Why People Need To Stop Telling Celebrities To “Shut Up About Politics”

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First off, I am NOT a celebrity and I likely never will be. It’s not because I don’t care for the occupation or those who work in it, but it just isn’t for me. I’m too shy of a person for one thing, but careers that lead to folks eventually becoming celebrities (actor, musician, etc.) have just never been what I’ve wanted to do. My dream is to become a professional screenwriter.

At this time of year, especially ON that magical year that is a leap year and multiple of four, people are talking politics. At the time I’m writing this, we are three months away from finding out who our 45th president will be.

I don’t have to express my displeasure about the online “brawling” that happens between folks who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. If you’re on the internet or any area of social media for more than five minutes, you can see it for yourself.

As much as I would love for people to simply say that they will “agree to disagree,” I’m better off playing the lottery. I’ll win that long before this will ever happen.

However, there is one particular area that irks me as far as politics go, and that is those who tell celebrities or imply that because someone is an actress, musician, professional athlete and so on, that they should “just shut up about politics.” It’s more about how you sound as someone who does this more so than the opinions of the celebrities you’re talking about.

Now, before any of you say, “Oh, you want to be a screenwriter. Of course you’ll defend the celebrities,” let me shut that one down for you. An actor or actress is NOT going to give me a job on the spot just because I defend them in some area or say something they agree with. They may like, share, retweet or what have you, but I seriously doubt an actress calls me up and says, “Hey! Even though I have no idea who you are, you’re a brand new writer and I’ve been in the business for a lot of years, I really appreciate you defending me. Come by my studio in NYC or L.A. and I’ll see what writing job I can get for you!” Chances are, as much as they may agree, many would be too busy to remember any length of time from now that I am the person who wrote this in the first place, which is fine, because life does move on. I don’t expect them to just sit on this until they die.

And speaking of actresses, there’s always someone who says, “Stop. She doesn’t care about you and she won’t sleep with you. Stop being a white knight.”

I get such a laugh out of that one. And here I thought that my favorite actresses would stop filming whatever show or movie they’re working on, fly to where I live and just sleep with me, and why? All because I spoke up to defend them. So defending someone automatically means I want to sleep with them? It’s not possible that I find it pathetic that a grown adult who calls him or herself a man/woman is bullying someone and I’d prefer to speak up against it. There was even one time where a teenage actress began following me on Twitter and then she spoke about her first appearance on a television show. Some no-name online radio station berated her because he or she (unsure because the radio station was the username) didn’t like the show. So I spoke up against that as well, mainly because this was a freaking teenager and you’re a grown person hiding behind a radio station screen name. Guess I was trying to sleep with her also.

Anyway, here is why I say it’s ridiculous for people to tell celebrities to “shut up about politics.”

First off, at what point does “Freedom of Speech” go away just because of someone’s career? In all my worldly intelligence, I thought that Freedom of Speech means that the government cannot silence us for our views, nor can we be persecuted for them. I’m guessing the average Joe on the street in no way represents the entire government. So who are you to say they cannot speak about what they choose?

On top of that, one of the main reasons is because he or she is a celebrity. And let’s be totally honest here. I can be as cordial as anyone else, but one thing I’m not is stupid by any means. Celebrities for the most part have fame and/or fortune. A lot of people are jealous of that. It’s that simple. This is why celebrities and their opinions can irritate people so easily. Of course, so few would actually admit that, but to me, there’s no reason to be so angered by them if that wasn’t the case.

One thing that is often said is, “Celebrities need to just stick with acting/sports/singing (etc.) and stop talking politics.” Here’s a question for you: Do you walk around all day and talk ONLY about the job you do?

Let’s say you worked at McDonalds (not putting down ANY job, because honest work is honest work). Do you leave and spend ALL your off time asking what you can get someone, serving people or talking about your new sandwiches? I’m guessing you don’t. So why should a celebrity “stick to what they know” and never be allowed to talk politics?

Not to mention, how do you know as some random person on social media that they don’t know politics?

Concerning “sticking with what they know,” let’s also say you have a friend who works at a bar down the street from your job, or they could be doing whatever at all. How often have you told him or her that they “need to stick with what they know” in reference to their job when they say something you don’t agree with? Chances are, you haven’t. You’ve likely had many disagreements with them and very seldom is their job mentioned.

So again…why are celebrities told to “stick with” acting, sports, singing, etc., as if that is the absolute ONLY thing they know how to do?

Here is what I think it ultimately boils down to. Your friend talks politics on his or her social media page and you don’t agree. Now I’m no psychiatrist, but I can imagine that it may bother you. So what do you do? You check how many people have “liked,” shared, retweeted or whatever happens on Instagram (I don’t have an account with them, so I don’t know) and there’s your “validation.” I’ve personally known people who say they do this. An opinion holds less weight if a small number give positive attention to it and more if otherwise. So if you don’t agree, you feel just a little better if not that many people seemed to agree with the person also.

Let’s say on a particular post, the opinion of this friend you don’t agree with has maybe 10-15 “likes” and a few shares. It is what it is, right?

Now…let’s take that celebrity who gives that opinion you don’t agree with. Not only did that person have the audacity to share his or her opinion in the first place, you know, BEING A CELEBRITY AND ALL, but oh, look…2,000 people “liked” it, 3,500 retweeted and 8,000 people shared it to their own Facebook pages. WAY more than what your friend received, and the best you could muster up for one of your opinions is something like maybe 30 “likes.” Now you are HOT.

It honestly has little to do with just having an opinion that doesn’t match yours. I don’t believe so. I think it’s about the fact that now, the opinion you don’t like has WAY more folks agreeing with it than yours. THAT’S the part that bothers you. Being sore, you snap back at that celebrity with very little having to do with his or her opinion, but something that you think will hurt them, and that is their career. You go. Stay classy.

Earlier on Twitter, I saw someone say, to the effect, that celebrities “just need to stop acting like their opinions are stronger than ours.” What people have to realize is that while yes, there ARE celebrities who are full of themselves (as pretty much is the case with ANY career), many don’t feel their opinions mean more. It’s just that they have a bigger platform and can obviously reach a lot more people MUCH faster than much of what we can do. So their words may ultimately mean more because of who they are, but it’s not because they are specifically saying it themselves.

But back to them not being able to speak their minds because of what they do and back to my McDonalds example. Now let’s say that one of them said, “Well, you work at McDonalds. Your opinion REALLY means nothing. You should just go back to flipping burgers.” There would be ALL KINDS of hell raised. Not to mention, their words may sting a little more because in the grand scope of things, sadly, your opinion does reach far less people. But before you say that it isn’t the same thing, you’re wrong. It’s exactly the same thing.

You’re trying to tell them that because of their occupation, their opinion doesn’t hold weight. So they tell you the same. How is that any different? If you can say that, they should be able to also, even though many likely would not.

Even worse are again, those who even attack the careers of celebrities just because of differing opinions also, which really makes you sound like a complete jerk. It’s bad enough that the same ones who cry so much about the first and second amendments “being taken away” seem to want to take these very same rights from celebrities when they don’t agree with them. But very often, people will say things like a celebrity is just “trying to stay relevant” or that they are “washed up and want to stir the pot to seem important” and whatever overused nonsense you can imagine.

Back in July, one of my favorite actresses, Debra Messing, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on the final evening of the event. One exchange I found very funny that happened on Twitter that weekend is when she was told by another no-name online radio station, to the effect, that “as an actress who can’t get work outside of the Hallmark network, she shouldn’t be talking politics.”

What I found funny is that Debra has never worked for Hallmark. She just starred on a show last season for NBC (The Mysteries of Laura) and from what I understand, NBC is a pretty major network last I checked. Speaking of NBC, Debra also did eight seasons there of a little show call Will and Grace. Perhaps you’ve heard of that one, too. Yes, I know that The Mysteries of Laura was cancelled after two seasons (with more than respectable ratings), but these days, to put down a show that makes it at all on a major network would be the same as insulting the man who backed up Michael Jordan in his heyday. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Not anyone can just stroll onto the NBC lot and get a show there.

But this is how many people are. And here’s the thing people also don’t realize…these performers, whether an actress like Debra, or an athlete or musician, have likely heard many of these “insults” before. This stuff is nothing new to them. Seriously…do you think that the stuff being said on social media is the first time they’ve seen and heard it? I’m no public performer, but I’m going to guess that, with as difficult as it is to get into many of these careers, they’ve likely been told MUCH worse at one time or another, and this is to their faces by those IN the business. So social media trolls are likely not even close to as bad as they’ve received, even though many seem to just aim to hurt these celebrities, as I above, very likely out of jealousy as I said above.

Speaking of which, would you say the same about a celebrity “shutting up and staying out of politics” if you agreed with them? After all, if you aren’t jealous, are being completely unbiased, and TRULY feel they have no right to speak, then you should say the same thing when they say something you agree with, correct? After all, you aren’t angry that they don’t agree with you. Of course not. No way you would ever be that immature.

So, while I know this won’t “save the world” or get people who call themselves adults to behave online, some of the silly things said to celebrities needs to just be filed under “DO YOU REALIZE HOW RIDICULOUS YOU SOUND?” Because ultimately, that’s what it is. If you agree with them, then they’re the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. If you don’t, they’re trash. Far opposite ends of the spectrum. Nothing new there.
Also, does what happen in politics not affect celebrities also? Perhaps on a larger or smaller scale, but it DOES affect them as well. Do they not live in the same country as we do? And even so, just because it may not directly affect them, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an indirect concern there. After all, they DO have family members and many of them are not celebrities. Can celebrities not be concerned for them? Something else people who run off at the mouths don’t consider.

Oh, and one more thing…if you’re going to put a celebrity down for having an opinion that doesn’t match yours, make sure you have the intestinal fortitude to put your name on it. Yes, what I mean is largely referring to Twitter. Something else I find funny is that often, many of those who put down celebrities do so from accounts with vague and generic names. It would be something like “TEAMTRUMP” or “TRUTH4EVER” or basically just anything that doesn’t represent close to an actual name, along with some generic profile pic. Now if you feel like you need to hide behind that, then obviously you already know what you’re about to say and you don’t want people to know it’s you. Maybe you should think before speaking. Try that one out.

But seriously…if you wouldn’t accept a celebrity telling you that because of your job, you don’t have the right to speak your opinion, a right that EVERYONE in this country is afforded, unless you can find where in the Constitution it states that “Freedom of Speech” is limited based on certain careers, or you plan on taking the steps to rewrite the damn Constitution itself, then do me a favor. Don’t come out of your mouth and say it to them. 

End of story.

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