In the latest episode of “Celebrity Speaks,” we have a rapper who’s stirring up some controversy over her comments regarding the COVID vaccine, and we’ve got a comedian who’s drawing attention for his political opinions.
This long-running series of celebrities imparting “knowledge” should have its own weekly time slot on TV. It would make for comedy gold.
I have no issue with anyone using his or her platform in an effort to educate or to support important issues.
My problem comes when I consider the source.
Maybe it’s because a long time ago, the expression “Consider the source” usually came with a smirk. The words followed some ridiculous statement from someone we considered a few cans shy of a six-pack. We knew the words were messed up because, simply put, so was the source.
Not long ago, a rocker who was popular in the ’70s was all over the current airways spouting off his political views. I bought the guy’s albums when I was a teenager.
But hearing Mr. Sex and Rock ’N’ Roll telling us how we should think and/or vote? He’s also an avowed anti-vaxxer.
Big smirk. Consider the source.
I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing this much celebrity opinion over the first five decades of my life. Sure, there were activists who used their fame to push for changes. I can honestly say many of them appeared to be making honest efforts to do some good.
Nowadays? Not so much. It’s all about earning “followers” on social media and, deep down, a way to draw attention.
From where I sit, it appears the famous crave attention more than I crave food. They can’t seem to live without it, and any attention is better than none. It’s why, in my opinion, you see famous folks from years ago suddenly popping up on TV or in our newsfeeds. The guy who was a child actor and teen heartthrob in the ’70s (my sisters had his poster on their walls) disappeared for years. His acting career evaporated.
Now he’s back and making sure as many people as possible hear his opinion on politics.
Sadly, some will listen to the famous — just because they’re famous. Never mind that the child actor built his fame on pretending to be someone else (that’s what actors do, right?) or that the rocker’s sole purpose was to bang away on his guitar. They have name recognition, and for some, that’s the only necessary factor. Hey, if Chewbacca or Scooby-Doo had opinions, there would be someone there to agree.
How did things change so much? How did those folks manage to have their words — however asinine the words might be — broadcast in public?
Platforms. Tons and tons of platforms. TV, radio, blogs, podcasts, social media ... the list goes on and on. Anyone with a mouth has a place to use it now.
What credential requirements exist for those?
None. Zip. Anyone can say anything, and the more famous he or she is, the bigger the audience.
The other side of that coin is no matter what the topic of conversation might be, somebody out there is looking for nothing more than a reason to nod his or her head in agreement. If I want to argue the world is flat and hollow as a Frisbee, I can find a voice somewhere agreeing with me. As soon as I read or hear it, I can nod my head. See? I knew I was right.
Riding that fame train has led to some train wrecks. We’re seeing people elected to office based on no more than how many games they won as a coach or player or how many movie tickets they sold. The guy elected to the Senate can’t tell us the three branches of government, but he can talk some football, and that’s more important, right?
Worst of all, folks will believe just about anyone over actual experts. Way back in the spring, I chose to get my COVID vaccination. A guy I know called me about it and asked why I decided to do it. His doctor recommended he do so, but the guy was hesitant. I was straight with him. I told him I wanted to protect the people around me as much as possible. I didn’t care to fight the virus a second time without at least having a weapon in hand. I wanted to do whatever I could, and the shot was my best option, in my opinion.
After our conversation, the guy said he was gonna get his shot.
Wait. You listened to me instead of your doctor? Me? The guy who, on any given day, might be wearing his underwear inside/out?
Friends, we have experts out there with far more knowledge than we have. I don’t care if we’re talking medicine, politics or mechanics. They’ve studied and worked in their fields. They know more than we do.
They certainly know more than any rappers, actors or athletes. Being famous doesn’t equate to being right.
Please be careful. Information is both useful and dangerous depending on how, and from where, it’s dispensed.
If the person we choose to guide a life decision has no more credibility than a couple of heavy metal tunes from 40 years ago, or maybe a brief time as a teen idol, or a couple of spots on the Billboard rap charts ...
... we really might want to reconsider the source.