If 2016 has done anything which once seemed unthinkable it was this: It has made/turned/exposed many a “political” celebrity into a laughing-stock. And that’s a fate worse than death for a cohort of people who take themselves far, far, far (did I say far?) too seriously.
Over the years I’ve commented to friends and others about this phenom. I would always preface my comments with the usual, “Why does anyone care what _________ (fill in the blank) thinks? Just because it’s __________ I’m suppose to think, well, if _________ says it, it must be true?”
Usually this is where some imaginary bell would ring and it was “Game on!” Although that illusionary sound should be a signal of warning as to “shut up, and shut up now!” Usually, I don’t – and the once hallowed seal of the verbal apocalypse (i.e., never talk religion, politics) is broken.
Generally this is where that one family member, friend, or total stranger in the gathering not only feels free, but rather, now becomes embolden to not only defend the celebrity, but also defend their position with reasoning just as vapid, and just as convoluted as theirs.
We’ve all been there. And if you haven’t? I’ll just assume you’re a much more disciplined person than myself. Although I have much improved. (If you want a clue as to how I can or have ended up in these types of predicaments? Let’s just say I’m the guy who thought he was being polite one day in conversation and asked a wonderful lady “So? When are you expecting?” Hint: She wasn’t. You can “fill in the blank” as they say for yourselves as to what transpired after. All I’ll say is this: I wouldn’t ask that question again even if I were standing in a maternity room!)
Celebrities have always been used (and I mean just that – used) as to help sway public opinion one way or another. Or, to seemingly give some stamp-of-approval to one candidate over another. It’s been going on forever, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.
However, with that said I do believe the most recent incarnation of the “political celebrity” may indeed be going way of the Dodo bird. Case in point: Martin Sheen and his leading of the gaggle to influence electors of the electoral college to stand up – and cast their vote for someone else.
In what was supposedly some form of call-to-action video Martin Sheen (did you notice the purple shirt?) and others called for electors to change their votes away from their sworn obligated duties and cast them for someone else. They wouldn’t openly state their desired choice (cough-Hillary-cough) however the intent was clear.
The problem? A few electors did just that. The result? The exact opposite of what they
prayed, begged, tantrum’d hoped for, inflicting even further humiliation into what can only be described as – rubbing rock salt into an already mortal wound.
It doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on. If you look at this latest episode in the effectiveness of “celebrity” endorsements you can not come away with anything less than it no longer works.
This isn’t to say that a celebrity per se doesn’t have influence. They can, and do. Yet – there’s a catch. And here it is:
The celebrity will have to be willing, as well as able to clearly define their arguments, along with the caveat of demonstrating via their own lifestyle or such that they themselves are abiding by the principles of what they are professing. Not simply “I’m _________ and I want you to vote for X because I’m _________ and that should be enough reason for you.”
That has been the modus operandi of today’s incarnation of the “political celebrity” for the last few decades. It was subtle at first, yet, it has now become an inescapable crescendo. And what else is also becoming quite obvious, that is, obvious to everyone else ‘cept for these celebrities? Their messages are being either: a) Rejected in total. Or, b) Having the exact opposite effect, as well as impact.
Here are a few examples… (Let me just make clear: This has nothing to do with where I might stand on any point, I may or may not have the same viewpoint. However, I can articulate why and I demand others to do the same if they feel the right to question me. As should you. Period.)
Matt Damon strongly says “guns are the problem.” And yet the only movies worth remembering him for are ones where he’s shooting up everything in sight with more guns and bullets held by most small nations.
Leonardo DiCaprio espouses that everyone should change their lifestyles as to reduce their carbon footprint and save the world – as he flies in on his private jet then retreats back to his mansion of choice where the yearly salary of most wouldn’t cover the utility bills, let alone the jet fuel for a month.
The cast of the play “Hamilton” which decided it was their “right” to publicly give a political “schooling” to the Vice President-elect from the stage not realizing the very man who is the namesake of that play is the reason for the election results. Adding insult to injury, it was also learned not only did the actor/actors appear absolutely clueless to both the man, as well as his words and their meaning. They didn’t even vote!
And last, but certainly not least, there was the afore-mentioned debacle of Martin Sheen et al’s call-for-action
begging plea to turn the election on its head and help pave the way for the possible coronation of their approved choice.
The problem? Hint: More electors jumped ship who were supposed to endorse their presumed candidate of choice adding further humiliation to an already laughable charade for constitutional insurgency.
All the above are only a few, however they might as well be all for there now seems to the equivalent of a groundswell of “The Emperor is naked” happening to a lot of once “true believers” in the “political celebrity” than I can remember.
How do I know this to be true? Let’s just say by empirical evidence which I myself gathered by my own first hand accounts. What were they you ask? Fair question, so I’ll just end here with this…
That “person” who always is the first to come rushing in to defend the celebrity? Let’s just say when any “hot button topic” came up for discussion?
They were nowhere to be found.
© 2016 Mark St.Cyr