The debate over whether or not entertainers should be allowed to express their political views goes on. Here’s Eric Olsen serving up his latest contribution here at Blogcritics.
Okay, I’m convinced – time to turn over the government to musicians because if we enjoy their music, then surely they know what’s best regarding foreign policy. I think the judgment shown in letting rip with a fireworks display in a crowded broom closet speaks well of musicians everywhere.
What’s that you say? It’s not fair to tar all musicans for the dangerous mindlessness of a few? It makes at least as much sense as turning to musicians for advice on the affairs of state. I love musicians, I AM a musician at least on some level, but as a class, musicians are some of the most insular, unrealistic, blind, dogmatic people I know. This may be great for making art, but it is really bad for making public policy…
Whereupon Eric goes on to shred this initiative being headed by Russell Simmons and David Byrne. The most heated discussions at Blogcritics are the political ones and this has so far proven to be no exception. Suffice to say that early in the ensuing comments-fest Eric made this comment:
I am saying, why does anyone think that just because someone is a celebrity, he/she knows what the hell they are talking about?
To which I’ve lately responded myself by asking, why should we then assume that just because someone is a politician that they know what they’re talking about? We hope they do, much as we hope that any professional knows how to ply their trade, but we shouldn’t automatically make that assumption. There are musicians who should never be let near a microphone, and I’m sure there are politicians who should never be let near a political party registration form.
I don’t know. I’m just long since over this wholesale slamming of entertainers for voicing political opinions. Actually, it’s not even that people wish famous folks would keep their traps shut when it comes to political matters, it’s more that pro-war types like Eric seem to get shitty when famous folks express specifically anti-war opinions. Cf. this article by Matthew Reid from Front Page Magazine, which starts by duly noting Kid Rock’s pro-war sentiments expressed at a pre-Grammys party recently, then goes on to blast at some length his Grammy duetting partner Sheryl Crow for her anti-war sentiments. Interesting how the artist formerly known as Bob Ritchie doesn’t cop a similar spray, even though he was basically doing the same thing as Sheryl, i.e. expressing his stance on a political matter. Evidently it’s OK for some to do that but not others, depending upon the particular stance taken. Of course, I’m sure there are anti-war commentators out there willing to stick the knife into celebrities for being pro-war. It’s just that pro-war commentators seem to be the ones going on the attack more often.
Anyway, if you reckon all the people who’ve signed on with that Win Without War thing are idiots, then just ignore them. Don’t buy their records, don’t listen to them, don’t read about them, switch off the radio or TV when they come on. That’s the real difference between a musician and a politician: if you don’t support a musician, you don’t have to live with the consequences of their political opinions. You can’t do that with a politician. I didn’t vote for John Howard, but I DO have to live with the consequences of his political opinions whether I like them or not.