Celebrity Power!

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Expanding a bit on Sara's remarks about celebrities and politics, I have to say I don't mind it per se when celebs take a stand on public issues. I don't think Susan Sarandon has embarrassed herself opposing the war, for example, because she's a smart person who knows how to engage in a serious debate; the same's true of Dennis Miller, over on the pro-war side. What I object to is airheads taking a public stand. And it just so happens that an awful lot of celebrities are also airheads.

Then again, so are a lot of congressmen.

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  1. I can’t decide what I think about this war because we haven’t heard from Jamie Farr and JM Jay Bullock yet. The Js will show the way. And Tom Vu, what does he think? And the biddies who do the “Gallery of Dolls” show on the Home Shopping Channel?

  2. I saw Dennis Miller on Donahue, and I’d place him at about the same level of seriousness as, say, Ann Coulter. He sits there with an asinine “ain’t I cute” perma-smirk on his face, says something calculated for its shock value, and then waits to gauge the reaction. At least, though, he doesn’t immediately complain of persecution or “slander” when his calculated rhetorical bomb produces the intended effect.

  3. Kevin:
    You are aware that he makes his living by an act based on shock value? He is a professional comedian, what do you expect???

  4. Lazarus,

    It’s up to Miller and his fans to decide whether his persona translates effectively from stand-up to the political arena. I just questioned whether he was engaging in “serious debate.” I didn’t think much of Rosie O’Donnel’s or Paula Poundstone’s attempts at “commentary,” either. But whatever floats your boat…

  5. Readers of this thread might find this interesting…

    http://www.hollywoodhalfwits.com/

  6. I imagine anyone who disagrees with Lazarus is a half-wit. RAH must be rolling in his grave.

  7. I do have an issue with celebrities’ opinions. The problem is not their opinion, but their status as celebrities.

    A celebrity will get a microphone and camera put in front of them much easier than you will, and humans addicted to TV will respond by watching and listening simply because this person is a celebrity.

    An actor makes his living by disappearing, by making us believe he is something other than what he is. Fakery is what makes him good. That may be entertainment, but it is a poor basis for policy decisions. And yet he gets the camera spot to spout his opinions.

    Celebrities don’t live in the world the rest of us do. We shouldn’t care what they think. I recall once that Congress heard testimony on a farm bill, and got three actresses who played farm wives to testify.

    Perhaps TV is more dangerous than cocaine?

  8. Mountain Goat, I think your problem is not so much
    with the celebrities themselves, but with the news media.

  9. You know, during the initial outbreak of the French Revolution there were two groups that were specifically excluded from voting – actors and prostitutes. I can’t say that I agree with the latter of the two exclusions, after all prostitutes provide a useful service to a community. 🙂

  10. Instead of letting actors spout off, why not let pro athletes set the tone for political debate instead? 🙂 With a few exceptions (Pat Tillman, Steve Nash, Toni Smith) most athletes have kept silent about their views — that is, assuming they even have views about anything other than sports, beer, cars, and what dumb blonde bimbo chick they’ll screw next.

    King Kaufman of Salon.com wrote an interesting article about this here. You might laugh or cry when you read about what Tampa Bay Bucs’ Simeon Rice said about Pat Tillman, his former teammate. Rice had absolute no clue how selfless, patriotic and principled Tillman’s move was. At least if he’d said something like “I don’t believe in what Pat’s doing, America’s nothing but the world’s bully,” I would have had a tiny modicum of respect for him for at least having some sort of stance. Instead, he essentially said “duh.”

    If you read Kaufman’s article, also scroll down to the bottom and read the part where he discusses the British popsters trying to make an all-star antiwar record in the vein of Band-Aid or “We Are The World.” George Michael’s warning them not to do so — he thinks their cheesiness would hurt the antiwar cause more than help it.

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