Richard Crooks's Website

You're Not Annoyed By Celebrities

Every time there's an election, people on social media are very annoyed that celebrities have political opinions, and say their political opinions in ways that are publicly disseminated. They’d like us to believe that isn't it so annoying how celebrities actually have opinions about stuff! People will say why don't they stick to playing music, pretending to be superman, kicking balls, or other stuff celebrities do.

There's a problem with this sort of moaning, that is there's a massive amount of hypocrisy and jealousy to it.

What are you saying about Lily Allen when you say she's a music performer and should shut up about politics. Well you're a binman/computer repairer/professor of medicine, what honestly do you know about the effect of immigration policy on the economy? Or taxation policy on government revenue? Or the effect of public transport policy on the environment? Or the effect of healthcare system organization on health outcomes?

You probably no more or less than Lily Allen quite frankly.

But do you never talk about politics with your friends? Do you go to the pub and never discuss what you think about the latest budget and how it affects your finances? Sure, you might not do, but most of the people moaning about celebrity opinions are also politically engaged, so I doubt they keep quiet about their non-expert political opinions.

Ah they say, but Lily Allen lives in a bubble! Yeah, she does, so do you, so do I. The lived experience of a white middle class person from suburbia is going to be different from that of a working class black woman from Hackney or from a white rural farmer. Seriously, if you're middle class youngster and are looking for a summer job, don't get daddy to find you a part time job at his insurance company, go and work in a warehouse. Meet people who are different to you and talk to them and together we might understand each other's concerns a bit more.

What this really is is jealousy. People for some reason care what Lily Allen says more than they care what I say. I'm writing this on the train to get bagels in the full knowledge that no one will read it. Lily Allen on the other hand writes a tweet and thousands of people see it. Yeah, being jealous is perfectly reasonable, most people would love to have a platform of people listening to them as large as Lily Allen does, just stop pretending it's anything other than jealousy.

Also people moan about celebrities having political opinions only when they disagree with them. So Lily Allen is a left wing airy fairy snowflake who should shut up because brexit isn't music? Okay, great, what is Ringo Starr then? He's a drummer in a band, yes, he's a far more successful musician who has been involved in the music industry far longer than Lily Allen, but he's still a musician, he’s not an international relations expert either. Why do you think he should publicly voice his opinions about brexit, something which he is not a specialist in? Same goes for the likes of Geoffrey Boycott, no one moans he should stick to hitting a ball like they say about David Beckham kicking a ball.

No, it's just jealousy, people with large platforms who have political opinions that disagree with mine should shut up is all this is. Stop concern trolling about how they don't really know what they're talking about. We all know that, just like you don't, Roger Daltry doesn't, I don't, Rio Ferdinand doesn't. Perhaps if you paid attention to the opinions of people who really did know what they were talking about you might have a point. But considering public health experts during the Covid-19 pandemic have been sidelined by large swathes of the public who also think uniformed celebrities they disagree with should stay quiet, it’s fairly clear it’s not about expertise either.

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