Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And who cares anyway?

Recently, while surfing through the internet hunting down easily referenced and reliable information to complete my entry "Does George Bush Care About Black People?" I came acros this article from the Village Voice. (http://www.villagevoice.com/blogs/statusainthood/archives/2005/09/kanye_west...) The substance of the article was like dozens I'd skimmed that evening. What caught me though, was the first comment on the bottom of the page. "What is it with all the celeb's. You think because you make a few movies, sing a few songs, make a few million, that your opinion on world affairs matters?" - Posted by: Waldo VA

Let's start with the obvious. Here's a man sharing a view in a public medium, a man who, to my knowledge, hasn't made any movies, sung any songs (out side of his shower or the occasional karaoke bar), or made any millions, comeplaining bcause someone has shared his opinion on a public medium. Cue Alanic Morissette "Isn't is ironic?"

I wonder what Mr. Waldo would do if he were giving 15 minutes of fame and his own television appearance? My guess is he'd make some strong statements, but of course he'd agree with them.

Here's the thing, we live in a society that offers, nay guarantees, free expression and the free exchange of ideas, (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html) even when those ideas are unpopular. That means that a celebrity has not only the right, but the responsibility to advocate for the positions they believe in.

When Britney Spears comes out in support of Bush (http://www.drudgereport.com/flash6b.htm) that's great, even though I dissagree with her. I may say she has no business supporting a man who's running partly on the sanctity of marriage. (http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Music/01/06/spears.marriage/) I may attack here on substance of her work, (http://www.all-britney-spears-lyrics.pair.com/) or lack thereof. I may attack her judgement. (http://www.kidzworld.com/site/p2008.htm) I might just make fun of her. (http://www.atomfilms.com/af/content/preggers) But she has the right to speak her mind.

The major media, particularly cable news, has far too much time on their schedule and they love to cover celebrities because it brings ratings. (http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/13/jackson.trial/) Naturally, when Martin Sheen speaks, CNN listens. (http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/12/10/sproject.irq.celebrity.letter/) The fact that these people also have the money to buy ads (http://slate.msn.com/id/2079052) I'm sure only further infuriates their opponents.

The thing is celebrities have a wider, more powerful platform from which to speak than people like Waldo and that's the thing that annoys them. I don't think that argument would have the appeal the "who do these people think they are" argument does, so naturally he covers his motives with misdirection. It sees to me to be a simple case of media envy.

Celebrity opinion is probably more valued than it should be, but the thing is, that's not a problem with the celebrities. When given a platform in a society with free and open expression, people should share their ideas and opinions. It's up to the listeners to determine if those opinions are worth more than anyone else's. Here's a hint, they're ussually not.


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