By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – Full disclosure: I’m writing this post pre-Grammys.
The pundits are already salivating over potential political diatribes from the podium, however. Via Page Six:
As such, Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich has a message for those who will take the stage on Sunday’s ceremony: Bring it on.
Ehrlich has no reservations about political messages or anti-President Trump statements flying during CBS’ three and a half hour Grammycast. Artists expressing passionate opinions about real-life issues are the stuff of memorable moments, he said.
“One of the tenets of our show is artistic freedom, and over the years we’ve shown we do believe in it,” Ehrlich told Variety. “How many more times do we need to hear ‘I’d like to thank my publicist, my agent, my wife and kids.’ The great acceptance speeches are ones that have a point of view and are more personal.”
For some reason, celebrities seem to believe that their opinion on immigration or trade policy matters more than yours and therefore you need to hear what they have to say. So instead of graciously accepting the award, be it the Oscar, the Grammy, the Tony, whatever, too often they launch off into a tirade against whatever hot-button issue or politician is currently at the forefront. Right now, it’s all anti-Trump.
Meryl Streep, for example, lashed out at Donald Trump at The Golden Globes earlier this month and again this weekend in accepting an award from the Human Rights Campaign. Meryl Streep is a brilliant, stunning actress, and while it’s true that she is also a human being with opinions just like the rest of us, is the Golden Globe podium the right place for that tirade?
Should celebrities just keep their mouths shut? Should they act like one-dimensional people without opinions and just act (or sing, or dance, or write…)?
For the most part, people don’t really care what celebrities think, or at least people aren’t particularly influenced by what celebrities think. It might make us feel good, or vindicated, when our favorite entertainer hold the same opinion that we do. But the opposite also holds true that if an artist holds a different opinion than us, and is perhaps very zealous in promoting their opposing opinion, we may be turned off of their work and regard them differently. I can think of a couple of entertainers that I simply will not support any more because of their outspoken, less than gracious, opinions. Not to say that’s the right way to respond, but it is in fact my response. And that is my right just as it is their right to speak out.
In the end, we are all human, celebrities included. They have just as much right to an opinion as anyone else, but there was once a time in the golden days of Hollywood when the studios saw their actors as “property” and expected them to reflect the image of that studio. It was their job to act, not to promote their own social issues and woe to the celeb that stepped out of line. Even today there are certain professions were political silence is mandatory. Things have changed in Hollywood and many actors own their own studios or produce their own films, so they can behave and speak however they choose. Those golden days are long gone in more ways than one.
I, for one, rather miss them.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.