Celebrity Buffoons: Unintentional political comedy

"[I]n the theatre the actors are spurred on by the children. To say nothing of their friends, whenever any actor thinks they are applauding seriously[.]"

—Plato, Letter IV (321a)

The American people have long had to suffer lectures by their betters among the celebrities, mostly actors ("movie stars"), but also comics, late*night talk show hosts, and the like, about their moral failings.

"Pretty woman" (Julia Roberts), informs the "deplorables" that "Republican" occurs in the dictionary just after "reptile" and just before "repugnant."  She bases this judgment on her Master's degree from Vanderbilt University in psychology. 

Actress Jennifer Lawrence, with an MIT Ph.D. in political science, informed the peasants that she was taking a year off from acting, in a totally non-partisan way, to "fix our democracy."  One of her more brilliant observations was her 2015 non-partisan insights that "if Donald Trump becomes president this will be the end of the world."  More recently, Lawrence divined that the devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida last year were signs of "Mother Nature's rage and wrath at America" for electing Trump and not believing in man-made climate change. 

Cher, with a double-Ph.D. in philosophy and English literature from Yale, also eager to show her maturity, said she would like to see Donald Trump as a prison "toyboy of Big Bubba." 

Robert De Niro, drawing on his wisdom acquired with his Cornell Ph.D. in the history of ideas, threatened to punch Trump in the face. 

Rob Reiner (the "Meathead"), with a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton, compared Trump to the Nazis at Auschwitz. 

Johnny Depp, with a J.D. from the University of Virginia, suggested that Trump should be assassinated.

Late-night comedian Stephen Colbert, eager to show us his maturity level as a professor of religious studies at Brown University, joked that Vladimir Putin used Donald Trump's mouth as a c--- holster.

One could go on indefinitely, but that should be sufficient.

In fact, "Pretty Woman" does not have a Bachelor's degree from Columbia.  She dropped out of Georgia State University to become a model, where she could make money by showing her legs.  Jennifer Lawrence does not have an MIT degree.  She dropped out of school at 14 with no GED to "pursue her acting career" but somehow knows that the deplorables in rural areas cannot read.  No wonder she did not manage to "fix our democracy."  Cher does not have a Yale degree.  She dropped out of high school at 16, stating that "I was never really in school.  I was always thinking about [becoming] famous."  Very altruistic!  Robert De Niro does not have a Cornell Ph.D.  He dropped out of high school at 16 to join a gang and, eventually, make a lot of money playing gangsters in movies who kill lots of people after punching them in the face.  Rob Reiner, the son of famous producer and director Carl Reiner, grew up in privilege at 48 Bonnie Meadow Road, the home of the fictional Petrie family in the Dick van Dyke Show produced by his father.  He does not have a Princeton Ph.D.  He dropped out of UCLA to form a comedy troupe.  Johnny Depp does not have a J.D.  He dropped out of school at 16 to become a rock musician.  Stephen Colbert does not have a Ph.D. from Brown.  Finding the philosophy major at Hampden-Sydney College a tad too "rigorous" for his abilities, he eventually got a Bachelor's degree in communication. 

One might argue that it is not worth criticizing celebrities.  Their greed, entitlement, hypocrisy, and cluelessness are legendary.  They lecture the deplorables about climate change, but their mansions produce enormous carbon footprints, and they flit around the world on terribly polluting private jets.  Taylor Swift produces 1,184.8 times the amount of pollution of the average deplorable, but the poor thing feels mistreated for being criticized.  And she has a point.  Criticizing celebrities is like shooting fish in a barrel.

These Geisha, these "art people," are not serious thinkers.  They generally don't know very much or even want to know much.  For example, during the Trump administration, Madonna, who lives in an enormous-carbon-footprint mansion, said, "An automatic weapon can be purchased in three days if you have a driver's license and no criminal record."  That is just false.  It is extremely difficult to legally purchase an automatic weapon in the United States.

After making millions of dollars reading scripts written by someone else, celebrities actually start to believe they know something.  Unfortunately, they usually don't.  After living in a bubble of filthy rich narcissists who talk to only each other, celebrities eventually start to conflate recycling bumper stickers with thinking. 

However, real insight in such issues requires decades of discipline and sacrifice that such celebrities cannot even imagine.

There is a revealing exchange in the film The Aviator between Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his lover, the actress Katherine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett), during a bitter fight after she announces she is leaving him.

Hughes (DiCaprio): Look at me, Kate.  Stop acting.

Hepburn (Blanchett): Ha!  I'm not acting.

Hughes: I wonder if you even know anymore.

In fact, many actors admit that they lose their sense of self and find it hard to distinguish between their character and their role.

Lady Gaga described ... being out of touch with herself, feeling [that] she was still on the set while [walking] in the city. She experienced a "disconnect" from her sense of self and people in her personal life.

Scientific studies show that this is a common phenomenon among actors: "new brain-scan ... neuroimaging has been used to study acting, suggest that the process of losing the self [emphasis added] occurs rather easily."  Other scientific studies show that, as Amber Heard, Johnny Depp, petty Alec Baldwin, and others have illustrated recently, actors are vulnerable to numerous mental health problems.

Many actors, having played a boxing champ, a great president or scientist or history-making queen, etc., come to see themselves as the hero in a script that they are writing in their own heads.  They are a climate hero saving the world, a heroic defender of democracy, a hero saving poor illegal aliens from the evil legal system — all, as Plato observed 2,500 years ago, to gain the applause of children they desperately need to quell their insecurities. 

However, after starring in a virtue-signaling role as a brave defender of the poor on the other side of the border, these great social justice warriors generally return to their enormous walled compounds, where they are served by multiple live-in maids.  In posing as the great social justice warriors, what most celebrities only manage to produce, unintentionally, is sad comedy in which their life mission of self-glorification is the joke.

As Hughes (DiCaprio) intimates to Hepburn (Blanchett), most celebrity social justice heroes are only acting, virtue-signaling, in a transparent attempt to compensate for their silly self-indulgent lives.  Their sanctimonious lectures on morals and politics to the peasants are really to promote themselves.  Since most television news presenters have become actors as well, one can assume that the same mental disturbances affect this set of narcissists as they attempt to out-silly each other.  Unfortunately, this is all terrible for the country. 

Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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