Stars off the Cuff: Yuck

The left has used entertainment celebrities as spokesmen for years, and for good reason. Tightly scripted and expertly packaged, they advance public policy initiatives far more effectively than do Washington wonks. But what happens when those stars are left to their own devices, to speak (and think) for themselves, to give the world their expert opinions on the issues of the day? Flip through some recent issues of the celebrity magazines and judge for yourself.

Ask a rock star to conduct a political interview and you get what you pay for. In the March 6 Rolling Stone, English singer Morrissey, interviewing Joni Mitchell, brought up Ross Perot. "I find him a truly magnetic figure... I find his speeches extraordinary and compulsive," Morrissey began, and then the searing insight: "Is he jeered because he's small?"

Celebrity inconsistency, and illogic, can be remarkable. Neve (Neve?) Campbell, of Fox's "Party of Five," said in a February 8 TV Guide cover story that she apologized to actress Tori Spelling for a cutting comment Campbell's character made about Spelling in the movie "Scream." How very, very sensitive to the concerns of others. Well, not everyone, actually. In the same interview Campbell stated that last season she "was extremely excited, because it turned out [her 'POF' character, Julia] was going to be the first lead character in a TV drama" to have an abortion. (Eventually, the network overruled the show's producers, dictating that Julia have a miscarriage instead. It could have been worse, I suppose. She could have had a baby.)

The subject of religion often elicits remarks that trigger 8s or better on the Geiger counter of stupidity. Asked in the March issue of US magazine, "How did your growing up in a strict Baptist household inform your idea of religion?" actress Anne Heche ("Donnie Brasco") responded, "It made me think that organized religion is legalized segregation." What? Then there's actor Jared Leto ("Prefontaine"), to whom a series of either/or questions was put in the March issue of Details. Leto replied to the query "Jesus or Satan?" with "Definitely Satan. He's so much cooler."

Liberal actor Alec Baldwin, for whom spouting off politically is a virtual second career, was at it again in the February US. Asked to forecast what Bill Clinton's second term will bring, Baldwin cooed, "The people who run the Republican Party in this country are really rotten, nasty, horrible human beings and they want to hurt him. They want to bash him; they're pissed. The forces of darkness are going to try to give it to him bad." Does this make Satan and Jared Leto... Republicans?

Now if you think Baldwin has a mean streak, you've not been listening to the blather of George Carlin. For sheer venom, this crackpot takes the prize. Once a genuinely funny standup comedian, Carlin has spent the past decade and a half not making people laugh, but rather foaming at the mouth about the most nefarious influences in society: religion and business. As he stated in the March/April Mother Jones, "The two big mistakes [are] the belief?that there's a man in the sky with ten things he doesn't want you to do and you'll burn for a long time if you do them?and private property, which I think is at the core of our failure as a species."

"I like Bill [Clinton], by the way," Carlin also said. "If there were only one cherry pie in the world, and Bill Clinton owned it, I might get a piece of it. If Bush or Reagan owned it, you'd have to kill them to get a piece of pie." Obviously, Carlin hasn't seen America's First Appetite in action.

Towards the end of the interview, Carlin brings out (and literally advocates) the heavy artillery: "I'd like for people to feel better and have better lives, but I don't think that's in the cards through political action. I think bloodshed is still the way you get dramatic change. That'll never happen because they've got all the guns now." The interviewer interjects, "You sound like one of the Freemen," to which Carlin answers that if not "for the racism and religious orientation of these militiamen, I very much like the spirit involved there."

Oh, boy. Conservative radio talkers like Rush Limbaugh were absurdly, hysterically, and dishonestly accused of having inspired the Oklahoma City bombing with their rhetoric. Now a prominent leftist celebrity tells a prominent leftist magazine that he's a fan of militia violence - and evokes no reaction. But that's because Carlin is wise and learned, and beyond reproach. He's a Hollywood Celebrity. And we dutifully wag our tails and go ga-ga.