Monday, July 28, 2014

Celebrities Giving Their Political Opinion

I just finished reading chapter seven of the Heath Ledger book.

This chapter talks about how Heath Ledger spoke out against Australia participating in the US attack against Iraq.

The book quotes Ledger as saying he sometimes hates it when celebrities are very vocal about their views.

He didn't like other people doing it, but then he does it himself.

I can't fault him too much. I think it's very human to dislike a behavior in others and then find yourself doing it.

We talked about this sort of behavior this weekend.

I came in the middle of the conversation, so I'm not sure how it started, or what celebrity they were referring to. But my mom was bothered by some celebrity expressing their leftist views, and Tim was trying to figure out if she'd be equally bothered if a celebrity expressed views that were more similar to her own.

My mom made a comment along the lines of singers and actors sing and act; they don't have the ability to have informed opinions.

I really get annoyed with this type of opinion. Why shouldn't the opinion of singers, actors, writers, artists have merit?  If you sing and act, does this mean you're automatically immune from having an informed opinion?

But then someone else at the table (maybe Tim?) suggested maybe the problem is more about it being unfair for celebrities to use their fame to express their opinion. They have a huge platform to express their views, and it does feel kind of unfair to those of us who don't have a huge audience.

That being said, I'm not sure unfairness equals wrongness. And since I express my views, in this blog and elsewhere, wouldn't it be unfair to say it's okay for me, but not for someone like Alyssa Milano?

I think we're all entitled to an opinion, whether we're not famous or very famous...or somewhere in between.

The thing though about having a strong and vocal political opinion is you're likely to end up alienating people who have an opposing view.  If you have a small audience, you're in danger of alienating only a small number of people. If you have a large audience, you're in danger of alienating a lot of people.

Does that mean we should stay safe and keep our opinions to ourselves?

No. Not necessarily. It just means we should be aware of the risks of speaking up.

Be prepared for the shit to hit the fan.