The Influence of Celebrities

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The Influence of Celebrities

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.

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.