Who knows best?

Dec 082003
Authors: Danielle Hudson

There comes a time in all of our lives when we really start to

think for ourselves. We say to ourselves, “I am my own person, and

I can form my own opinions. I know enough about the world to decide

what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Well, we can form our own opinions, but do we? When it comes to

the political aspect of our culture, we citizens tend to turn to

anybody for suggestions, except for the people who should have the

most influence – the politicians.

Even though politicians are elected to help us, we let actors,

musicians and other cultural “elites” have too great of an impact

on our society’s political opinions.

We don’t turn to our governor or even our president for

guidance. We look to sources like the Dixie Chicks, Susan Sarandon,

Dustin Hoffman and Julia Roberts.

Our society seems to think that just because Martin Sheen plays

a president on TV, he has valid political ideals. Sheen was quoted

in a radio interview saying, “George W. Bush is like a bad comic

working the crowd, a moron, if you’ll pardon the expression.”

Whatever happened to patriotism?

I have always been under the impression that actors and

musicians are entertainers, working to entertain the masses. Yet,

somehow, pop culture demands that these entertainers step up and

tell Americans just what’s wrong with our country. I’m sorry, but

where did Mr. Sheen say he got his political science degree


Author and radio talk show host Laura Ingraham makes several

well-founded arguments in her book “Shut Up and Sing: How Elites

from Hollywood, Politics and the UN are Subverting America.”

Ingraham states: “But invariably their intelligence relates to one

line of work – acting. Their experience is in the world of

entertainment, interpreting their roles on stage and screen. Unless

they have had other important professional experience (in business

or politics), their artistic know-how does not make them

well-suited to address, let’s say, universal health care.”

I guess it all boils down to one question: Why are entertainers’

opinions so important to us? Whether in the arena of politics or

not, we trust actors and musicians to lead the way for us in doing

what’s “right.” Do we place unseemly amounts of trust in them

because they’re famous or because they really seem like wholesome,

ethical people? It’s always easier and somewhat smarter to trust

someone who is a morally upright citizen, so wouldn’t it make more

sense for us to trust performers who aren’t getting into trouble?

If an actor does something wrong (for example, Sean Penn and his

many forays into the world of assault and battery), do we stop

agreeing with his or her beliefs? No! No matter how immoral and

unethical they behave, we still think they know what’s best. Would

we do the same with our neighbors? No, we wouldn’t. And why not?

Because they’re not famous.

As citizens, we take entertainers’ words to heart, and we

respect what they have to say. But is it the same for them? Do they

respect the American public? According to the article “You (and

Bush) Are Likely Too Dumb for This” by Howard Mortman of MSNBC,

famous actors think the average American citizen is an idiot.

Several actors and other celebrities are quoted as saying that

Americans are “lunatics, ignorant people, dummies – even dumb

puppies.” If we, as citizens, are going to respect the opinions of

celebrities, isn’t it only fair that they also respect us? Maybe

this just shows that you can’t always trust what you see on TV.

As a nation, we need to let entertainers do their jobs and leave

the politicians to theirs. Our president and Congress have been put

in place for a reason. They make the laws that govern our country

and protect our freedom. Were actors elected to do that? If they

were, I didn’t get that memo.


Danielle is a sophomore studying technical journalism. She is a

copy editor for The Collegian.  dr.Hudson@ColoState.EDU

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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