I used to despair of the fact that most people in the United States knew actors and musicians but couldn’t find Tibet, or perhaps China for that matter, on a map. They could name the channel lineup for all 62 billion cable channels, yet couldn’t name the combatants of World War II or the American Civil War.
We glorify athletes, pop stars, and the glitterati of popularity. Sometimes taking their words as if from an oracle.
We are a society enamored of fame even if the reason behind the fame is being famous.
I’ve come to realize that it is not so much what they say that means so much to so many but the time in one’s life that it is experienced.
Every generation believes the music of their time is the best. My parents’ post-world war II generation showed little appreciation for the changing music scene of mine. Yet the sounds of Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones all evoke powerful memories.
I took the words of some of those musicians to heart. I saw them as insightful and brilliant. “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls. And whispered in the sounds of silence….” Compare that to some of the top hits today.
Yet it seems that we as a people have strayed too far into the dumbing down of our thoughts. We seem to care what people whose job is pretending to be someone else say regardless of their background. Because someone plays a brilliant Presidential advisor on TV does not make them qualified to be one.
The nonsense of “reality” shows, watching celebrities progress through rehab or run around naked on a hike, hardly qualifies them as sages. Listening to homophobic nonsense from a man whose credentials consist of being able to throw a baseball so as to make it hard to hit and not much else is frightening.
Why does anyone care what celebrity moves to Canada depending on the results of the Presidential election? Maybe they should pick up a newspaper and learn about the candidates. You know, form your own considered opinion.
As to the others, I say let them go. Maybe the Canadians will do a better job of ignoring their nonsense.
Are there well-known performers worth listening to? Of course, my co-author Kent names one, Robin Williams. I propose another, George Carlin. Curious that the two we name are both dead. Maybe I spend too much time reading to know about more contemporary, and live, examples.
I can think of one though, Seth MacFarlane. His Family Guy satire is brilliant but I fear wasted on most of America. It requires one to think and be at least minimally educated to appreciate it.
Kent’s point about the musical genius of Prince is another good example. I was never a big fan of his music, I missed the point of his renaming himself with a symbol, but there is no detracting his musical abilities and influence. Would his ideas and thoughts be as critical and helpful in say Congress or a town hall? That is a question that remains unanswered, once again death stole him away.
Perhaps it is too much to hope that people like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, Freeman Dyson, Lisa Randall, or Eugene Cernan would ever hold our attention like the Khardwreck family. After all, what is so interesting about theoretical physicists or the last man to walk on the moon compared to the thoughts of a wide-ass semi-literate tattooed conglomeration of matter stuggling to construct a coherent thought longer the 144 characters.
I can see why so many turn to someone like her for political advice and wisdom. They hang on her every simple mono-syllabic word for obvious reasons.