Entertainers, Politics, and Personal Views

The world of the entertainer is like no other.  In our times now they are under a spotlight and scrutiny like never before in our history.  Our society has sadly devolved to the point where people believe they have the right to know anything about anybody.  This is of course totally disgusting and unfair.  If you were to ask them how they would feel under the same scrutiny, they would shrug it off as if it was no big thing.  It is a huge matter and people trying to break into the entertainment business have to be aware of the potential as they become more well-known.

Beyond that invasion of privacy though lurks another larger and more imposing issue.  When you reach the level of stardom, or maybe even not so much, should you as a performer use that stature as a platform for political, religious, social and so many other categories to promote or push their beliefs.  It can be broken down like this, using a very current event.  Actress Meryl Streep recently during the Golden Globe awards made a very impassioned speech.  although she never said a particular name, it was assumed, and probably correctly so that she was speaking about the next President of the United States Donald Trump.  So should she have made that speech in that moment is my question?  My belief is that no, she should not have.  It was disrespectful to the people and everyone involved in that award show, plus the viewers.  If Ms. Streep chooses to go out on the campaign trail or appear at functions, designated to support a political figure, that on the other hand is absolutely fine.  Take advantage of your star power at events like that and help the candidate or cause you want.  Based on election results with her statement she probably alienated about 50% of the US population.

One of the most outspoken performers ever, has to be the singer Bono from the band U2.  He chooses to use their concerts to promote his agenda whether the fans want to hear it or not.  there is a video that has circulated for years of a U2 concert, where Bono is rambling on about his cause, when a fan can clearly be heard shouting, “shut the hell up, we paid to hear music, not your bullshit.”   One has to believe that if that asked every single person entering that concert if they wanted to hear Bono talking about his cause or just music, probably 98 to 99% would say music.  I don’t make it 100 because there will always be that one person who is on the other side of the line.

Much like Meryl Streep, as a fan you are in a forced environment, and don’t have a choice.  Television viewers can change the channel but not the live audience.   To me it is tantamount to an abuse of power.  If it is for a good cause or charity, is it so wrong?   I believe it still is.  Many stars support causes and do so quietly, because they do it for the good of the cause, and not for the recognition they get for helping.  The egomaniacs are something entirely different and won’t be broached in this blog.  The recent loss of musician George Michael exemplifies how someone can do so much good, without the world having to be told.  If you don’t know, read some of the tributes to him, about his work and donations that were done anonymously or quietly.

We now approach the main reason for this topic.  If you are someone trying to break into the entertainment industry, should you be using your stage as a platform.  If you are a singer, playing small venues and bars you likely don’t stop to promote saving the rain forest in the middle of a music set.  But, on the other hand, on your social media pages, did you post something that could be considered inflammatory?  It would have to be something outrageous, just something supporting a person a cause or a group maybe.  I ask myself everyday when I see posts whether they could affect what I am doing with KB Radio.  For one thing, my opinions don’t really matter about many subjects and are my opinions worth taking the risk of alienating some people be it listeners or musicians.

I have read in the last couple weeks, posts that do nothing more than tell me that a couple of individuals I follow have a very specific viewpoint.  I won’t elaborate more than that.  On a personal level I shook my head wondering how they could think that, and then I sat back and thought, do I want to play their music when they have such extreme views in my opinion.  You may think that is potentially a bad decision on my part, but from the business side of the music, if I played one song from each of these people even once a day, I am committing an entire 7 or 8 minutes of airtime to them.  If their music isn’t played it’s not like that space is only theirs, another song will play and no one will ever know what had happened.  I certainly am not about to post an announcement..”By the way, for the listeners, this time was supposed to be for Atist XYZ, but I won’t be playing them today.”

the entire point is that no matter how small somethings appear they can be magnified hundreds or thousands of times.  In my example does it impact the person whose music was hypothetically removed from the station.  It probably doesn’t, but what if I am not the only one.  What if others, in radio stations, or music fans in general see it.  The question does not come down to whether or not you have the right to do it, but rather should you do it.  When I reach the level of Meryl Streep or Bono, I still won’t but that’s me personally.  If you become a huge celebrity, and you think you don’t need to worry about these types of things, than say or post anything you want.

My final thought for you is this.  Many years ago, the television industry had no way of knowing who was watching their TV Shows.  Before computers and the internet,  a company called Neilson  set out to help them with that.  There were other companies that also worked in the Radio industry to help with listeners.  What was discovered, and the idea is still used today in polling and surveys, is that if you ask a certain number of people their opinions, once you reached a certain plateau with responses, it was a fair representation of the entire population.  They discover that if as an example only, if the population was 10 million and they surveyed One hundred thousand people, they would be accurate to within 1 or 2 %.  That is really quite accurate and as I said that is why that method is still used today.  It would be impossible to survey all 10 million, plus many would never even respond.  My point being, yes I am only one person, and that other person who reads a post and is offended is only one person, but our opinions represent many other people as well.  So why take the chance?  Did not clicking like or re-posting something make a difference to you?

I found this video clip today so I wanted to add it to the blog post.  I personally find U2’s Bono completely ridiculous.  He spends so much time at concerts preaching his beliefs, but watch this video clip.  Not only is he outspoken and an idiot for thinking people want to hear his crap instead of music, watch what happens when he doesn’t like what you are doing.  Most important in this clip are HIS WORDS




One thought on “Entertainers, Politics, and Personal Views

  1. excellent point man, I struggle with that very issue and shy away from stuff that might alienate, of course I have one controversial song, but that can’t be helped, very thoughtful Al


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