CELEBRITIES: STILL RETARDED

Posted in No Politics Friday on October 2nd, 2009 by Ed

We don't anoint celebrities as a society based on their brainpower. They are famous because of way they look, sing, act, throw baseballs, or whatever esoteric and impractical skill they happen to have. This is why it tends to hurt so much to listen to them talk. Whether we're listening to Chuck Norris' brilliant musings on the nature of democracy, Charlie Sheen's incisive viewpoint on the demolition of the World Trade Center, Tom Cruise's copiously researched ideas about antidepressants, or Jenny McCarthy's groundbreaking work on vaccines that cause autism, there is a good reason that most of the public wants to punch them in the face when they break the fourth wall and enlighten us with their deepest thoughts. We may willingly shell out big bucks for tickets to their shows and movies, but we'd pay even more to avoid having to listen to them talk out of character.

So, yeah. The "Free Roman Polanski" petition.

I have nothing to add to this on the most basic level. To reiterate, this guy plied a 13 year old girl with prescription drugs and whiskey, fucked her, stopped to ask if she was on the pill (at 13), and then put it in her ass. Just so we're all clear on that. We all have heard him say the following after admitting that he knew she was 13:

If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls.

Stay classy, Roman.

I have absolutely no use for cultural guardians – the kind who put warning stickers on CDs, rail endlessly about movie violence, and blame mass shootings on Marilyn Manson – and the tired right wing tactic of campaigning in the sticks by condemning Hollywood as the epicenter of our societal collapse is pure rube-baiting. It takes an awful lot to make me sympathetic to any such arguments. But for the individuals who decided that it would be a good idea to sign a petition to "free Polanski" – free him, like he's Nelson Mandela or some prisoner of conscience – could not possibly be more out of touch with whatever passes for the average American these days. I want to punch myself just for using the phrase "out of touch with…the average American" but I can't think of a more accurate way to state the sentiment. We lack experiential evidence that celebrities live on another planet (unless you happen to be a celebrity, of course. Are you? Don't famous people have more important people to read than me?) but this fiasco provides the next best thing in circumstantial evidence. These people really don't see anything, well, disgusting about publicly supporting a guy who was just arrested for banging a kid. Note that we're not talking about a private phone call to support their old friend Roman; no, they're speaking out publicly against this heinous miscarriage of justice.

I honestly can't figure out which is stronger evidence of their lack of judgment: that they personally support a child rapist or that they thought it would be a good idea to go on camera and talk about it. There's regular stupid, which we assume all celebrities to be, and there's ridiculous, cartoonish over-the-top obliviousness to the world around them. Doesn't their money buy them agents, publicists, lawyers, and other self-interested parties who are compensated well to stand guard between those two points?