Why do celebrities think anybody cares what they think about foreign relations?

I see so many celebrities on news shows and in commercials, telling everybody not only what they think, but that they are absolutely right. Why do they think anybody cares what they think? How are they on these shows in the first place?

They get invited on the shows because people care what they think. Question is, who cares what you think?

Because they’re citizens of a democracy, as entitled to speak their minds on issues as anyone else, and because they have some claim to fame in unrelated areas of celebritydom that make them people whom talk shows, news shows, and commercials want to have appear.

I’d say they don’t really beleive that they know best or that their opinions are more valid than anyone elses. But when someone offers you a bag full of money to show up and do a 5 minute talk on a subject you do have an opinion on, well why not? They get on the shows not for their expertise or intellegence, but for their attention-drawing powers.

And oddly enough a lot of people do care more about what a celebrity thinks and does than some random person off the street they’ve never seen before and won’t ever see again. When’s the last time any of us had 50 million people glued to the TV set, sending in fan mail, chatting on dozens of message boards and had Jay Leno invite us onto his show to talk about the latest person we went on a date with or that parking lot fender-bender we had last week?

Heh … I can’t imagine “Access Hollywood” is eager to air any footage of (name of celebrity) looking at the interviewer and saying, “Why the fuck are you asking me about Iraq? I couldn’t even find it on a map! I just hope the war doesn’t start on the weekend my movie premieres.”

This is a common logical fallacy called “appeal to authority.” It means having a person considered an authority in one area express an opinion in an area in which they have no expertise - like having an actor express an opinion about the advisability of going to war.

Unfortunately, this kind of tactic works extremely well. Most celebrities interviewed are well-recognized, not only for their thespian talents, but for political activism. Therefore, their opinions must carry more weight and be more valid than yours - right? Riiiiight…

Maybe the question should be: Would you whine about celebrities being asked and giving their opinion on issues if you agreed with them?

General Questions is for questions with factual answers. IMHO is for less than great debates.

Off to IMHO.

DrMatrix - General Questions Moderator

(Please note: I wrote this post in response to the now closed duplicate thread in GQ. This thread isn’t exactly the same, but it’s close enough, so I’ll post it here instead.)

Sadly, many people do care what celebrities think about politics; just like they care about who they’re dating, whether or not they put on 5 pounds, or what they had for breakfast that morning. The American public’s fascination with all things celebrity is well known.

On the other hand, some celebrities do seem to think that their status gives their opinions special weight. During the 2000 elections, a number of celebrities called in to radio stations around the country to push their candiates. During a call to one of the stations in Phoenix, David Leibowitz (a local columnists), questioned Barbra Striesand about this. I’ll have to paraphrase, but what he said was, why should anybody care about the political opinions of someone just because they sing or act well? Ms. Striesand got very indignant at that point and started talking about the fact that she is a citizen, etc.

Full disclosure is in order here. I don’t know the full extent of this conversation, but I heard that particular clip a number of times because the station used it as part of a promo. There may be nuances or more context that is missing here. I only know that when I heard the clip and heard her respond, in a huff “I am a CITIZEN…”(you could hear the capital letters), my immediate response was to snort to myself, “Yeah, so am I and they’re not inviting me to appear on the show.”

Janeane Garofalo was similarly indignant when asked much the same question during an interview on Fox News a few days ago.

Just once, I’d like a celebrity to respond with a statement like this:
“I don’t think that my opinion should have any greater weight than the opinion of any other informed citizen. But because I am in the public eye, the reality is that I have the opportunity to express my thoughts about (whatever the subject is), which is something that I feel strongly about; and, hopefully, people will ultimately be convinced by the facts I am presenting and the strength of my argument and not because I just happen to be famous.”

But I sincerely doubt that it will ever happen.

Linus, maybe they think that disclaimer is unnecessary, being pretty damn obvious.

If I’d been nominated for a Grammy, I would have shown up in a white suit with “NO WAR” written in big black letters all over it. They wouldn’t be able to cut away to avoid my protest, and if they refused to let me in, it’d create even more news and attention.

I wish I’d been nominated for a grammy.

Celebrities are only on news shows because the news shows will put them on there. Obviously somebody does care what they think.

If I was a celeb, I’d be expressing my opinions every chance I got. Why? Because I think that my views are important and I would see myself as doing a good thing by using my celebrity to draw attention to them.

I’m not a celebrity, but I still think my views are important and if I can promote them, I will. Just like everyone else does.

Really, this question could apply to anyone. Why does anyone think that people care why they think? When people go to NRA meetings, why do they think people care what they think? When people march in the streets in protest, why do they think people care what they think? When Martin Luther King gave his “I had a dream” speech, why did he think that anyone cared what he thought?

And, desroscactus, why did you think anyone cared what you thought when you began this thread?

What, really, is the difference between a celebrity with no fantastic knowledge of the subject, giving their biased opinion as if it’s absolute fact, getting people to hang on to their every word and quote them as if it means something, and Rush Limbaugh’s talk show?

Linus Van Pelt
*On the other hand, some celebrities do seem to think that their status gives their opinions special weight. During the 2000 elections, a number of celebrities called in to radio stations around the country to push their candiates. *

I think the issue is the media giving them more weight, not that the celebs think they do (I’m sure some do). If I could call up a radio station and know they were going to put me on the air why wouldn’t I? It seems that some people want celebs to not have opinions when asked. Do we want to take away their right to protest?

On the other hand(my other hand) I think it’s within the rights of a show like the Grammy Awards to limit what’s going on stage. It’s a TV show for pete’s sake. If I’m watching “married with children” I don’t want Bud breaking character and telling me the about the situation in Bangladesh.

What people should focus on is why the media gives so much air time to anyone who’ll boost their ratings rather than trying to properly inform us on the situation. But hey, it’s the free market so I guess that’s what the public wants. Hallelujah!

Why does my game store owner think anyone cares about his views on politics? Or my co-worker? Why do people on message boards think anyone cares about how they feel about celebrities airing their views on foreign relations? Why do I think anyone cares about anything I say?

Because we’re human beings, we feel things, and we feel a need to express them. Thankfully, we live in a country where we can do so. Some people get to do it while being on TV. Some people get to do it on their websites. Some folks do it to whoever wanders in looking for a copy of “Mutants and Masterminds”. If you don’t want to hear it, you can turn off the station, close your browser, or leave the store. If you disagree, you can write the person a letter, start your own website, post a response, or attempt to engage the person in debate.

It’s true that some people think celebrities are more important than other people, and that their ideas hold more weight. It’s true that some celebrities think this. It’s also true that some people feel that because they are good mathematicians, physicists, engineers, businesspeople, or educators, that their opinions hold more weight than others. The simple fact is, nearly everyone gets their information from secondary sources, whether those sources be celebrities, neighbors, family, the media, blogs, talk radio, or even politicians. It’s very difficult to get access to primary material to form one’s opinion about issues, and unfortunately some people then go to unlikely sources, such as celebrities. They do this because we live in a culture that assumes that people who are famous, beautiful, and/or wealthy are, in fact, better than other people.

On a possibly related note, I have noticed a few posts lately that ask, “Why do celebrities think we care about their opinions?” which seem to actually be asking, “Why are celebrities allowed to say things I don’t agree with?”


Oh! Oh! Would we get to hear you ramble on and on about it, too?! Would you work it into your acceptance speech??

That’s not a conclusion I would draw. Perhaps they put them on there because people like celebrities in the first place, not because we hang on their every word?

And you say you aren’t a celebrity now? Hmm. Something strange here.

Yeah? Do you hijack meetings at work to discuss world politics? “Let’s stop all this fiscal analysis for a moment and discuss how I feel about war.” In the lunchline at McDonalds?

Everything can be a forum for expressing opinion because we all have mouths (or, in the case of those who cannot speak, hands). Not everything is a forum for expressing opinion, no matter how famous you are.

They don’t care, eh? Unless we’re, say, I don’t know, on a message board devoted to reading and expressing opinion on all sorts of topics?

:rolleyes: in case celebrities weren’t glorified enough already. Nice.

IMHO, the question to be raised is why do celebrities think they have any special insight into foreign affairs (or other issues)? Assuming they do think that. But more importantly, why does the public think they do? That is the really disturbing question because that is where the damage, if any, is done. After all, if a reporter were to ask me my opinion, I would give it (as readers of this board are doubtless aware), but no one would pay it any attention.

I apologize for this, and will stay with the other message board.

QUOTEAnd, desroscactus, why did you think anyone cared what you thought when you began this thread?QUOTE

I am not saying that anybody cares what I think. It is just irritating to me that singers and actors think their views on foreign relations are newsworthy. Obviously I was wrong.

I guess I didn’t express myself very well. I will try to make my two basic points a little more succinctly:

Point the first:

It’s a little sad that many people seem to give the opinion of celebrities more weight just because they are celebrities. I do not know if this is peculiar to our culture, or is simply human nature and a logical fallicy that many people fall into, as was so well expressed by Cillasi.

Point the second:

I really don’t have any problem whatsoever with somone using their celebrity status to promote causes that they belive in. More power to them. Great good can and has been done by people, fameous and not, standing up and fighting for their beliefs. And I do not feel that any disclaimer is necessary before publicly stating their beliefs. However, on the very rare occasion when they are directly challanged and asked why their veiws should be given extra credence due to their celebrity nature, a simple statement of the “damn obvious” disclaimer rather than righteous indignation would tend to show a little more thoughtful consideration and a little less arrogance.

Case in point:

Today, a couple hours after I wrote my previous post, I saw a brief clip of an old interview with Jane Fonda. Regardless of what you think about her politics, her simple, calm statement that (paraphrasing) she felt that her status a public person gave her a responsibility to speak out about her beliefs does much more to forward her viewpoint than outraged blusterings.

Typically, journalists, editors, TV producers etc decide what is newsworthy. Celebrities have no more control on what is newsworthy than the quick-thinking pilot who saved two skydivers from plunging to their deaths just north of Brisbane yesterday does.
Now, I’ll attempt to find something of substance in erislover’s post, but given that it seems to consist entirely of snide commentary without any real argument, I shan’t promise anything.

Yes. You can hear me ramble on and on about it GD as well if you’d like. What’s your point? Acceptance speeches are boring as all fuck anyway, so why not? My belief that something real shouldn’t happen to a real place is just as legitimate as someone’s belief that something not real, like God had a hand in the success of their album.

News shows are out to get ratings. If celebrities saying what they think doesn’t attract ratings, then they won’t show celebrities saying what they think. Since they do show celebrities saying what they think, we can assume people are watching celebrities saying what they think. Simple, huh?

Now, are you saying people are drawing some form of gratification from seeing a celebrity, but have no interest in what they are saying or doing?

Sorry, your jibe was a little too obtuse. Like to dumb it down for me?

Point taken. I meant to post and if I’m given the opportunity to promote them, I will.

Or say, on a tv program devoted to imparting information?

I’m not glorifying anyone. I mentioned both a very important form of speech and a very unimportant one (the OP). I was portaying the wide range of opinions that people are apparently concieted enough to think that others want to hear.

Do you actually have an answer to my question? Why did Martin Luther King think that anyone cared what he thought?

And erislover, would you be so kind to give me a list of people who are allowed to express their opinion in public? How famous do you have to before you must shut up about things you care about?

A celebrity voice does carry more weight.

It does because more people are listening.
Celebrities think that people care about what they have to say becuase people ask them. People ask them alot, and then what they say gets printed and sold.
Someone asks me for an opinion, I’m more than happy to give it. Ten people ask and I start to think they view me as an authority.

So who can blame them?
The movie “girl 6” comes to mind

The one that really cracks me up is the “Kelly Rippa intimate hair dialogues series” of commercials. She’s like being interviewed, talking about hair color or moisturization or whatever as though we all really want to know, and as if she’s giving a wellness seminar/motivation speech about hair. Cause, she’s a hottie, she co-hosts a talk show and has been on soap operas, and so naturally she knows all about hair.