BY SAM WHITE
When faced with a political dilemma my first reaction is always, what would Charlotte Church do? Sometimes she’s busy planning a march or burning copies of the Sun though, and I can’t discover her thoughts.
In those circumstances I get help by tuning in to the perspective of every other famous person on the planet. Superstars, has-beens, might-bes, can’t-quites, it doesn’t matter, because they all share a single, worn-out opinion. Whatever the circumstances, they favour the prescribed liberal progressive option.
The EU referendum wasn’t a simple left/right binary, but unsurprisingly the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley lined up dutifully to back the
totally anti-democratic fluffy liberal European Union, and the UK’s zombified, eternal participation in it.
There were some famous names on the Leave side too, but most of those in the contemporary spotlight backed Remain.
In the US election, Scarlet Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, and a roomful of other A-Listers made an unpleasantly twee video to support Hillary Clinton, while not-an-actual-gangster Robert De Niro threatened to punch Donald Trump, really hard, right in the mush.
It all worked a treat. Brexit was crushed and Hillary Clinton is poised to… no, not really. Of course it had no effect at all. Except, possibly, for the exact opposite to that which was intended.
Strangely, a troupe of studio-pampered millionaires offering unqualified support for the conveyor belt, establishment status quo doesn’t quite ring true. It leads me to think that perhaps they’re not made of twinkling stardust, and are just self-interested. The ingrained way of doing business has served them well enough up to now, so let’s stick with it. For all our sakes. But mostly for their sakes.
Take a look at zany, Marxist lech Russell Brand. How does he think we react when he’s frantically proselytizing? Utterly cocooned against hardship of any kind, Brand nonetheless bangs on about the perils of capitalism and the unfettered joy of command economies, and at some point announces that he’s going to play right-on games with his child’s emotional well-being by raising her gender neutral.
Although he pretends to be a revolutionary, he toes the line with ease. According to Brand we need to turn on, tune in and, erm, embrace metropolitan identity-leftism like every other Guardian reader in North London. Radical.
And this is where right-of-centre politics has the advantage. Thankfully, it’s rare to find a celebrity who will raise themselves above the parapet in the service of anything not considered liberal progressive. We should be grateful for that, because in the world of politics celebrity endorsement is a bullet in the foot.
There have been a couple of notable exceptions this year though. First, Morrissey said that Brexit “was magnificent“. This is not an endorsement of conservative politics by any means, but it does drive joyously against the grain of the vacuous liberal consensus.
Then, recently, Kate Bush praised Theresa May, and was spitefully harangued for it by narrow-minded zealots who can’t bear differences of opinion.
These political statements didn’t reek of the usual celebrity groupthink. They illustrate that on the rare occasions an artist moves away from the left-wing orthodoxy, their statements seem meaningful, for a number of reasons.
First, there can be no charges of hypocrisy or coercion. They’re not instructing you to heed the message, stay in your lane, and stop being such a goddamn fascist (like the Hollywood set), and neither are they giving you a bullshit lecture about the illusory merits of a Marxist revolution, while raking in a vast personal fortune (like Brand).
In addition, a celebrity who voices conservative ideas will get savaged by so-called progressives. To anyone on the outside this looks like infantile vindictiveness. A clamour of trembling SJWs kicking someone on social media, or fretting over whether or not they’re still allowed to like an artist’s work, is not a good look. This pack mentality damages the image of its own cause.
Finally, knowing that they’re going to be publicly flogged by the left, but expressing their views anyway, makes a speaker look principled. Their endorsement is obviously based on real beliefs because there’s no personal gain to be had from publicising it. Their backing becomes worth having.
On a related note, just as the majority of celebrity endorsements are either without merit or of negative value, so celebrity threats to leave the country when an opposing candidate wins an election also amount to nothing more than throwaway attention seeking.
It’s no shock that we’re still waiting for an American exodus after Trump’s victory. Wasn’t Lena Dunham supposed to be leading the way?
Sam White writes for Country Squire Magazine. Other Sam White articles can be found by using the search box below and typing in Sam White and also by looking here.