"Celebrities looked to politicians to validate them as part of the company of serious men and women. Politicians looked to celebrities to validate them as part of the company of the famous." -Ronald Brown, The Power and the Glitter
This simple quote explains a problem that is becoming more evident in today's society. It seems that in the present, every celebrity feels that he or she must have a cause to fight for, an activity lending meaning to an otherwise trivial existence. Now in some cases, this is definitely a positive situation. Some celebrities volunteer fame and money to help raise funds for invaluable research and education. However, some celebrities wield there fame like a fiery sword of ignorance being swung by a blind man. This happens to be the case involving celebrities and there testimonies at congressional hearings.
Some examples of celebrity hearings are comical, while others are downright infuriating. However, whether comical or infuriating, they are all tragic. To think that our country has gotten to the point where people that can deliver a line of script have voices that ring louder than the educated people. We are a country of many unique and intelligent individuals, but the intellects are being muted by those who look good on television.
One example of the this absurdity can be found by looking at the rural recession of 1985. The House Agricultural Committee held hearings to dramatize the plight of the farm families, but instead of summoning actual farmers who were living through the situation, Congress called upon millionaire actress who portrayed farm wives on television! Another example comes from Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys. He addressed the Environment and Public Works subcommittee and testified against a techinique of coal mining called moutaintop removal. Now, Kevin Richardson may be a well meaning individual, but it is likely that he knows as much about coal mining as I know about the origins of cabaret dancing. Further examples include Kim Basinger and Bob Barker asking for fair treatment of circus elephants, Woody Allen seeking protection against the colorization of classic films, and Richard Gere calling for China to stop bullying Tibet. It seems that such incidents are both frivolous and ridiculous.
Now, I'm sure most celebrities that want to fight for a cause are well meaning. They aren't necessarily out for publicity and they are trying to have a positive effect. However, both the celebrities and congress need to be responsible enough to realize that celebrities are far from being qualified for testifying to the effects or problems of our world and country. Let's leave the testimony to the PhD's and the stars can keep the spotlight.