Hollywood celebrities seem to regard it as their God-given right to constantly hector we ignorant masses on the proper way to vote. But what, exactly, is the source of their unshakeable moral authority? Apparently, nothing more than the ability to read someone else’s words and fake a few emotions.
Voters in the United States, Britain, Europe, or anywhere in the Western world are grown adults, as perfectly capable as anyone else of making up their minds who to vote for as they are of driving their cars, going to their jobs, buying their houses, raising their families, and tying their shoelaces. Yet hardly a day goes by that these rational adults aren’t subjected to a barrage of carping, hectoring, condescending lectures about who they should vote for by Hollywood celebrities who seem to labour under the delusion that anyone who isn’t a Hollywood celebrity is a functional child who needs to be gently but firmly guided towards the right decisions.
Without the collective wisdom of Hollywood, they seem to think, the rest of us would soon send the world to Hell in a handcart. Only the people who brought you Transformers and Jack and Jill can save us from the consequences of our own collective stupidity.
Well, not to put too fine a point on it, Hollywood, but go to hell. Because the blunt truth is that most of the celebrities aren’t very well educated or informed, they only act that way. Acting smarter than they are, after all, is what they do. It’s all they do.
Take, for instance, Hollywood activists like Susan Sarandon: a degree in drama; Meryl Streep, likewise. George Takei dropped architecture and opted for theatre instead. Despite a scholarship to study dance, Madonna dropped out of college altogether, as did Rosie O’Donnell. Sean Penn and Mark Ruffalo both have high school educations. Now, this isn’t to mock anyone’s education, merely to note that many of the loudest mouths in Hollywood have either not pursued much in the way of academic achievement, or at best have opted for the softest of the soft options in the Arts.
Certainly, few, if any, have even elected to subject themselves to the demands of the academically rigorous selections of the Humanities: economics, say, or philosophy, history or politics. Instead, it’s all drama, dance and theatre which is fine if you want to make your living wringing out fake tears or pretending to drive a spaceship, but it hardly equips you to lecture the world at large on international relations or global finance.
Nor is this to say that anyone who hasn’t a degree in a tough subject isn’t qualified to have an opinion. Of course, many people without formal education have been quite brilliant. Groucho Marx or Truman Capote both had little formal schooling, for instance, while US President Harry Truman or Australian Prime Minister Joe Lyons both had tradesman-like educations.
Meanwhile, highly qualified fools abound: as Thomas Franks points out, the Obama cabinet consisted of a stellar Ivy League meritocracy and it failed miserably on so many fronts. Rather, it shows that Hollywood loudmouths have no particular authority with which to lecture we hoi polloi. Their only qualification is that they can pretend to be something they’re not – and that shouldn’t inspire confidence in anyone.
Moreover, the intellectual and moral authority of Hollywood can be reliably dismissed by the jejune vacuity of the opinions they so often spout. Hollywood has long been synonymous with any and every empty-headed, pseudo-intellectual fad, from New Age navel-gazing to UFO cults, – and of course Scientology. Many of the most hectoring celebrities are ardent 9/11 Truthers – Martin Sheen, Mark Ruffalo, Rosie O’Donnell and Janeane Garafolo, just to name a few. Loudly expounding such weird notions from the celebrity bully pulpit surely bespeaks a fundamental shortage of critical thinking.
Flaky environmentalism is also a byword for the Hollywood liberal set. Meryl Streep, for instance, honed her pearl-clutching ways lending her celebrity aura to a spurious scare-campaign against the use of the pesticide Alar on apples. The celebrity eco-crite lecturing the masses on the necessity of “saving the planet” while they swan about the world in their fleet of private jets, is practically its own meme. Well, enough is enough. Hollywood celebrities need to realise that the ability to parrot someone else’s words and fake a few emotions does not make them the moral arbiters of society.
The rest of us need to realise that it’s long past time to stop paying any attention to the absurd twitterings of Hollywood celebrities. We pay them to paint themselves and dance, they can paint themselves and dance then go home to their walled mansions and shut the hell up.