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swimming through apologies1

Stop asking for apologies.

I understand you are upset that so many celebrities and artists are spending so much time in the media talking up the anti-war rhetoric. It pisses me off as well. I write about it often. Mostly it pisses me off when I learn that someone I admired at some point has such a clueless view of the world.

The thing is, they have a right to do this, just as I have a right to make fun of them right here. What I don't have the right to do is demand an apology for them speaking their minds.

No matter how I feel about their politics, their views on war, their feelings for the president or the country, they own that right to have those views and they can spend all the time they want talking about them without having to say they are sorry.

Don't forget what makes this country great. We have the freedom to say whatever the hell we want, when we want and where we want - for the most part.

The Dixie Chicks and Dave Matthews and Susan Sarandon and all the rest of them can talk until their faces turn blue about filling the world will peace and love and hybrid cars and I can write until my hands turn numb about MOAB and Hussein and how I think Ted Rall is an ass. Freedom of speech. Freedom of the press. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I think it's wrong and egocentric of us to ask someone for an apology for stating their feelings, even if they do it in an idiotic and uniformed manner. Just as some of you would like the Dixie Chicks to say they are sorry for uttering those words about George Bush this week, perhaps some anti-war people would like Ron Silver to apologize for speaking his view that we take out Saddam through force. It works both ways, not one way. Each side thinks they are right.

You may not agree with anything the other side says, but that doesn't mean they owe you an apology for voicing their views. If we ask that, then we are forgetting what we are fighting for in the first place.

Do you really want to live in a country where people have to make public apologies for insulting the president? Isn't that the kind of thing we are trying to get rid of?

Hate them, ridicule them, throw their records away or never watch their movies again if that's what you feel you have to do. But remember one thing: Freedom is never having to say you're sorry2.

1 Berlin, Metro
2I mean this in the example set forth here, not in the broader sense

Comments

Well said!

Amen! Thank you for voicing something I have been thinking for some time now.

Same here!!!

Did someone actually ask the Dixie Chicks to apologize or did they offer this on their own?

I certainly don't want their apologies. 1) I might not believe it was sincere. 2) Apologies make you look craven. "Never apologize, Mister, it's a sign of weakness." (John Wayne, I think.) The way it is supposed to work is: a celebrity says something dumb, I get to remark upon the stupidity of said remark, everybody's happy!

America does not need to look to its celebrities for its opinions. Left or right, they are uninformed. It needs to look to its great thinkers and statesman.
THe dixie Chicks are jumping on the bandwagon..............

The only caveats I would give to celebrity "freedom of speech" are:

1. They are over-exposed. 'blogging is somewhat of an equalizer, but it's no match for a camera. You're opinion will never get the kind of attention that Natalie Maines did, but I would imagine that she is no better informed than you.

2. For God's sake, complaining about the Government is an American right. But please, please, please, do it in AMERICA. Jumping across borders to b*tch and moan about our country is a bad, bad thing.

I would do that no more than I would - as an American - complain about the French government while in Paris. That's courtesy.

The Dixie Chicks - who I was really beginning to like - have turned out to be little more than a trio of Jane Fondas.

I just want to know if they were equally ashamed of their last president when he was finding new and fancy uses for Cuban cigars with an early-20s intern ...

Excellent.

Yep. This is what we fight for. Freedom is never having to say you're sorry.

I wrote about this exact thing a while back. here's what I said back in December. Personally, I don't care if the famous want to hold and express political views, everybody has a right to do that. And in some cases I don't care if an entertainer gets famous off of political art of one form or another and continues in the same vein. What I have a problem with is when entertainers use the fame, respect, and admiration that they earned doing one activity to further a completely different activity. I'm not saying it should be stopped, just that I don't like it, and I think it's very much counter to courtesy and respect for their fan base. In the most extreme examples it is nearly a violation of good faith and trust, not far removed from something like a minister selling you an automobile or a family doctor trying to sell you life insurance. Especially so when they make a big to do of the matter and use their fame as a soapbox. If they express their opinions when asked or when otherwise normally appropriate that's fine. When they call press conferences, stage media events, and use awards ceremonies for their political grandstanding then I think that starts to edge across the line.

Think about it this way. Let's say you have a house that is getting renovated and your contractor holds some fairly strong political views. Now, his politics might come up when you engage him in discussion or happen to be chatting with him on a personal basis, that's to be expected. But if everytime he shows up to work he runs on and on about politics and nearly every time you meet him, even professionally, he gives you an earfull, you are not going to like it and you might even think about getting a new contractor. It's simply impolite and unprofessional.

I actually just wrote about the same issue yesterday. I have to say, I really cannot believe half of you people.

what is the point of a celebrity status if you're not going to use it? I'm sorry, I agree fully with the Dixie Chicks and the rest of them in their anti-war rhetoric, and I agree fully with their right to voice it. in the same breath, I agree fully with those celebrities who are for the war (not their opinion, but that they're on television saying "support our troops"), and I fully support their rights to get on television and debate Martin Sheen and write songs about blowing Iraq up. I don't support the war, I am very much against it, but I'll be fucking damned if I'm going to tell someone else that they should have no right to speak about it. I direct most of this to the earlier post Michele wrote about Ted Rall. the comments in there were frightening, and from my point of view, completely uncalled for.

I'm glad celebrities are speaking out about this. I wish more of them would do it, both those who are supporting the war and those who aren't. I disagree with all of you who say they should just be there for entertainment purposes. it's about time some of them use their elevated status in our culture for some type of good. I'm glad to know that some of them are taking the risk (to both their careers and their lives, if some of you got the chance to be alone with them, apparently) to voice how they feel. that IS what you all are fighting for, and it's very disturbing that you don't realize it works both ways. if I have to hear you call me an idiot for being anti-war, then you have to listen to me say the same thing. this isn't a country of double-standards. not where freedom and the "government" is concerned.

and if it is, then you're all fighting for the wrong principles.

One thing's for sure, the world is changing. The next few weeks will see a whole new situation vis-a-vis Iraq. American soldiers are going to die, and Iraqi soldiers and civilians and Baathist murderers too. Lots of information is going to come out about who has been doing what, and why.

Celebrities should definitely say what they want to say. Good for them. The anti-war speakers have definitely caught the ear of the crowd, in this 1938/before-the-deluge moment.

Just like Hitler's appeasers, their songs will sound a lot less sweet once some ugly truths become more widely known. If, that is anybody remembers. After all, where were all the proud America-Firsters and pacifists in 1945, when the newsreels of the death camps started showing?

Remembrance. That's what I'd like to see once the current Hollywood stampede passes by. The only penalty that the Clooneys and Garafalos and Sarandons should suffer is to know that their public remembers their words.

On balance, it's heartening the way the Internet has treated the Fisks and Chomskys and Herolds for their statements about the anti-Taliban campaign. Yeah, they are still busy building castles in the air, to the huzzahs of their supporters. Twas ever thus. But the record of their calumnies is accessible to anybody with a modem and a brain. Independent-minded people making their own judgements: that, more than anything, harms causes like postmodernism, Anti-Americanism, and Islamofascism.

I just think of them as idiot savants. If I like their artwork, I'll continue liking their artwork in spite of their political silliness.
There's no good reason to expect them to be as brilliant politically as they are artistically.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my visceral, gut reaction to many of these celebrities voicing their opinion.

I suppose my initial flash of anger has a lot to do with disappointment. One hopes that those who do well in the world have at least SOME of the same opinions as yourself. It's a sort of validation that you're not on the totally wrong path.

Then George Clooney begins spouting about how it's all a big plan for the US and France to take all Iraq's oil, and you realize that this man doesn't only disagree with you, but he's not very bright, either.

Before long, you start hearing people like Jeanine Garafolo state how ashamed she is of everything that this country does and has done, and you realize that she's just miserable, and so riddled with guilt over something she can't control that she projects the self-loathing onto the whole of the nation.

Finally, you just want it to stop. You don't want the television telling you that all of your carefully researched, deeply considered opionions are wrong, because you can't respond to these people. It's totally unilateral, like being in the principal's office in 4th grade.

Yes, I think they have the right to an opinion, but they also have to realize that by using their celebrity as a tool to make that known in the world that they are NOT going to be universally loved. The bigger the forum, the bigger the risk.

I have no way to argue with Susan Sarandon or Martin Sheen. I can only respond by not patronising their television programs and movies. This is MY right, responsibility, and the privilege of living in a country where I'm allowed to express my opinion.

Perhaps the best indication you are speaking to a fool is their refusal to listen to another side of the story. Its nice to see that several individuals, on both sides of the war issue, are able to understand this. Name-calling and flag-draping are tactics generally devised to avoid intelligent discourse, which is certainly something this country could use more of.

Or, in other words, well said.

- Evilboy

Well said datarat.
Iím not going to pay money just to have the privilege to read the official Dixie Chicks forum so I donít know whatís been posted over there, but I donít get a sense that people are asking for an apology. This is a case of disappointment, anger, outrage, whatever, that an American artist would pander to a foreign audience in this way. Then to add fuel to the fire they issue a release saying they were just overwhelmed by anti-American sentiment overseas. That would have been the time my nationalistic hackles would have been raised. Molly Ivins may get to call Bush a butthead, but Iíll be damned if I would take stage in Montreal and announce that I agreed with FranÁoise Ducros just to sell more after concert t-shirts. And since the Bush policy on this has the voted support of both the House and the Senate, this is American policy with troops in the field, itís difficult to say ďIím ashamed of BushĒ and not have it mean ďIím ashamed of my countryĒ. I donít want, or expect, an apology, but I can express my displeasure by spending some of my leisure money elsewhere.

I heard several people asking for apologies, including Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.

Thank god I'm not important enough for people to ask me where I stand. I'm not a politician. I'm just a good ol' American geek.

Michele,
O'Reilley et al. asking for apologies from the Dixie Chic or that moron Moran doesn't make much sense. They think what they think so they said what they said. Both people cited have offered apologyexcuses that explain what they "really" meant. Yeah. Whatever. Like Ross N. said, idiot savants apologizing for the idiot part.
After tomorrow or so the unfolding tension/horror will put their callow words in a new light...

All the loud mouths who have pandered to Saddam will get their come-uppance...

Lets look to history for an example...

!936 - He's the most admired and respected man in America, folks are naming their sons after him, he is swamped everywhere he goes because people just want to see him, maybe touch him and he is called the greatest hero of his generation.

1943 - He is not allowed to actually join the Army because he is not fully trusted. He is finally allowed to perform some training and design work for the Army Air Corps but only under close supervision and in the middle of the Pacific.

Charles Lindberg took a well deserved ass-whipping for publicly supporting the Third Reich and I hope many of these pin-headed celebs pay the same price.

Having said all that, anyone has the right to express their opinion, but that expression does not come without risk.

They owe no one an apology.

They will find out that it is painful and expensive to be that stupid.

I agree. I don't want the Dixie Chicks to apologize; obviously any apology they make is just going to be a lie in order to try to win back the substantial number of fans they have alienated. Let 'em bitch... but they'd better not expect to get any more of my business.

The Dixie Chicks are trying to get publicity, they said some stupid things that are going to blow up in their faces. i hope that they get what's coming to them. they can have their opinoins but they shouldn't use their fame to broadcast it. i dont want their apologies either. They are just doing it cause they were forced to, not because they have any remorse for what they said. you don't hear 'normal' people getting a say in the papers and on the news. So why the celebs??? They aren't any more special than we. You hear them say so much in interviews and in their music. Yeah Right.

Celebrities are welcome to join protest marches like anyone else, however it is not fair that they use their media platform to promote their views. They are paid millions of dollars a year and are supported by us. I don't find political rhetoric entertainment and we as the public have a right to boycott entertainers that abuse the media in this manner. They need to use the same channels of protest that the rest of us use.