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Absolutely the Last Word

. . . on celebrity commentary about politics and the culture, comes in yesterday's WSJ from Joe Queenan.  It's un-Bieber-lievably good.
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Too bad someone couldn't have written a mirror-image piece of this in 1964 or '65 when Reagan was asserting himself as something bigger than a b-grade actor.

As it is, Queenan's piece reads like the typical conservative pablum on the matter, which basically boils down to, liberal celebs should stay out of politics, (but conservative celebs are, of course, unsung heroes, swimming against an oppressive current. (yada, yada, yada))

Isn't there something you could be blowing up somewhere, Abdul?

Can't you come up with anything more original than that?

Reagan's career in the entertainment business was quite variegated and encompassed radio, film, and television and various strata of film. He was also President of the Screen Actors Guild (a union whose membership exceeded 100,000), so knew something of institutional administration and the business side of the production of entertainment. He had also spent years during his employment in the General Electric public relations apparat giving considerable thought to questions of public policy. More than any individual who has occupied the Presidency in the post-war period, Reagan had a well-articulated set of political principles. While he had trouble recognizing that some of his aims contradicted eachother, he was not fatuous in the manner of (to take one example) Leonard Bernstein. His baseline judgments about people and his apprehension of the motives of human behavior were often better than people who were his intellectual superior (e.g. George McGovern) and served the country well in select circumstances. It is difficult to imagine than another politician would have played his cards better vis-a-vis Soviet Russia after 1984.

I am having a difficult time recalling liberal Democrats out of Hollywood who went so far as to run for and win an elective office, most particularly an executive office where you have pressing responsibilities and your successes and failures can be quite obtrusive. George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Sonny Bono, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar were all Republicans. Nancy Kulp lost her contests. Paul Newman was capable enough, but he stuck to the food processing business. Helen Gahagan Douglas has been out of office for six decades. Much simpler to just get yourself arrested umpteen times, a-la Martin Sheen.

Excuse me, there is John Hall of the band, 'Orleans', and Ben Jones of The Dukes of Hazzard.

So, unless they are willing to run for office (and only then, if they win it?) liberal and lefty celebs should not utter their views on society and politics, or attempt to have any influence or impact?

Even faceless corporations now have the right to free "speech," so it confounds me as to why any actual human shouldn't have the same.

We can always ignore the utterances of celebs, or opt to critique media that gives them (and their views) disproportionate attention in an effort to sell ads and papers/magazines, attract viewers/readers/listeners, etc.

I'm really not sure why I'm bothering to take a match to this straw man . . . but Craig, pray tell . . . is anyone here suggesting anything beyond ignoring the "utterances of celebs" or criticizing those who cravenly seek to glorify them and their positions in order to make a buck? Who is advocating restricting the free speech rights of celebrities? No one here.

Next!

No, that is not my point.

Did you know that there are liberal sites where people talk about substantive issues? And did you know that your time spent here is time spent away from there?

"...but Craig, pray tell . . . is anyone here suggesting anything beyond ignoring the "utterances of celebs""

My rather specific question was directed at Art, and that's it.

You should be more clear. I think the general rule among the tea partiers is not to ignore the utterances of liberal and lefty celebs, but get one's knickers in a major twist and scream and whine about whatever they say, and to exalt the "brave" conservative celebs who dare to speak out (Jon Voight, anyone?) - or run for office. (see Breitbart's eye-glazing BigHollywood site, for example)

Nice use of "pray tell" though.

I think the general rule among the tea partiers is not to ignore the utterances of liberal and lefty celebs, but get one's knickers in a major twist and scream and whine about whatever they say, and to exalt the "brave" conservative celebs

Of what interest are the contents of your imagination?

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