The relative value of actors *UPDATED*

I already mentioned how impressed I was by Ronald Reagan’s 1964 speech, which I posted here, and listed to in its entirety while folding laundry.  Listening to Reagan made that task go much faster.  It’s a fabulous speech, with each idea — most of which are as relevant today re government spending, individual freedom, and threats from abroad as they were in 1964 — beautifully developed and presented.

The speech is a great reminder that, in a pre-MTV era, in a day before spin and sound bytes, people could develop ideas.  Theoretically, they still can, but no one has the patience to listen.  My kids, who are bright enough, have a 3 second attention span.  If you haven’t caught their interest in that time, give up.

But that’s not actually the point I want to make.  I want to make a different point, about the insults that emanate from the Left (by which I really mean the media) when a credible conservative candidate appears on the scene.

I was three when Reagan made his speech.  I was still relatively young when he was governor.  This means that my first real memories of him involve his presidency.  One of the things I remember most vividly from that time is the fact that one of the “worst” insults routinely hurled at him by the media and other self-styled intellectuals on the Left was that he was an actor.  That meant, prima facie, that he was stupid.  Up until the end of the Reagan presidency, “actor” and “stupid” were cross-referenced in the Leftist dictionary.

That all changed with Clinton, when Hollywood went hog wild for a president, and he reciprocated that love.  In today’s media world, actors who are seen as credible voices on the political scene, opining on talk shows, in the news, before Congress, in the Lincoln bedroom, and at pricey White House parties.

What one discovers each time most of them speaks is that enough of them are so stupid that one is forced to conclude that, subject to a few exceptions (Reagan, Kevin Costner, and Gary Sinese, to name just three), actors really are singularly unsuited to opine on political issues.  If you check out the fun at Big Hollywood, you’ll get to see regularly the imbalance between intelligence and lack of intelligence when it comes to the Hollywood crew, with the scales weighing heavily on the unintelligent side.

UPDATE:  Two perfect examples from the entertainment area:  Sheryl Crow and Janeane Garofalo — both arrogant, ignorant and, quite possibly, delusional.

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  • David Foster

    One of the many odd things about today’s world is the ideological alignment between entertainers and academics.

  • garyp

    What I find surprising is how the cult of celebrity has changed whom we think is a “qualified” spokesperson on “issues.”

    Just because someone has a good voice or is a decent actress/actor (or is attactive), doesn’t make their opinions on world events, science, or even “world peace” interesting to me.  I assume they have opinions and while I certainly don’t mind them expressing them, why would anyone outside their personal circle of friends and family really care what they think?  Being able to carry a tune doesn’t prevent you from studying important subjects (as Reagan did) and becoming serious, thoughtful person whose opinions deserve a hearing, but it doesn’t automatically endow you with those qualities either.

    If an entertainer wants to be listened to on political, scientific, or moral issues, they need to put forth the effort to learn about the issues and to demonstrate that knowledge, earning the right to be taken seriously (again, as Reagan did) by developing a reputation in politics, science, or whatever subject over years of study and communication.

    I automatically tune out the “activist actress” (or actor) who thinks their boxoffice successes make their opinion matter.  Anyone, regardless of their occupation, can contribute to the discussion on any subject (including me) but we should be listened to and judged on the clarity and correctness of our arguments, not on our notoriety.

  • 11B40

    Ever since actors and actresses (I just had to keep that latter word alive) started showing up as witnesses at Congressional hearings, I have wondered why one who is practiced at speaking the words and portraying the emotions of others would be considered worthy to testify.
    My other epiphany in this regard is when “Jeopardy”, the game show where they provide the answer and the contestants must supply the question, began have its “celebrity” contestants on the program.  I was amazed how little the celebrities, including newspeople, seemed to know about our life and times.  But then again, I always thought that movie stars were bigger than I was.


    My kids, who are bright enough, have a 3 second attention span.  If you haven’t caught their interest in that time, give up. But that’s not actually the point I want to make.
    It may not have been the point you wanted to make, but the observation makes a good case for the 3-second attention span and the reason Washington and Hollywood have morphed into Hollyton – a village of self serving, get my named spelled right and on the cover.
    They have joined hands and careers to reinforce one another making ‘guest’ appearances to advance their need to be popular and the center of adoration and right down to plugs, botox and $1,300 haircuts.  The difference, of course, is that you pay $10 see the movie and leave -with politicians, you go in pull the lever and they never leave.

  • patriot13

    I agree with what you are saying here.  However, I would have to add Angie Harmon, Bruce Willis, and Kelsey Grammer to the list of at least semi-intelligent actors.  Click on the link to see an example of something very worthwhile that Mr. Grammer is doing.  Kudos to him!

  • David Foster

    Hey Book, there is something very weird about the comment system on this blog…last attempt to make a comment just disappeared while I was typing it.

  • David Foster

    Speaking of actors/actresses, I recently “discovered” a very interesting British actress of the 19th century named Fanny Kemble…I’d heard about her before, but didn’t really know anything about her, and an interesting person she was indeed. I have a post about her reactions to riding on one of the world’s first railroads, in 1830, here: