Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Oliver Willis Update: He Still Isn't Particularly Smart

Oliver wonders: "Where's the 'shut up & sing' crowd when Jason Sehorn, Angie Harmon, Bo Derek, Ron Silver, and Ahnuld are shooting their mouths off about how we should all be good little stepfords and vote Republican?"

Let me make two points. First of all, being an actor or singer (I've never heard of Jason Sehorn or Angie Harmon, so I don't know what category they fall into) does not mean you cannot have an opinion, or that you cannot express that opinion. If the Dixie Chicks want to trash the president, fine. If Barbara Streisand thinks Stalinism should get another chance, whatever. They can say what they want, because that's what America is all about.

The problem is this: we don't pay actors to think about politics. We don't pay money to go to a concert and hear a performer tell us what he or she thinks about the Kyoto Accords. I went to a Primus concert earlier this year (which was sweet, by the way), and they took a quick jab at the president. On the one hand, I didn't start a riot and storm out in a fury. On the other hand, I'm not about to let Primus convince me that the president is doing a bad job, because - THEY'RE FREAKING PRIMUS! Les Claypool can play bass possibly better than any other human being, but that doesn't mean he knows anything at all about nuclear weapons inspections. And given the amount of time he devotes to smoking marijuana (or writing songs about it), I simply don't find his ill-informed opinions the least bit persuasive.

If Ron Silver makes a good point about politics, then it is in spite of his career, not because of it. If Bo Derek makes a good point about the War on Terror, it is in spite of her career.

And if celebrities suffer a backlash because they express their political opinions, then they really shouldn't start griping about that backlash, or yelling about "the crushing of dissent in John Ashcroft's America." Because Americans can vote with their wallets, and if the Dixie Chicks are too unbelievably stupid to realize that bad-mouthing the president, when the vast majority of their fan base supports the president, then that's the price they pay. We don't pay you to think, Ms. Maines, we (well, country music fans, anyway) pay you to sing, play your fiddle, and look like a zombie prostitute on the cover of your most recent album. And if you start talking politics, then you should not be surprised if your political opponents think that's monumentally stupid of you.

On a semi-related note, I'd like to piont out that being an outspoken liberal in Hollywood does not exactly smack of courage. Ron Silver (whoever he is - I honestly don't know if I've seen him in anything) may have just ruined his career. Dennis Miller and Gary Sinise aren't making any friends by speaking with a Republican accent.

The second point to be made about Fat Ollie's statement is that Oliver seems genuinely unaware that Governor Schwarzenegger is an actual politician. He was elected by an enormous landslide after Gray Davis proved he was possibly the worst governor in the history of the universe. As such, he is no longer a mere actor any more than President Reagan was still a mere actor. His presence at the convention was perfectly legitimate for that reason. A convention is a political event, and inviting politicians should not really stun anyone - well, unless you've got more fat than brains in your head.

On another post, Oliver satirically states that "I waved this 'Arnold' sign, while he pretended to be a governor." Of course, he isn't really a governor. He didn't really get elected to that position. Amazing. But then again, he seems to genuinely believe that the mainstream media is rooting for Bush.

Update: Reader LauraW takes issue with me when I say "...Oliver satirically states..." I should emphasize that there is a difference between successful satire and unsuccessful satire. In this case, I must agree with Laura that Oliver's attempted humor fails worse than New Orleans public schools. But the post is bascially attempted satire, and I didn't want to go off on a huge tangent by explaining more of the post than was absolutely necessary.

So I offer my apologies to everyone who enjoys satire when it's done effectively. Maybe I should have put the word "satirically" in quotes.