The Uberpop


Public Figures and their Opinions

Posted in UberArticles by theuberpop on November 5, 2009

I recently posted a link to Billy Corgan‘s now-infamous blog Everything From Here to There, specifically a post about his own misgivings about the H1N1 virus and the possibility that said virus was engineered by man.  You can read that here, just as a reference.  I’m pretty sure that one post generated more traffic through my page than any other in my blog’s very brief existence (and by brief I mean a week and a half.)  I understand that the “swine flu” is a hot topic these days and a very real concern, but I do feel that people should be a bit careful about the voices they allow to influence their stance and actions regarding such delicate issues.

This isn’t an entirely new concept, celebrities and other public figures leveraging their position to express their views and opinions.  Names like John Lennon, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, Bono, Chris Martin and Thom Yorke come to mind.  I don’t necessarily think that these people set out to shove their beliefs down the throats of thousands of people or subvert anyone’s thinking, but it seems that an unfortunate curse of notoriety is that the general public may view actions like these as mere publicity stunts.

I’m not implying that Mr. Corgan or any of the other names listed here are guilty of such things, many names on that list have results to back up their very public humanitarian exploits, but I do think that people should take the opinions of public figures and celebrities with a grain of salt.  People have a right to formulate their own opinions on any issue and take actions based on those opinions within reason, but in the world of Twitter and celebrity blogs I fear that people may be inclined to think or feel a certain way simply because Miley Cyrus or Jon Stewart tweeted or blogged about it.  The fact of the matter is that we know too much about celebrities and put far too much stock in what they think, say and do.  They’re just people, you know.

I guess what I’m getting at here is simply a question, what do we do with all of this?  In theory, the public figures bold enough to put their views out there have done their homework (kudos to Mr. Corgan for providing links and sources), but sometimes you wonder if people are just hopping on the controversy train in hopes of some press (usually bad, which in this day and age seems to be the best kind.)  The stock solution here would be to tell everyone to research and decide for themselves, but it’s more complex than that, now isn’t it.  Telling people to shut off and pay no attention would be almost impossible because it’s everywhere, telling anyone with any sort of notoriety to keep their mouth shut is a blatant violation of their rights.  It’s a bit of a conundrum with no easy answer, thoughts?

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