This news item caught my eye, and caused me to meditate on the intellectual firepower of the contemporary celebrity:
Police are investigating a burglary at the Hollywood Hills home of Paris and Nicky Hilton. “[We lost] [e]verything … Just all my valuables. All my jewellery. All my money,” Paris Hilton, star of the Fox reality show The Simple Life 2, told KABC-TV during a visit to the home yesterday.
Us Weekly magazine quoted an un-named Hilton family member who said that the burglar took hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, jewellery and personal items.
Another unnamed source told the magazine that a laptop computer, several designer purses, video tapes and photographs of Paris Hilton with ex-boyfriend Nick Carter were also taken.
Americans have learned not to expect much from their celebrities, but isn’t this an aggravated instance of slow learning? It makes me wonder what people see in Ms. Hilton.
I just don’t get it.
But the celebrities that are really bugging me today aren’t the Hilton sisters. It’s Bruce Springsteen, the Dixie Chicks, REM, et al., who are soon to embark on the “Vote for Change” tour, sponsored by MoveOn.org and “America Coming Together,” the shadow Democratic Party funded by disreputable far-left fat cats. Oh, and let’s not leave out Pearl Jam, whose members sometimes read excerpts from Noam Chomsky’s incoherent rantings during concerts. I bet the crowd loves that. Here’s the tour logo:
The tour’s web site includes a bunch of artists’ declarations, like this one from Dave Matthews: “A vote for Bush is a vote for a divided, unstable, paranoid America.”
My tolerance for dumb-ass celebrities who want to tell me how to vote has dwindled down to zero. Springsteen (whom I once admired) is off my iPod. The Chicks, who are excellent musicians and superb live performers, are banned. To my knowledge, I’ve never listened to Pearl Jam, so their stupidity doesn’t pose a challenge.
And then, of course, there are movies. Ben Affleck has been traveling around with John Kerry, lending his penetrating political analyses to the Democrat cause.
Isn’t that sweet?
My point, I guess, is that I’m done with these guys. If I’m listening to the radio and a song by the Chicks or Springsteen comes on, I’m changing the channel. If Ben Affleck is in a movie, I’m not going. Period.
My expectations of “artists” are low. If they entertain me even a little, they’re above average. I couldn’t possibly care less what their political views are, if any. I wouldn’t dream of boycotting a musician for being a leftist, as long as he keeps it to himself. But any “artist” who tries to tell me how to vote is, by definition, soliciting a response from me. And if the “artist” is a liberal, my response is: screw you. I’m not paying for your mansion, your limousine or your cocaine. As far as I’m concerned, you’re on your own.
On the other hand, while I certainly don’t demand that entertainers I patronize be conservatives, it doesn’t hurt, either. It’s nice to know that there are still a few musicians around who wouldn’t make you cringe if they inadvertently let slip what they think about the election. For the most part, country musicians are still politically sound. Like George Strait, a Texan and long-time supporter of President Bush, as well as one of the great country singers of recent decades. Strait, probably my favorite musician, is what most people would consider a normal American. He got his start in music when he was serving in the Navy, and his base had a contest to put together a country band. He became the vocalist. If he hadn’t made it big in music, he would have been a teacher and 4-H instructor in a Texas high school. If you’re not familiar with George Strait’s music, you should be. He’s an American icon.
Or, say, Alan Jackson, a favorite of my wife’s. Jackson is the opposite of a limousine liberal; his parents were so poor that they lived in a tool shed. Probably the greatest country hit-maker of the 1990’s, Jackson achieved a whole new level of fame with his post-September 11 “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)?.” Jackson is not, as he says in that tune, “a real political man.” But you can be sure that he isn’t voting for John Kerry.
Or, of course, you could listen to Toby Keith. Keith claims to be a registered Democrat, but in “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue,” he directed this threat toward al Qaeda: “This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage; we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.” That’s a long way from Dave Matthews.
Darryl Worley is a younger musician with nowhere near the stature of those three, but his song “Have You Forgotten?” is a huge favorite with the troops, whom Worley entertains tirelessly. He has also performed for President Bush no fewer than four times.
Moving from music to Hollywood, the pickings get pretty slim. You probably can identify every Republican actor. John Rhys-Davies, who played the dwarf Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has been heavily criticized for condemning terrorism and defending western civilization:
I do not want to see a society where, should I ever have any, my granddaughters have their fingernails pulled out because they are wearing nail varnish. I hope that my friends and relatives in Wales are not going to be shocked by what they are going to read about [this matter]. Do not brand me a racist because I am most certainly not. But I will stand by this: Western Christianized Europe has values and experience that are worth defending.
I’ll make a point of seeing future movies in which Rhys-Davies appears.
We wouldn’t want to have a gender gap on our approved celebrity list; a good place to start is the GOP Babe of the Week site, run by the New Jersey Republicans. The award was recently won by Rachel Hunter; here she is:
Ms. Hunter is a classic celebrity; that is to say, her name is vaguely familiar, but I have no idea who she is or what (if anything) she’s done. I have a vague impression that she used to be either a model or an actress, and used to be married to someone. But she is a lot smarter than, say, Paris Hilton. Or John Kerry:
Clinton had a lot of tea parties with celebrities, but right after his term, somebody flew two planes into the Twin Towers… What do you want – somebody who keeps your children safe or somebody who throws nice tea parties? If I could, I would vote for Bush… He has done what needed to be done because if Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden had their way, none of us would be around in 10 years.
Past Babes of the Week include performers like LeAnn Rimes, Jessica Simpson, She Daisy (three sisters from Utah), Chely Wright, Gloria Estefan and Faith Hill. Also a few actresses like Bo Derek and Heather Locklear; but why is it that actresses only seem to admit to being Republicans when their careers are more or less over? One more actress: the lovely Cheryl Ladd, whom I knew slightly–very slightly–in high school.
Some beauty queens have been Babe of the Week, like the current Miss USA, Shandi Finnessey, and Miss America Susie Castillo, and–here’s one I never heard of, but take home-town pride in–Miss South Dakota, Sitania Syrovatka, who apparently is working on John Thune’s Senate campaign:
I’m not entirely sure these people are all Republicans, but at least they’re not touring for John Kerry.
I have to say, this exercise has cheered me up considerably. It’s nice to know that there are some celebrities on our side, too. Even if, for the most part, they don’t think it’s their job to tell us how to vote.
DEACON adds: Hey Rocket Man, if President Bush loses this election, let’s be sore losers and see if we can use the blogosphere to organize a boycott of some of these entertainers. Not the ones who merely voice support for Kerry, but the vicious ones who help perpetuate anti-Bush hysteria.
HINDROCKET concurs: Done. We may have to dust off P. J. O’Rourke’s Enemies List from the 1980s, and update it.