Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Who cares what Beyonce thinks?

Who cares what Beyonce thinks? Yes, she should lend her celebrity to better causes, but who cares? Who cares which drug kingpin Sean Penn endorses, or if Dustin Hoffman has an unfavorable opinion of our legal system? Who cares if someone as socially responsible as Kanye West thinks all cops are dishonest? In fact, should anyone earning millions in the land of ‘make believe’ comment on anything meaningful?

In a universe dumbed down by social media, perhaps one should appreciate the thoughts of others. After all, even a stupid opinion has greater value than a photo of today's brunch. But in a culture that creates gods out of celebrity, perhaps the expectation should be raised. Come to think of it, expectations were raised decades ago when self immolating movie stars began adding publicists to the payroll. Before twitter, profiting from celebrity stupidity was a booming industry. Today, anyone with a pulse can ruin his career before the next commercial break. Heck, even Kramer flamed out while Facebook was in diapers.

Despite repeated warnings to avoid controversy, today's false gods just can't shut up. Our policy makers- who society permits to say lots of stupid shit- are also continually back pedaling out of the muck. Despite being ordained as experts on every matter, our elected representatives often out perform on the stupidity quotient. While politicians aren't usually reckless enough to endorse terrorism at the Super Bowl, their opinions matter. Our elected operate in a system unfairly wedded to corporate influence. So, in politics, a few greased representatives will tilt policy greater than any black beret wearing songstress ever will.

Take, as an overstated example, New York's Billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg. He spent over $100 million of his own money to “influence” city council members to extend his two terms as mayor ($100 million for a job that pays $225 k per year. Does anyone else smell corruption?) Unfortunately, the third term was a political disaster for Bloomberg’s approval ratings and his legacy. While always a savvy speaker, Bloomberg could not verbally detach himself from bad policy in his final term. Between a failed tax on large beverages, poorly proposed tolls on local bridges, and unwavering support for unpopular criminal justice policies, both he and his police commissioner ended their third term with far lower approval ratings than it began. Had Bloomberg just accepted his two-term blessing, he may have gone down as New York's most favorable mayor. Bloomberg’s legacy is now tarnished, yet his city council representatives- who repeatedly spew irresponsible bias (see Charles Barron, or Melissa Mark-Viverito)- are little known for their acts of shoddy adultmanship. Too many celebrities and politicians use their publicity to promote private gain over the public good, and that’s reprehensible.

But let’s not confuse the issue. While there is significance to having a platform in a media obsessed culture, the fact remains that these people are not role models. Despite idol status, they are flawed human beings -just like us- and, like us, they should be held equally accountable for their mistakes. So when some boob politician gets caught with a prostitute, or when some child heart throb is detained for smuggling drugs onto a plane, don’t be outraged. Be glad that they too are human, and hope there’s accountability for the misstep. There’s no need to boycott an awards show they’re hosting, or to cease support of your favorite cereal or malt liquor. And for Christ’s sake put down the remote control. Though celebrities may be false idols, their talent is well deserved and out of our reach. Don’t think your adult obsessed displacement will ever overcome your child’s multi-million to one odds of making it big. And lastly, If you’re relying on your cable box or some barely literate, college educated sports star to do your job as a parent, then you as a parent are failing. 

...But then again, who cares what I think?

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