For as long as I can remember, people have been bitching about celebrities voicing their opinions. Should celebrity opinions matter? Doesn’t matter where they voice them, the response from their detractors is always the same: stick to acting. Or music. Or writing books. Or playing ball. Whatever it is, some people simply cannot wait to voice their own opinions on the matter of…people voicing their opinions. It all boils down to this: some people seek the quickest path to dismissal.
The quickest path to dismissal needs its own Law or something. I see it all the time, and you’re going to see me writing about it a lot. But for now, just accept that people are lazy. They don’t want to have to exert energy refuting others, basically. Also, we humans seem to have a predilection for casting stones, especially at bigger targets. There’s zero risk in trolling celebs online, but the reward – getting a famous person to respond – is tremendous. There’s clearly a huge incentive to dick with celebrities on the internet.
Be Aware of Double Standards
A few other interesting things I’ve observed with regard to this, though. The first is that these people never wield this rebuttal against celebrities they agree with. Only the celebs with divergent opinions are prompted to “STFU.” Second, every one of the naysayers have social media accounts that are brimming with their own opinions. So by what metric are we measuring who is worthy of having an opinion? If celebs “don’t know what they’re talking about” or “should stick to acting,” does this not also apply to us? Why are we allowed to hurl our opinions all over the place with reckless abandon?
If Chris Kluwe should stick to kicking a football, does this mean that Hometown Harold should stick to shelving toilet paper at the grocery store? If Lena Headey should stop posting whatever the fuck she wants on her social media, does this mean we get to decide what Flo Schmoe posts on hers? What makes my opinion or your opinion more valid than anyone else’s? Do some people subconsciously want to feel as if their voice supersedes that of a famous person? I can see how that would be a source of validation for someone, but that doesn’t make it right.
I remember people whining about Matt Damon back when the Iraq war kicked off. Lots of other celebrities who voiced disapproval, but I seem to remember people shitting on Damon the most. And let us never forget what happened to the Dixie Chicks. Yet most of the people I recall hating on the anti-war celebrities never applied their standard to people like Bruce Willis. Why didn’t Willis have to “stick to acting”? Why don’t James Woods or Arnold Schwarzenegger have to shut up? (For the record, this double-standard cuts both ways, so I’m not trying to only shit on conservatives here. I see liberals take the quickest path to dismissal all the time, too.)
Celebrities Are Entitled to Their Opinions, Too
Celebrities are people, too. They have the same rights as the rest of us, and no one is forcing you to agree with them. You are not even obligated to listen to them. But they are entitled to their opinions, in this country at least. The right to free expression is a beautiful thing, and I would defend your right to it, even if I hated what you had to say. No matter how smart or informed you think you are, you are not the arbiter of what people are allowed to say. Chances are, you don’t want random jackasses telling you what you’re allowed to say, write, share, etc., so why not find something better to do with your time than whining at celebrities you don’t even like?
Lastly, it doesn’t matter if you think they’re stupid, wrong, ill-informed, or anything else. I don’t care if they just said the dumbest shit in the history of mankind. They’re allowed to. The potential for someone voicing a dumb opinion is not factored into the equation. It’s a guarantee in a free society. People are going to say dumb shit. Refute them. Debate them. Disagree with them. But don’t dismiss them simply because you don’t like what they have to say. And this is even assuming that what they have to say is dumb. What if it’s not? What makes you qualified to tell?
Don’t assume that being famous automatically disqualifies someone from knowing other shit. In fact, it stands to reason that sometimes a celebrity may be significantly more qualified to speak on a topic than we are. Like when this person tried to call guitarist Tom Morello out for being an “instant political expert.” The bottom line is this: we must afford other people the same freedoms we expect for ourselves. That is justice. That is equality. That is right.
Do I think celebrity opinions should matter? No more or less than the rest of us.