Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Hijacking the podium: When Celebrities pontificate

Have you ever been to a wedding, and when the father of the bride gives her away, the dad takes advantage of the opportunity to talk and makes a speech about the minimum wage?  Me either.  There's a time and a place for everything.

Jesse Williams, he wins an award from BET, for what most of us don't know because all anyone is talking about in the news are his inflammatory remarks toward white police officers.  His use of an award's ceremony to voice his political views is nothing new.

Back in February, Leonardo finally won an Oscar; but what we remembered most were his words on the climate.  Michael Moore ranted about the war in Iraq back in 2003 when he took the stage, and Marlon Brando back in 1973 refused to attend the Oscars when he was awarded an Oscar for the best actor, he enlisted the help of Native Americans to help him make his point.

For the sake of argument, let's say these celebrities are accurate in their analysis.  Is an award's ceremony the time & place to espouse your views, and, what happens when famous people use these events to take a stand?  Whether it's human rights, a special disease they want to spotlight, or civil rights for a particular group, what really is accomplished when celebrities lament the world's condition as they see it?

I imagine the person hijacking the podium feels a sense of accomplishment, and then goes back to living their elite lifestyle far removed from the dirt and grime of the problem they've described in vivid detail... but have they accomplished much of anything?  Since they aren't revealing novel information, it's not like they are informing the masses of new issues.  Not only aren't they bringing new information to light, they aren't fixing the situation either.

Really all these celebrities accomplish is taking the rhetoric of complaint into the realm of entertainment.  And this move devalues any serious impact they could've had.

If they have a beef with an institution or a political problem, they need to find the correct avenue in which to voice their complaint, and, they need to offer solutions to problem, not just vomit emotionally laden sentiments about how bad the world is.  Well, maybe they accomplish something, maybe they pit different sides against each other more often causing further divisions in our country?

To hijack a mic during an award's ceremony is immature and selfish, it's not heroic or admirable.  In fact, it's taking the easy way out and is about self-soothing motives.  These celebrities could use their influence like Bono of U2 has done for decades, mostly off the stage and behind the scenes.  Or, they could try to articulate their perspectives by writing an essay and submitting their thoughts to reputable magazines and newspapers and seeing if they can gain attention that way.  But to simply take advantages of a captive audience while you have the spotlight, that's simply deplorable and makes me think there isn't much substance to what you have to say or how you really feel about it..

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