and myth
  • a scolding, nagging, bad-tempered woman; shrew

I like this one best, from a children’s guide to Greek Mythology:

Harpies are winged monsters with the face of an ugly old woman and crooked, sharp claws.  However, earlier versions of Greek stories described Harpies as beautiful winged maidens. (Author’s note: not in this case).   The name Harpy comes from the Greek word “snatcher.”  They were hungry, filthy creatures who snatched food, objects and even people. Yikes!

In Hollywood mythology,  a harpy is a bitter, hypocritical, self-obsessed, narcissistic, singer / actress, who has internalized the flattery and the fawning of the supplicating plebes and has become to herself, a chimera.

Additional attributes are; shows up late, leaves early, difficult and the world revolves around her.  Lindsay Lohan is a Harpy in training.   Barbra Streisand is the poster girl for the eternal Hollywood Harpy.

Walter Matthau is quoted as dubbing her “a boa constrictor.”  To add to this theme, I love how Omar Sharif described Streisand:

 “She’s a monster. I had nothing to do but stand around. But she’s a fascinating monster.  Sometimes I just stood on the sidelines and watched her.  I think her biggest problem is that she wants to be a woman and she wants to be beautiful and she is neither.”

Some of the best stuff is straight from the horse’s own mouth:

“We must make concrete changes in our lifestyles to help solve this energy crisis and now is the time to do it. … Turn up your thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re home, and 85 degrees when you’re out. … Use warm or cold water to wash clothes and try to line dry as much as possible. …Only run your dishwasher when it is fully loaded.”

Word has it that someone took aerial photos of Ms. Streisand’s 12,000 sq. ft. Malibu ‘reptile habitat’ and discovered that Barbra’s recommendation for a outdoor clothes line is for the rest of the lowly schmucks, nor her.

Streisand’s personal efforts toward water conservation is revealing.   “She spends $22,000 a year watering her lawn and her gardens, requests 120 bath size towels upon her arrival to hotels, and uses thirteen 53 foot semi-trailers at her concerts” – notes Jason Mattera, author of the revealing book, ‘Hollywood Hypocrites’.

Then there’s the crass behavior of the Queen of Divas at the ‘We Are the World’ remake:

By 6 p.m., the choir had run through the chorus at least a dozen times, and took a ten-minute break that turned into 45. On a large screen set up in the courtyard, the masses of personal assistants and publicists and managers lingering during the session (and the civilians who’d gathered on the street outside the complex) were treated to a live feed of Streisand recording the same line over and over and over and over.  For the record, it was “There’s a choice we’re making / We’re saving our own lives / It’s true we’ll make a better day / Just you and me.” “I didn’t come all this way to sing one line,” Babs said at one point; they then allowed her to vamp some improvisations over the chorus.

One of my favorite Barbra Streisand stories concerns her comical arrogance in demanding free movie passes at a Malibu area cinema.  An eyewitness to this recalls:

“I hear this couple talking next to me saying, ‘Oh, we asked for you. It’s been so long since we’ve seen you.’ And this flustered young man says, ‘Oh, well, I got transferred but of course, you’re welcome here. You’re always welcome here. We’ll take care of you.’ And I looked to my side and it’s Barbra Streisand and her husband and I see them waltz right through.” Our intrepid reporter investigated further. She asked the ticket-taker, “Dude, did you just see that couple that just waltzed in? Did you rip their tickets? No. Did they pay for tickets? No, they asked to see the customer service manager.”

It’s been reported that Streisand and her husband never pay for movie tickets if they can avoid it; they believe that as entertainment industry legends, they are entitled to them.  Reportedly, one cinema manager got chewed out for having the chutzpah to actually ask Babs to fork out some money for the duckets.  “Do you know who I am?”

Anyway, Babs – just like Freddie in ‘Friday the 13th’, just when you think you’ve heard the last from the hag, she pops up and pops off about her opinions we don’t want and didn’t ask for.   Here, from a fundraising solicitation in which she recites the potential  horrors of a GOP Congress and White House with the breathless intensity of a scary camp fire story:

“We’re just weeks from the most important election in a generation and every single thing Democrats like you and I spent a lifetime fighting for is on the line.   Republican Super PACs are pounding President Obama and Democratic candidates with millions of dollars of vicious attack ads.   And, they could tip the balance of the election for Tea Party extremists.   That would be a disaster for America and we can’t let it happen.  We must close the funding gap.”

Here it is.  Once again, the cloying, cliched, threadbare narrative of the party of the little guy as versus the big, bad, mean, Republican fat felines.  This coming from a shrill, worn out, bellicose consumer of male flesh that has become a byword in Hollywood as a self-centered, fiery tempered egotist that you avoid if you see her coming before she sees you.

Psychologically, it would seem as though Babs and ‘Mad’ Maxine Waters were separated at birth. More paranoid rantings:

“It’s hard to believe that Mitt Romney would campaign on policies that nearly destroyed the country and virtually eliminated so much of America’s middle-class, with stagnant wages, escalating medical costs, foreclosures, rampant unemployment, loss of good paying jobs and the disappearance of retirement savings due to deregulation and manipulation by Wall Street, Mitt Romney and the Republican narrative fail to address the key concerns of everyday Americans.”

Oh, you mean everyday Americans in search of free movie passes?  Ah, yes  – those  everyday Americans.  Like the devastated Middle Class folks you rub elbows with at $35,000 a plate fundraisers – those everyday Americans, Ms. Streisand?

Down and Out in Beverly Hills poor Democrats.  I can hear the violins playing ‘Fascination’ in such the wistful manner.  Excuse me, I’ve got to compose myself and grab a kleenex – talk amongst yourselves.

The entirety of Streisand’s email for the DCCC is below:

The Democratic Party urgently needs your help.  We’re just weeks from the most important election in a generation and every single thing Democrats like you and I spent a lifetime fighting for is on the line.

Republican Super PACs are pounding President Obama and Democratic candidates with millions of dollars of vicious attack ads. And, they could tip the balance of the election for Tea Party extremists.

That would be a disaster for America and we can’t let it happen. We must close the funding gap.

That’s why I’m urging you donate $3 or more to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) today.

Dear me – what a disaster for America!!!   Don’t we already have one on our hands, Brabra?  Could it get any worse than under your ‘heavenly leader’?  23 million unemployed, 47 percent on food stamps?

Imagine ‘Tea Party Extremists’ going batcrap in D.C.  The horror, the humanity!   Proposing debt reduction, reducing deficits, spawning job creation, promoting energy independence, self reliance and competent foreign policy – those rotten, stinkin’ Tea Partiers.  How DARE they?

Back to our movie, where our heroine makes the impassioned plea to the multitude…

“Oh, send that measly pittance of $3 dollars – less than a Starbucks coffee.  Less than 1 movie ticket for my next crappy film (that I’ll get in to see freebo).  It’s not much to ask in order to make sure that Auntie Barbra gets another VIP tour of the White House, now is it my pretty?”

Babs next film?  It’s autobiographical.  It’s called…

‘The Harpy’