Should Celebrities Talk Politics?
Have Your Say on Celebrity Politics!
Do celebrities and politics mix? Should famous people actively voice their political opinions, or keep them to themselves? Have your say with this interactive page asking should celebrities talk politics?
With more and more global issues coming to our attention, and the explosion of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, politics is something that is inevitably being discussed more by actors, musicians, writers and other famous faces. Many are now referred to as "celebrity activists" as they become involved in political debate, humanitarian work and issues such as climate change.
Is this a good thing, with the potential to ignite more interest in politics from the general public, or is it best left to the politicians themselves? Read on to have your say and find out more.
Photo Credit: George Bush shakes hands with Bono in 2006, calling him a "good citizen of the world".
Image in the public domain
Celebrities say the darnedest things.— Bridgette Wilson
President Barack Obama meets with Paul David "Bono" Hewson, lead singer of U2 and anti-poverty activist, to discuss development policy in the Oval Office, April 30, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).
Image in the public domain
A while ago I posted a film link on Facebook, commenting that I was excited about seeing a particular actor in a particular role. A friend commented that she had long been a fan of the actor in question since she was a teenager, but "since he became 1000000% political in everything he talks about, I've lost interest..."
This was fascinating to me, because, on the contrary, I was enjoying reading his political views on Twitter at the time, and to me it made him even more of an interesting person to follow, not just on Twitter, but in general. And this is coming from someone who, until recently, struggled to stay interested in my own country's politics, let alone that of another!
Because, regardless of what I may or may not think of this actor's viewpoint (I happen to agree with him, but that's beside the point), the positive thing is that it got me interested in finding out more. I knew next to nothing about American politics, being from England myself, but having read some of the articles he posted on Twitter, I started learning more, and actually became extremely interested in the subject. Which is a good thing, right? We should be taking an active interest in the people and governments who run not just our own country, but all the others, too.
Sean Penn amongst the crowd at the United for Peace March, January 27, 2007.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
So, I did a little research online, and found plenty of people who felt that celebrities really ought to "shut up" when it comes to sharing their political views. I guess it probably depends on what their political viewpoint is... if you agree, then you'd be quite happy to let them spread the word, but if not...
However, people have the right to voice their opinion, be they celebrity or everyday person. Unless they are spewing hateful comments, deliberately manipulating the public or inciting the likes of violence, then surely famous people are entitled to their opinion and their passion as much as you or I?
So what do you think? Do celebrity politics have the potential to inspire others into taking an active interest in the world? Or do you see that as a bad thing, where celebrities can influence unsure voters into supporting a party they might not otherwise have chosen? Or, is it simply a case of making the celebrity in question, well, just a little bit boring?
Let battle commence! Have your say below, watch celebs talking politics, find out more info, and decide which celebrities talk the best politics!
HERE'S WHAT I THINK
I think, overall, that it is a good thing that celebrities talk politics, if only to inspire an interest in the people who are interested in them. Right now, western politics is decided as much by voter apathy as it is voter power, because so many people are either disillusioned or simply not interested.
I agree with Matt Damon's statement that most people are set in their ways with politics, so having an opinion does not necessarily herald change, but providing the celebrity is speaking out in the spirit of change, rather than for their own ego, that is a good thing.
I think getting people thinking and talking about political issues is important. Any celebrities who are willing to speak out about humanitarian causes, environmental issues or other significant topics are bringing these key issues to a wider audience.
Of course, you will always get celebrities spouting rubbish about things they know nothing about. That is no different from the general public. And just because they are famous, it doesn't mean they know any better than we do. But many can press for significant changes - for example, would the Gurkhas in the UK have got the justice they deserved, had the much-loved and respected actress Joanna Lumley not spoken out and supported them so passionately?
Should Celebrities Talk Politics?
Celebrities Who Talk Politics
Matt Damon on Politics
Matt Damon Politics on the Web
- Matt Damon on Talking Politics
Matt Damon discusses why he doesn't think voicing a political opinion is a contribution.
- Matt Damon on President Obama
Matt Damon's criticism of Barack Obama
- Matt Damon Politics - Obama Has Rolled Over to Wall Street
Matt Damon's take on President Obama's dealings with the economy
- Matt Damon Political Views
Summary of Matt Damon's political views on Wikipedia
"I'm not an activist per se, but I have strong feelings about things. People can jump on celebrities for being ill-informed or naive, but I've got a right to say what I believe."
- Ed Harris
John Cusack on Politics
John Cusack Politics on the Web
- John Cusack's Blog at The Huffington Post
Political blog articles by John Cusack
- John Cusack Satanic Death Tweet
Fox News twists a GOP joke tweeted by John Cusack
- Huffington Post quotes John Cusack on Goldman Sachs
John Cusack's verdict on the Goldman Sachs saga
- John Cusack on Goldman Sachs
Business Insider discusses John Cusack's Twitter comments on Goldman Sachs and government
John Cusack for President on CafePress
Sean Penn on Politics
Sean Penn Politics on the Web
"I have always hated celebrities lecturing people on politics. So forgive me. But I am passionate about this country. I am equally passionate about the potential of the people who live here."
- Simon Cowell
Bono on Politics
Bono Politics on the Web
- Bono Politics and Humanitatian Work
Wikipedia entry on Bono's humanitarian career
- Can Bono Save the World?
Time Magazine examines Bono's activism and ego
- Bono's Politics - The Future of Celebrity Activism
About the book Bono's Politics, which covers the development of Bono's activist strategies
Angelina Jolie on Politics
Angelina Jolie Politics on the Web
George Clooney Politics on the Web
- George Clooney Political Views and Humanitarian Work
Wikipedia entry on Clooney's humanitarian and political interests
- The Politics of George Clooney
Profile of Clooney's political activism
- Why George Clooney Won't Run for President
George confesses why he won't ever run for president
- George Clooney talks Sudan with the President
Clooney's words on his meeting with Obama over Sudan
More Politicial Celebrities
Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and George Clooney show their appreciation for U.S. troops during a tour of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Image in the public domain
Of course, the ultimate examples of celebrities getting involved in politics are those who actually went into politics - such as actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who became Governor of California in 2003. But there are plenty of other celebs having their say and getting involved too:
Brad Pitt *** Tim Robbins *** Robert Redford *** Bob Geldof *** Don Cheadle *** Michael J Fox *** Willie Nelson *** Barbra Streisand *** Joanna Lumley *** Michael Moore *** Oprah Winfrey *** Tom Cruise *** Rosie O'Donnell ***
Rob Reiner *** Susan Sarandon *** Alec Bladwin *** Stephen Baldwin ***
Jane Fonda *** Martin Sheen
PAST POLITICAL CELEBRITIES
Elizabeth Taylor *** Audrey Hepburn *** Orson Welles *** Charlton Heston *** Paul Newman *** Frank Sinatra *** John Wayne *** Warren Beatty ***
CELEBRITIES PASSIONATE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE & THE ENVIRONMENT
Leonardo DiCaprio *** Ian Somerhalder
CELEBRITIES WHO HAVE GIVEN SUPPORT TO POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS
Stephen Fry *** John Cleese *** Honor Blackman *** David Tennant *** The Spice Girls *** Sean Connery *** Daniel Radcliffe *** Michael Caine ***
"I think celebrities have an obligation to the public to not just sing or act."
- Clay Aiken
"I think that celebrities should never underestimate their power. I mean just to draw attention, because then people get involved on a personal level."
- Debbie Gibson
The Best and Worst of Celebrity Politics
Paul McCartney receiving the Gershwin Award from Barack Obama. Image in the public domain
Been inspired by the words of a certain celebrity? Incensed by the ramblings of another? Post your best and worst political celebs here - feel free to post on both sides!
Who do you love and who can't you stand when it comes to political talk?
- Views on Political Celebrities Involved with UK 2010 Elections
BBC round up of who supported who and what people think
- BBC Reader Comments on Celebrities Talking Politics
In response to celeb involvement in 2001 UK politics, the BBC asked for public views
Political Current Events
"All of us, whether or not we're celebrities, every one ought to spend part of their life making someone else's life better."
- Jerry Springer
Celebrities and Politics - HOT OR NOT?
Angelina Jolie at a news conference with U.S. Senators. Image in the public domain
Did you change your mind about celebrities and politics? Do you think they can inspire interest in the subject, or only cause more grief? Your final conclusions, please!
Celebrities and politics...
I hope this page was suitably thought-provoking and inspired some good-spirited debate! Please leave your comments on this page or the topic in general here.