What's at stake?
October 19, 2004 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Fans of Joss Whedon are being asked to shell out thirty-five bucks a piece to hear Buffy's creator answer questions over a speaker phone, and remind them to vote for Kerry. Meanwhile "Buffy" herself is known to pose for the other guys. One might wish people really tune out celebrity opinions on politics. Does it change minds or are they already made up? Even when the facts are fiction. Should celebrities shut up or do they have the right to speak out? What, or rather who, influences you?
posted by ZachsMind (26 comments total)
Finding out that a hott girl--celebrity or not--is a Republican is sort of like finding out that a hott girl has genital warts. Look, but don't touch.
posted by interrobang at 6:15 PM on October 19, 2004

Everyone who watches Buffy is a Democrat anyways.
posted by smackfu at 6:16 PM on October 19, 2004

Should celebrities shut up or do they have the right to speak out?

Since when has freedom of speech depended on your chosen profession?
posted by spilon at 6:24 PM on October 19, 2004

What I learned between the Iraq war protests and the California gubernatorial recall is that liberal stars who are politically active are part of the ignorant Hollywood set, but conservative stars with an interest in politics are electable.
posted by eyeballkid at 6:45 PM on October 19, 2004

Wait, how do they know that Buffy is republican? I mean, the girl is married to Freddie Prinze Jr, so it's not like her taste is terribly reliable, but I'd hate to write her off precipitously.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:53 PM on October 19, 2004

Never write anyone off precipitously.
posted by troutfishing at 6:57 PM on October 19, 2004

<off topic>
Hi ZachsMind! Where you been?
</off topic>
posted by zpousman at 7:00 PM on October 19, 2004

Hey, now--Freddie Prinze Jr. is the Michael J. Fox of the early aughts. America's teenager.
posted by interrobang at 7:04 PM on October 19, 2004

I perfer when artists use their craft to make political statements rather than joining the throngs of talking heads.
posted by sexymofo at 7:05 PM on October 19, 2004

that babe page was really sad - they didn't even bother putting up a single quote or even casual pic; it was all cleavage and sultry lady poses. Made me feel like: women should be seen and not heard - and seen naked. Which on a political site doesn't sit well. There's probably some "delicious democrats" site somewhere, but, I dunno. Rubbed me the wrong way.
posted by mdn at 7:17 PM on October 19, 2004

"women should be seen and not heard - and seen naked"

If that's part of the Republican platform, I'm switching.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:25 PM on October 19, 2004

interrobang: Oh come on. Freddie's got at least a foot on Mikey.

And I think Joss should get back to working on Firefly which is the only work of his that I've enjoyed. Well... The Buffy feature was okay back in the day, but otherwise, meh.

What were we talking about? Cleavage?
posted by ODiV at 8:41 PM on October 19, 2004

Rock the Vote signed up something like a million new voters. Maybe Christina Aguilera and P Diddy yammering on about why you should register actually works.
posted by owillis at 9:20 PM on October 19, 2004

Celebrities have just as much a right to free speech as the next guy. The real question is: why should we care what they say more than the next guy?
posted by 4easypayments at 9:28 PM on October 19, 2004

For the record, SMG isn't a Republican from what I've heard. Freddie Prinze Jr. is, however, and she attended the RNC with him. I also don't think she "posed" for any of those photos for that lame site; they're just a bunch of promo shots and magazine pictorals that they put together because they think she's a Republican.

The girl who played Anya (Emma Caulfield) is a hardcore Republican, though, and I hear they didn't get along well because of it (SMG and Emma), so take it for what you will.

As for the question about celebrities, I think they should use the platform given them to do whatever good they can. Whether or not they have that platform in the first place is entirely another matter to debate, but expecting them not to use it is rather absurd.
posted by The God Complex at 9:58 PM on October 19, 2004

4easypayments hit it right on the money with "why should we care", and spilon's comment also tackles it. "Since when has freedom of speech depended on your chosen profession?" I'm concerned about both sides of this. It's has been bugging me more and more recently and I appreciate your opinions. I've heard in recent weeks that some people diss celebrities for speaking their mind. Some of those people have been other celebrities. Why is it considered wrong by some to listen to celebrity opinons, and simultaneously, well.. quite frankly why should we listen to them? Why do some people listen to their favorite celebrities? Does celebrity influence change minds or just reinforce opinions that are already solid?

Why do we listen to celebrities and not, say, plumbers or architects? What makes an actor or musician better qualified to give their opinion? It's not that being an actor should preclude one from speaking their mind, but how come we give them special consideration? And maybe you don't personally, but I mean humanity in general. Just because they make it interesting?

Tucker Carlson disses self-admitted comedian Jon Stewart for not having journalistic integrity, and then Jon disses Tucker for being mindless entertainment when he's supposed to cohost a news program. Have we completely lost sight who is qualified for what? Was Reagan really a great president, or just great at acting the part? For that matter, why was Princess Diana suddenly an authority on landmines in her final years? Why do people give more money to ethiopian children if someone like Sally Struthers suggests it? Why do sales go up when Kristin Kreuk shows up in a makeup commercial? And why should Bruce Springsteen or Howard Stern or Susan Sarandon potentially influence the outcome of an election? Or is their potential influence an illusion?

...is Anthonty Stewart Head a Tori or a Whig?
posted by ZachsMind at 10:07 PM on October 19, 2004

She does tend to spend a lot of time with very old white men who have no souls. Sounds pretty Republican to me.
posted by pokeydonut at 10:07 PM on October 19, 2004

And with regard to Emma, Joss tells the story that she once supported the war in Iraq with the opinion of "Why shouldn't we go to war for oil? We need it!"

Maybe Rumsfeld is an ex-vengeance demon? That would explain a lot.
posted by pokeydonut at 10:12 PM on October 19, 2004

buffy is a republican? That explains the shitty acting.
posted by braksandwich at 11:08 PM on October 19, 2004

Aren't we all just waiting for the "Xena: Princess Warrior" Kerry fundraiser?
posted by armacy at 8:59 AM on October 20, 2004

I'm all for limiting celebrities' political free speech if it means I don't have to hear about Arnold Schwartzenegger's sex life.
posted by me3dia at 9:30 AM on October 20, 2004

What, or rather who, influences you?

When Brittany Spears endorsed Dubya and his war that pretty made up my mind for me. :-)
posted by nofundy at 9:31 AM on October 20, 2004

posted by Peter H at 9:31 AM on October 20, 2004

Heh, I just finished reading Wil McCarthy's Queendom of Sol series (or at least the books published so far) in which he sort of lightheartedly makes the claim that it is human nature to want a figurehead/scapegoat for all of our problems. So, sometime in the future, the united peoples of Earth take the last surviving monarch of Tonga, the last surviving monarchy, and elevate her to Queen of the known universe.

There are some times lately I wonder if it is true.

I have mixed feelings about the role of celeberties in these debates. I grew up listening to pop radio in the 1980s and it is really hard for me to tell whether the political music of John Mellancamp, (then in the critical transition from "Johnny Cougar"), Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, and Bruce Springsteen influenced me, or just gave me an outlet for what I was thinking (*). Perhaps it was a bit of a feedback loop. In some ways, they are speaking to the choir. However in other ways, I think that even though celeberty tends to result in reducing political issues to soundbites, it is important that some level of debate does occur in the media.

(*) One of the reasons why I'm not willing to accept "the sky is falling" from my fellow left-wingers is because I remember in 80s when I could devour book after book by Stephen King but Kate Bush's Breathing always gave me nightmares. George W. Bush's saber rattling does not involve the same threat of mutually assured destruction as Reagan's.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:38 AM on October 20, 2004

I think the celebrities that agree with me are smart, insightful, and very persuasive, and their voices should not be silenced. I think that the celebrities that disagree with me should just shut up.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2004

Not all celeberities wield a lot of influence. Like, if say Nick Nolte told people to vote one way or the other, who'd care? The same goes with a lot of these outspoken actors and such. I mean seriously, who on this planet really counts Alec Baldwin as their favourite actor and therefore someone whose opinion meant something save as 'I'm a big movie star and what I say matters!'?

Someone like Joss Whedon, or Oprah, or even those guys that do the Penny Arcade comic apparently, or the Fark guy, are celeberities whose fans listen to them. They've somehow achieved the status of guru. Those of us who can ask 'why should we listen to these people?' are obviously not under any such person's spell (not that this always happens deliberately). I know people who love Buffy like religion, and I think we're all aware that Oprah could gather a huge army of women under her banner if she ever wanted to go to war.

As others have stated, people look for leaders, or clear thinkers to guide them, even from weird places. I don't blame them, I suppose, but I also don't blame celeberities who want to wield their influence in things political. If I had it in my power to get people out there voting against Bush, I'd fucking well do it, because getting him out of office is worth more than worrying a little about selling out. Certainly there's a line where this becomes exploitation, but I'm not sure where that comes in. Maybe it's getting fans to pay $35 for a phonecall.
posted by picea at 10:32 AM on October 20, 2004

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