White House press secretary Sean Spicer, answering a question Tuesday about the coming broadcast of the 89th Academy Awards, offered that The Current President (TCP) won’t be watching.
“I think Hollywood is known for being rather far to the left in its opinions, and I’ve got to be honest with you, I think the president will be hosting the Governors’ Ball that night,” he said.
Now, if you’re buying that, then let’s sit down and talk about a sweetheart of a bridge that I’d like to sell you. The George Washington Bridge is “primo, believe me,” as TCP would say. The only downside is a troll who lives on the New Jersey side, but I’m sure we can make a deal.
But I digress.
I propose a friendly little betting pool: Let’s all guess how many minutes into the broadcast it will take for TCP to tweet his umbrage. I say 17 minutes.
I’ve been thinking about this piece for a couple weeks, and all it needed was a hook. (Thanks, Spicy!) Every year, I’m entertained by complaints leveled at the Hollywood crowd for their political commentary. Did I say entertained? I meant disdained. Those who look at people in the spotlight and think those people have no business expressing themselves to the rest of us are, in my opinion, shortsighted at the least, and probably just jealous when all is said and done.
I once worked for a publisher whose first official act when he took over our newspaper was to announce that we (and because he was publisher, he meant “he”) would no longer offer political endorsements. Now, this guy was a Republican during a time when the area we lived in was swinging Republican, so it was no skin off me. But we did gently opine to our boss that endorsements were a tool of influence for the newspaper, and if we didn’t use that tool, then we were effectively forfeiting our influence. The publisher didn’t want to use that tool, but he did effectively suppress a police report that disclosed the pastor of his church had been caught drunkenly wandering the halls of a motel dressed only in his undies (we read about it in a competing newspaper).
Hollywood celebrities and other entertainers are pilloried annually — told to shut up and sing — and I have never crafted my own opinions based on what any of them think or say (full disclosure: If Kate Beckinsale were to tell me to do something, then it’s possible I would attempt to make that thing happen.)
But what I appreciate most about celebrities speaking out is that many of them didn’t come from fabulous wealth, and most probably never thought their opinions would make a whit of difference to anyone. Now that they’ve been given a chance to cast their opinions, however, they have a huge microphone to do just that. So I appreciate what they have to say, and mostly because they tend to speak out on issues that aren’t likely to make a whole lot of difference in their own lives. When the star of a blockbuster hit speaks out for a living wage, is he polluting the political discussion?
How about AIDS research? The Dakota Access Pipeline? The wall on the border?
Conversely, if you filled a room with corporate titans and handed them the microphone to talk about what interested them, would you watch the fat cats talk passionately about the need for a tax cut for the 1%? Yeah, me neither.
Our politicians always like to wait until the last possible moment to express themselves on any subject, and many of them won’t make a declaration until their next campaign contribution is safely in the bank. But the celebrities know what they want to say, and they do so. Making your voice heard is the first step in helping those who have no voice.
So I’ll watch the Academy Awards, and I have a feeling The Current President will, too.
And if you’re interested in knowing what causes the celebrities are passionate about, feel free to check out looktothestars.org/celebrity.