Common Sense

It happens sometimes that I hear and then repeat some tidbit of unanalyzed nonsense. Then, after thinking about it for a while, I suddenly realize that what I’ve been repeating is indefensible. It’s either wrong, or meaningless.

This happens a lot, and I’m a fool to waste energy on it. But that just happens to be my kind of foolish.

I often hear people say that actors and athletes shouldn’t spout off about politics. I recently examined the idea, and decided that it’s wrong.

Let’s say you suddenly got rich and famous. You win the 100 million dollar lottery on the same day that you win American Idol. You rock. People love you.

Would you be willing to use your newfound fame and cash to fight for (choose at least one):

Fair Taxes
Abortion (Legal or Not)
Gun Control (Less or More)
Stem Cell Research
Prayer in School (Allowed or Not)
Child Abuse (Raise Awareness, Lower Incidence)

If not, why not? That is, someone comes to you with a plan. Spend X and say Y in front of the microphone, and we can really change people’s minds. You still have enough money for the jets and houses.

I don’t think anything’s wrong with that. I had a discussion recently with a friend who said that actors shouldn’t talk about politics. “If you’re not an expert on something, then shut up.”

Now, I don’t care about the opinions of actors, musicians, or athletes. I don’t see why someone who’s famous for hitting the high notes would know more about geo-politics than I would. I don’t listen to them, and if I happen to hear them, I only care whether their arguments are valid. I bet everyone reading this would say the same, and maybe we even live by that.

But my friend is scared about all the stupid people. He’s worried about the people who automatically assume that if a famous person says it, it must be true. He’s worried that these people will vote, and because they listen to uninformed movie stars, they’ll vote the wrong way.

But I doubt that there are many adults outside the asylums who literally believe that anything that Tom Cruise says must be true. And, of course, different famous people are saying opposing things, so what happens there?

And, sad but true, the politicians themselves are no better! They’d discount expert testimony for a quarter, and rarely stick to facts.

I don’t have a nice wrap-up here, and I’m pressed for time. So here’s the abrupt ending to the post.

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