Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Celebrities and their opinions

The latest YouTube video to be 'Shared' over and over on my Facebook timeline is entitled Patrick Stewart Gives Passionate Response To Question About Domestic Abuse.  The world of social media, of course, has unanimously adjudged this to be a Good Thing™.

While I don't doubt that Patrick Stewart has some very interesting things to say on this topic, I am often left feeling slightly uneasy when celebrities get themselves involved in good causes with which they have a personal connection.  That they are well-intentioned is not in question - but when it comes to a topic of such importance and significance as domestic abuse, surely objective, rational thought is desirable, rather than a hotheaded emotional response?

There will be those who look at any celebrity involvement in a cause like this as a positive thing, because it helps to raise awareness (the favourite hobby of people who want to feel they are doing good).  However, I do wonder why, as a society, we give such credence to celebrity opinions in general.

The world is not exactly short of Blog posts and newspaper articles by actors and authors, poets and popstars, each a household name (like 'Slopbucket'), and each keen to get on his favourite political hobby-horse and trumpet his own opinions, knowing that people will listen because he is famous.  (Neither, as it happens, is there any shortage of bitter, ranty Blog posts by complete nonentities complaining that the world is not exactly how they'd like it to be - but spare me the smug comments pointing out this irony.)

I guess I'm just puzzled as to why a celebrity's opinion, even in a field which is nothing to do with what that person is known for, seems to carry so much more weight than the opinions of an 'ordinary' person.  Just because someone has had some modest success as a singer, that doesn't suddenly make them an expert on (for example) social housing issues - and if they have some personal connection to the issue of social housing, that still doesn't mean that what they have to say is worth anything, it just makes it more likely that they'll use their public platform with even more zealous fervour, and expect to have people take notice of them.

1 comment:

JerseySjov said...

I think it's driven by the idea that "If someone enjoys my acting/singing, they might be persuaded to stand with me on this cause," or "I am important enough that people will be interested to hear what I have to say and perhaps change their minds." When you feel strongly about something you use any platform you can to discuss it, and when you are a celebrity the odds are greater that other people will listen to you. The trouble comes when a public figure claims to be the expert on an issue and misinforms the masses (see: Jenny McCarthy, immunizations)

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave a comment - give your feedback, answer a question, start a debate, make a point, or simply hurl abuse... It's up to you! ;)