Victor Davis Hanson wonders why celebrity actors like Robert Redford, Richard Gere, George Clooney, and Sean Penn are so partial to vacuous liberal rant when it comes to politics. He provides three possible explanations: (1) their fame and fortune mislead them into thinking they possess superior insight which, in turn, causes them to lecture the rest of us in a condescendingly liberal way, (2) liberal guilt over their status causes them to adopt a sanctimoniously egalitarian posture, and (3) they have simply lost touch with the world outside of Malibu and Beverly Hills.
There is a fourth possible explanation which may be at odds with Hanson’s first one — insecurity. As Hanson reminds us, some of the folks in question are not well educated. And all actors are highly dependent because they recite the lines of others. In addition, they depend on their popularity to win the right to recite these lines, and their popularity depends in part of their looks and the whim of the public. Some actors may compensate for this insecurity, and the related sense of intellectual inferiority, by attempting to talk profoundly about matters of great substance and import. In doing so, they may be inclined to mimic the liberal views of their intellectual “betters” within the community, but to express them in more dramatic and/or vulgar ways. Think about it: if you’re an actor trying to convince the Hollywood community (and yourself) that you aren’t an intellectual lightweight isn’t it better to adopt stridently left-wing rhetoric than to express support for President Bush?
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