About Me

Open Letter

I, like most people, have my own thoughts and views about politics. And in an election year, who doesn’t? But unless you’re married to me, or happen to be in my living room at the moment an election-related news story is reported, you probably won’t hear those views.

Celebrities, however, feel no need to keep their political views confined to marital relations (though if they did most celebrities would still have several people to tell), or their living room (they’re so used to being in our living rooms, I guess they feel at home). So, without commentary on the content of celebrity advocacy, here is my open letter to ALL celebrities.

Dear Celebrity,

I don’t really care all that much about what you think. Your thoughts on global warming, the economy, the war in Iraq, school uniforms, gun control, affirmative action, and anything else you care to speak out on couldn’t concern me less. Don’t be offended, my neighbor has political views–I don’t care what he thinks either.

Yes, I agree that you have a right to advocate what you believe in. We all do, and we all should at times. But just because you can sing or act or dance or direct or write doesn’t make your mind the epicenter for all wisdom. My best friend from high school can juggle. I don’t call him to ask how to vote.

For some reason, Celebrity, you’ve convinced us that you’re smarter and more informed than the “average” American. And it’s true that there are people who equate your financial success and fame with some special acumen.  We tell ourselves, “The Terminator made a lot of money, so Arnold will be a great Governor,” or “Barbara Streisand sings pretty, she must be right about gay-marriage.” But that’s not true, is it?

The never-ending cycle of marriage, divorce, and remarriage is enough to let us know that you don’t have life all figured out. The drug rehabs, the spousal abuse, the anorexia, and “I want a bigger contract” mentality are prevalent enough to show us that your lives, while more glamorous than most, aren’t all that different.

In fact, if the crack journalism of the E! True Hollywood Story can be believed, you all are more frightened, more self-centered, more hurt, and more damaged than many of us.

I suppose much of your rampant talk, Celebrity, can be reduced to a world and culture that almost begs you to say something. Saying something is okay, provided that you think before you speak. And provided that sometimes you just listen, and don’t speak at all.

The New Testament writer, James, had something profound to say about speaking. Whether you trust in God’s Word or not, I think you’ll find wisdom in these words: “let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak.”

Isn’t that something, the idea the what you speak might be more thoughtful if you listen to someone else speak first? It’s an interesting concept, that what you say may be more reflective if not spoken from a quick reflex.

Hollywood Celebrity, you might want to listen to those words. You may consider them before you bash the President or castigate the person who wants to be President. Listening first might cross your mind the next time you get the urge to post your opinion on your website or do an interview with 20/20.

You can always tell yourself that if you don’t have a script then you aren’t required to say anything. You might want to become a person that is quick to listen and slow to speak. As a matter of fact, all of us who live outside of Hollywood might want to be slow to speak too.

Live Your Adventure,

Sean Palmer

PS. Let me know what you think. I’m ready to listen.

  • Angie Jeter

    Sean,

    Great post! I suspect that the people who boo’d Linda Ronstadt off the stage in Las Vegas feel much the same way you do. I’m glad your blogging again!!!

    Angie

  • Cliff

    Hahaha…I love it. Just remember…what would you do if you had the power to say what you wanted to millions of people everyday? Good job buddy

    Clifford

  • Brendo

    Mr. Palmer,

    I’m a fan of your blog and have recommended it to several friends. I’m not sure I understand this post coming from someone who has a pulpit and faithful audience. I don’t understand how you can divorce “celebrity” from “artist” in this swift stroke. Unless you also believe that artists should not broadcast their views.

    I do believe that you should feel comfortable broadcasting your views (as should celebrities). I don’t understand why (especially) you would aim to slow freedom of speech. The only thing I understand about this post is that you’ve probably been offended by something someone said. I’d suggest that’d be an issue to be taken up between the concerned parties and their God – at judgment time.

    “Celebrities” are people. Some of them are very intelligent, some of them are dumb as mud. None of this has any bearing on their freedom to speak. It’s, as you suggest, our responsibility to listen and make our own minds up about what we hear. I think you’re plainly wrong to suggest a certain class of people should be quiet. It’s as dangerous an idea when applied to a class that’s privileged as it is when applied to a class of people who aren’t. From where I’m standing it seems of paramount importance that we hear voices of conscience in the democratic debate. I don’t much care how smart, rich, poor, famous, obscure those voices are. Democracy is only healthy when a diversity of ideas are tabled. (Not my idea, I think it’s a T.Paine 9http://www.ushistory.org/paine) idea that democracy is based on discussion. And it’s that idea that blogs trade on. It’s why they’re important – not individually, but as a conduit of the currency of ideas.) If it takes a “celebrity” to communicate an idea to a group of people, so be it. Of importance here is the idea, not the celebrity. If we’re left with the idea, communication has taken place. Communication of ideas is the gold standard of our American Way. Any throttling of debate, or restricting of ideas should be very cautiously undertaken. I’m not sure you’ve captured James’ sentiment in your open letter. It seems to me (in this case) 4 years could be considered “slow to reply”. But if you’re suggesting they should refrain from expressing their opinion or advocating altogether, I think you need to take a step back – read a bit more, slow your reply, and consider the alternatives.

    Concerned,
    brendo

  • Sean

    Brendo,

    Thank you for your response to my blog. I’m grateful and, quite frankly, flattered that people I don’t know read my postings. I hope you continue to read and interface with the material. Perhaps it will give me the impetus to write more frequently.

    Brendo, I think you may have misread or missed the spirit of my post. I believe that I clearly indicated that all people, celebrities included, should be free to exprees their views. Hence the sentence,”Yes, I agree that you have a right to advocate what you beleive in. We all do and we all should at times.”

    This Brendo, was not a curtailing of freedom of expression. Rather, it was an urging for people to be thoughtful before speaking, as well as uplifting the importance of listening.The Constitution protects speech, but the wise person listens!

    Could it be that our country has become so overwhelmed with its right to speak, that someone suggesting that someone may choose to listen first sounds as if they are suggesting that people, as you write, “be quiet”? Nowhere in my post is that suggested.

    Brendo, you wrote that “democracy is based on discussion.” This is true, but would “discussion” accurately reflect what happens in the contemporary political marketplace? Or would it be more precisely described as “accusation and refuttal” or perhaps “talk-show shout session?” The most accurate description, to my mind at least, is “I will argue for my side regaurdless of the merits or demerits of the argument merely for the sake of my side.”

    The communication of ideas may be the “gold standard of our American Way,” but it is far from the gold standard for Christians. I do not believe that I have misinterpreted James’ intent. James’ exhortation to be “quick to listen and slow to speak, slow to anger” is given to us because he knows it “does not produce God’s righteousness.” We see that everywhere. Right-wingers bomb abortion clinics or remain silent when someone does. Left-wingers commit industrial terror against companies that they feel hurt the environment, and again, the moderates are left without a home.

    James’ aphorism is not an admonition NOT to speak, but rather council on HOW to speak.

    Brendo, it seems that your statement “4 years could be considered ‘slow to reply,'” perhaps reveals your dissatisfaction with our current administration. Believe me when I tell you that my personal political views are reflective of a recent radio commercial: “Right-wing? Left-wing? They both taste good to me.” It is for this reason that I deliberately used Republican and Democrate examples in my discussion of celebrities and politics.

    I’m less concerned about the arguments surrounding contemporary politics as I am about the way we argue. I wonder what our world–from personal relationships to the largest world scale–would look like if all of us sought to understand before being understood? The politics is not the point. The listening is the point! Might that change our relationships with our children, our spouses, our co-workers, those who hold different views from ours and those we have come to see as opposition?

    The politics is not the point, because we live subjected to a different governing body. We have all lived through democrate and republican administrations, but we live under God’s reign. We are aliens and exiles here, our citizenship is registered elsewhere.

    Thanks for writing. I was pleased to recieve your comments. If you would like to discuss furthur, you can e-mail me at my regular e-mail address: sean@beringfamily.org

    P.S. I apologize for any misspellings or grammatical errors. There’s not spell check in the comments section, and I’ve got to run off to a meeting.

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