Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Celebrity Sense

At least one celebrity understands the difference between fame and wisdom. Pat Sajak, host of the long-running game show 'Wheel of Fortune', wrote an opinion piece for the Human Events online magazine wherein he exploded the myth of celebrity wisdom. Wrote Sajak,
If any group of citizens is uniquely unqualified to tell someone else how to vote, it’s those of us who live in the sheltered, privileged arena of celebrityhood. It’s one thing to buy an ab machine because Chuck Norris recommends it (he’s in good shape, isn’t he?) or a grill because George Foreman’s name is on it (he’s a great guy, so it must be a great grill!), but the idea of choosing the Leader of the Free World based on the advice of someone who lives in the cloistered world of stardom seems a bit loony to me.

Pat Sajak is absolutely correct. Virtually no one in the pampered, unreal world of Hollywood or really any artistic venue has any idea of how real people live- people who actually have to go to work every day in order to pay the bills. Hollywood celebrities, Broadway stars, famous musicians, pop star and other celebrities- some of whom have very little substance to their fame (think Paris Hilton) live in a different world. Whether it is being paid to show up to clubs even though they are underaged, or being whisked to the front of every line, or living in homes stocked with every conceivable luxury, most celebrities have a very limited understanding of how the real world operates. And most of them have little or no understanding the of the historical realities that underlie modern politics.

Therefore, anyone who takes Barbra Streisand's advice is more of a fool than Miss S herself. After all, as Obi-wan Kenobi famously said to Han Solo in Star Wars Episode Four, "Who is the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him?" Miss Streisand is demonstrably a fool, with no real knowledge of history, politics or the realities of diplomacy. However, those who somehow think that because she has a marvellous voice she also is an expert on politics are even more foolish.

i have long admired Sajak for his surprisingly clear-eyed understanding that because he gets paid millions to ask people questions he does not have any right to claim he is better in other fields. He demonstrates this clear-headed approach by saving his best line for the end. He writes in concluding his opinion piece,
I suppose anything that gets people engaged in the political process is a good thing, but the idea that a gold record, a top-ten TV show or an Oscar translates into some sort of political wisdom doesn’t make much sense to me. Trust me, one’s view of the world isn’t any clearer from the back seat of a limo.

Pity that Mr. Sajak's understanding is not shared by more of his peers in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Perhaps they would not be held in higher esteem by the majority of Americans since their anti-Americanism is so pronounced. But at least they would be held in less contempt.

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