A few weeks back, Joss Whedon, the grand poobah of geekdom made a PSA about voting in the American presidential election. As expected, it was clever, thoughtful, and had oodles of big name actors in it telling people to get out a vote, and taking a shot at Orange-faced American Hitler-wanna-be Donald Trump,
Partisan crap aside, I saw a few comments about the PSA that I thought were odd, but not surprising. A lot of people slammed the celebrities, saying they should keep their mouths shut, that they didn’t know anything, that they should stick to acting.
I found this odd because all they were doing was telling people to get out and vote… and maybe show off Mark Ruffalo’s junk.
Sadly, there are a lot of examples of celebrities trying to take a political stand and failing miserably. One that comes to mind is some reporter asking Brittney Spears if she thought President George “Dubya” Bush was doing a good job. In hindsight, you have to wonder why a reporter worth anything would ask her anything about politics. But that is an example of a celebrity not knowing jack shit about anything they are being asked. It was an embarrassment to her and the reporter.
There are some celebrities who have causes that they continually speak up for and about. Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo, Sean Penn seem to be among the few who actually put their names and faces towards their causes. Although Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be another, he has recently gotten into some trouble as has lost his standing among the Save-The-World folks. I won’t include George Clooney because since he started doing those Nespresso commercials, and since there is no mention as to whether those little cup that you put in the machine are biodegradable, he should be put on the naughty list.
Noticed I used the word “seem” a lot? That’s because I don’t really follow any of these celebrities and their exploits, unless they are in a movie I want to see. Sure their famous name may bring some recognition to a cause, which is good. They may even be true activists, like Shailene Woodley, when she got arrested recently along with a group of others protesting a pipeline.
But the truth is, a lot of these celebrities, even the ones who are all in, getting arrested, marching with others, etc., have the money and clout to get themselves out of problems that the majority of their fellow activists can’t. Sure Shailene Woodley went to jail, but she had the cash to get herself out. There were reports she bailed out the others, but that could just be spin.
Unfortunately, after reading a piece on Time magazine’s website from Woodley herself, it kind of puts a dent in the point of this blog, which is that celebrities have a right to speak out just as much as anyone else. But reading her article, as passionate and heart-felt as I’m sure she though it was, it just comes off as a little elitist, a little too 60’s-ish, a little too “I’m better than you because I stood alongside some Native Americans.”
THAT is why people don’t want to hear from celebrities on important issues. For average John and Jane Q. Public, they feel the celebrities are talking down to them, asking them why they aren’t doing more? Why aren’t they saving the planet? Why aren’t they doing something about climate change? When in truth, these average people have more relative and pressing concerns like “how am I going to pay my bills?”, “Can I afford the groceries this week?”, and “How am I going to afford a good future for my kids?”
Sure people are worried about the big picture problems. But its the immediate problems that affect average people the most. So a celebrity talking about pipelines, climate change, etc. doesn’t matter . Now, if those same celebrities used their clout to create a universal healthcare system, made sure average people made enough money to get by, or ensured a secure education for their kids, I’m betting average people would care more about what celebrities say.
As much as some people may not want to hear from a celebrity about their big causes, those same celebrities have the right to speak out about those subjects. They have just as much right as anyone else. Some people may think they are talking out of their asses, and they very well may be, but they have the right to do so.
Hahaha, that was a first! I had the point of my blog get side-swiped mid-way though.
So I leave it up to you. Celebrities have the right to their opinion, but should we hear them?
You’re choice I guess.