What is it with the media worship or condemnation of celebrities? When did we decide that their opinions carried as much or more weight than a president, a politician, or a scientist? Asks Alex Proud.
Screen Time Does Not Equal Knowledge
Proud says: “People frequently suggest that Tom Hanks or George Clooney should be president. Why is that?” Alex Proud says that he “respects both men as great actors, who seem to have strong morals and the correct values, and Clooney’s case.
Who gets involved with severe humanitarian issues, but does that mean I would turn to George as ‘the’ authoritative view on every International crisis? Would I vote him into power? I know there is a precedent with Regan, but I’m not sure how well that worked out.”
Quite frankly, says Alex Proud: “I think most people just like Clooney’s hair and confuse his movie star charisma with leadership potential.”
“When I’m ill, “I go to a doctor. When I want my sink fixed, I’ll call out a plumber. When I want a view on global warming,
I’ll read an interview with a scientist. When I want to know whether or not to get my child their jabs, I’ll ask a medical expert.”
However, the media takes a different approach from Alex Proud. They turn to models, musicians, and actors to demand their views no matter how shallow or young they are or limit their life experience, in addition to expecting them to share their political views with us.
We seem to feel justified in prying into every aspect of their personal life and judging them on every decision, from the clothes they wear to put the bin out through to their last marriage collapse.
This is undoubtedly a new phenomenon, queries Alex Proud. “During Hollywood’s golden age, we admired the great and the glamorous from a distance.
There was gossip, and people were always starstruck, but a mystique has disappeared with the advent of Heat magazine and its copycat weekly glossies.
Heat says Alex Proud is, in relative terms, a reasonably respectable and respectful publication.
Still, there are at least two shelves below it that represent the very worst kind of journalism.
Here, the level of vulgar intrusiveness borders on the Victorian freak show level of point and stare.
“In the UK,” says Alex Proud, “We seem to enjoy worshipping and then suddenly destroying our celebrity underclass. We take huge pleasure in watching their fall from grace, their car crash romances and weight loss yo-yo-ing and plastic surgery horror stories, but Alex Proud says that he doesn’t mind the people who are briefly elevated out of the actual underclass and “if they were fortunate, got a few to three years of ‘fame’ as cannon fodder for reality TV. Essentially they don’t really one any harm.”
“If you get your news from places like The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and the better broadsheets, you can ignore the C-Z level celebrities because no-one takes them seriously or asks them about anything other than their latest three-in-a-bed-romp/ stupid feud/ oh-so-shocking coke scandal,” says Alex Proud
A for A-List – Or Alexander Proud
Alex Proud notes that he finds it worrying and a little weird that we are so interested in what the ‘proper’ A list celebrities have to say. “It’s one of the most horrific late 20th/ 21st century developments, this widespread acceptance that being good at acting/ sports/ pop music means that everyone should listen to your opinions on Poland, or the plight of the rainforests. Or even should take your advice on parenting, interior design, or holistic medicine.”
Beautiful actresses appointed as UN Goodwill Ambassadors. Former soap stars are being filmed commenting on gang warfare.
Honorary degrees are being given out to people who are just ‘famous’ but weren’t smart enough or couldn’t be bothered to go to University to get an actual degree.
Alex Proud says he finds the fetishization of fame both bizarre and unfortunate.
Actors would argue that they’re using their platforms to do some good. Alex Proud says he doesn’t buy this for one minute.
“It’s just another PR angle. A way to be taken seriously to become more bankable, by adopting a worthy cause or taking a stand on something that can only increase your credibility.”
What worries Alex Proud is that celebrity being mistaken for authority represents a devaluation of actual expertise, part of the general ‘dumbing down of public discourse and debate.
Let’s face it, says Alex Proud, “if you’re listening to celebrities on global affairs, you’re not asking the hard questions, are you?”
It might be time for celebrities to take heed of Mark Twain’s famously quoted advice:
“It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”
Incidentally remarks Alex Proud, this celebrity into politics migration doesn’t work the other way around. Politicians trying to play sport, dance on stage, or look cool with rock stars are always cringe-worthy and clunky.
Alex Proud also admits that some of our recent success and more admired politicians employed certain ‘celebrity’ qualities. Obama, Clinton, and Blair had charisma and humor, says Alex Proud.
Alongside natural intelligence and experience, they were likable and charming, all critical qualities in being a leader or ‘the boss’ (link to an article on being a boss).
Come to think of it, George Clooney has more than charm and humor, he’s informed and concerned, and he has a brilliant, intellectual wife.
As celebrity politicians go, it really could be a lot worse. Maybe he, or would it be Amal, would get Alex Proud’s vote for president after all.