It’s amazing how many actors, rock stars and other celebrities are coming out of the woodwork to lecture us on all manner of issues of political and social importance. It seems each passing day we have people who are better known for the money they make or the clothes they wear seeking to educate the masses on some trendy social cause.
Many are undoubtedly well-meaning and well-intentioned. Some are motivated by religious beliefs. And it is good that they are willing to promote various causes – some more worthy than others – instead of just wallowing in a life of luxury and extravagance.
U2 frontman Bono is a rock star with a conscience, and it is good that he is seeking to build a better world. Hopefully in his daily life he puts his money where his mouth is. The super group earned a cool $50 million from their recent tour of Australia. It is hoped that much of that money will go to humanitarian causes, not just the purchase of more mansions and private jets.
And of course these celebrities have every right to speak out on the issues of the day. It’s just that sometimes one wonders how well-placed they are to make their social and political pronouncements. While some might be well-read and well-informed about their pet topics, many it seems are not.
Often the words of wisdom coming from these celebs read more like clichés than learned and carefully-crafted observations. Consider but one recent example. Actress – or the for PC mob, actor – Scarlett Johansson recently let loose with an anti-Bush salvo. It was not quite the epitome of logical clarity, but then, Hollywood-types are not always known for their depth of wisdom or breadth of reason.
What seems to tick off Scarlett is George Bush’s stance on human sexuality. This is what the actress, turned social analyst, said: “We are supposed to be liberated in America but if our President had his way, we wouldn’t be educated about sex at all. Every woman would have six children and we wouldn’t be able to have abortions.”
Now them’s fightin’ words. But are they correct? Do they really make any sense? First of all, what does ‘liberation’ mean? For the sexual hedonists and libertines, it means having no moral constraints whatsoever. It means promiscuity anytime, every time. But as I and others have documented, such promises of sexual freedom often end up leading people into bondage and misery.
Indeed, the American actress also says she gets tested for HIV twice a year. But if she were really interested in staying free of sexually transmitted diseases, she should be supporting, not criticising, the US President. He rightly argues that the best protection against HIV and other STDs is to remain abstinent before marriage and chaste in marriage.
Perhaps if the Hollywood crowd slept around a lot less and remained monogamous a lot more, there would be far less need for regular AIDS testing. But that advice does not go down well with the swinging Hollywoodians.
Bush, we are also told, opposes sex ed. Well, not quite. What he does want is a balanced approach to it. Simply telling kids to put on a condom and swing is hardly helpful advice. So it all depends on what is being taught in such courses.
Ms Johansson further instructs us that if we follow President Bush’s advice, we will all have six kids. Given that Mr Bush himself only has two children, I am not sure if I follow the starlet’s reasoning here.
But wait, there’s more. According to Professor Johansson, Bush would turn back the clock and outlaw abortion. Actually, I do not recall ever hearing him make such a suggestion. He does believe, as I do, that it would be preferable to let the 50 US states decide the issue, instead of a few unelected and unaccountable Supreme Court justices.
That in fact was what took place prior to the 1973 Roe v Wade decision. But on that fateful day all abortion laws in 50 states were struck down by the ruling of a few men. We would rather see the states decide the matter in a democratic fashion, than see it determined by judicial fiat.
In the end I am a bit puzzled by the remarks of Ms J. What we do know is that she is a long-standing supporter of left-wing causes. She campaigned heavily for John Kerry in the 2004 US presidential election. So I suppose this was just another opportunity for her to engage in some Bush-bashing.
Whether her remarks will actually do any good in terms of the sexual crisis we have on our hands remains to be seen. But she was able to let off some steam, pacify her conscience, and let rip at the conservatives. Not bad for a day’s work. Indeed, I can’t wait for the next words of wisdom from our celebrity philosophers.