Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Not A Partisan, I'm Just A Journalist...

That's right. It's time to talk politics on the Arts blog. After all, I think it was the great prophet Don McLeese who said, "All art is inherently political." My hero Jeff Tweedy said it too.

I'm watching the Presidential Debate live, and while I wanted to live blog it, I slowly glanced into the future and saw myself being fired for saying disparaging things about a war hero and the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. So here's a less controversial area where Capitol Hill crosses with the Hollywood Hills:

If you are tired of celebrities being political, STOP MAKING THEM CELEBRITIES.

Yes, you, I'm talking/blogging to YOU. (It's exhilarating not to be bound to the pronoun rules of journalism on the blog!) Sen. McCain took the most obvious swing during this campaign by running an ad that suggested his opponent, Sen. Obama, was a celebrity in the vein of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Celebrity, HOW AWFUL! 

Never mind that Merriam-Webster defines a "celebrity" as "the state of being celebrated." How do celebrities become celebrated? Because we do it! We go see their movies, we watch their TV shows, we download their music. We're part of the problem!

I don't take my political cues -- and yes, I have the occasional political thought, though I often let it pass -- from Eddie Vedder or Kid Rock. I enjoy knowing where stars fall on the political spectrum, but I don't let it dictate the films I see or the music I listen to.

This blog was spurred by a comment on liberal-love-fest "Real Time with Bill Maher," where former Comptroller General made a disparaging comment about Hollywood elites. Why don't consumers recognize their own power? If you're tired of seeing Blake Lively and Hayden Panettiere in ads about who to vote for, I suggest you return those "Gossip Girl" DVDs and stop Tivo-ing "Heroes." 

I'm not going to out anyone here, since I'm no Perez Hilton, but I've heard many people say they can't enjoy films, songs, or TV series because of an actor's or actress' political affiliation. I'm sure I've said it too. And I was wrong, and SO ARE YOU. 

Ellen DeGeneres just made a PSA about Proposition 8, and you can view it here.
It makes sense she'd take this issue seriously and try to fight it, it directly deals with her, she's a lesbian who just got married. If you watch her show, or read tabloids (Lord knows I do), odds are you already know that, and from that you could deduce where she falls on that issue, Sherlock. That doesn't mean she's any less entertaining or talented, and can it REALLY make her show harder to watch? Keep in mind, by politics I mean POLITICAL positions and supporting candidates, and I don't think the movie "Wedding Crashers" is any funnier or less funny because Vince Vaughn votes Republican. 

And as for the argument that Hollywood is out of touch with "real Americans," you're wrong. Anyone making this argument has less legs to stand on than a flounder, because who is watching TV? Neilsen ratings aren't all generated in the 90210 zip code. It's those supposed "real Americans," the Joe Six-Packs of the world. Same for movies and music. Don't tell me Country is one of the most-successful and profitable music genres because of coastal elites, and I'll vomit if anyone tries to argue that "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" grossed such huge numbers because of art-house audiences. And people should be evolved enough to separate policies and endorsements from artists, or QUIT COMPLAINING. If you're mad that Hollywood is out of touch, make your own movies, music, and TV shows. Write your own books. And create your own small-town tabloids (I'd LOVE to see that). 

Without giving away where I stand, I enjoy Clint Eastwood's movies and Kathy Griffin's stand-up. They're as far opposite on the political spectrum as possible, but that's not what you're signing up for when you sit down at one of their projects. I'm not asking anyone to change what they believe in, but I'm begging all of you "I can only enjoy art when I agree with artist" audience members, to suspend naivete for a minute and open your eyes. 

"Jeremy" is a great song despite and not because of Eddie Vedder's politics. Talent is talent, and campaign donations are not part of the equation. If you can't see that, sell all of your CDs and DVDs by artists who aren't your ideological twins, or quit whining.

--Meryn, who normally isn't so confrontational, she promises...


La Louis Bonita said...

Papa Louis proud.

Nate said...

Well done. Want a job in opinions? Otherwise I know a guy at Panera, I'm sure they have muffins in need of buttering.