can’t see the forest

Stephen King Scares Up the Vote

Posted in activism, Entertainment, Hollywood, mass media, political activist, Politics, USA by Curtis on 10/25/06

Holly Bailey at Newsweek’s The Gaggle writes:

We know Stephen King can be frightening—but can he boost voter turnout? Yesterday the horror writer sent an email to supporters of MoveOn.org, in which he asked for their participation in a series of get-out-the-vote parties the liberal group has organized on behalf of Democrats this weekend. “If I know anything, I know scary. And giving this president and this out-of-control Congress two more years to screw up our future is downright terrifying,” King wrote.

King is no newcomer to partisan campaigning, but what I want to know is: where is everyone else? King is just one among a number of positive examples; but why, in this of all times, isn’t the US flooded with artist-activists? We do have freedom of speech, you know. It warrants use. In an age when pop stars—be they writers, actors, musicians, or something-like-musicians-but-not-really—have unprecedented reach and influence among people young and old, how come so many are silent about their convictions, whatever they may be? I’m not at all fond of Michael Crichton’s literary shrieking against “environmental alarmism,” but at least he’s throwing his weight around for something he believes in, something that matters.

The answer surely isn’t a simple one, but I am certain that a huge part of it has to do with the distribution system that allows such creators to have their voices heard. That would be the corporate media. You don’t need me to connect the dots for you, of course.

There’s often a lot of talk among the stars about a reluctance to compromise artistic integrity by invoking political themes. I’m not saying that’s in all cases insincere. Well, I consider myself much more a creative type than an activist, but that doesn’t stop me from running this blog or from other activities in the field of opening minds to issues of importance. Could my willingness to contribute something, however meager, exist at least partially because I don’t have a Bentley parked in the garage courtesy of AOL/TimeWarner/Etcetera or an analog? Methinks it’s pretty obvious, not the kind of reasoning that leaves one scratching at the scalp. An established author like King, with the bulk of his incredible career behind him, might perceive himself a little nearer the light at the end of the tunnel than, say, Brad Paisley. Oh, dear.

Also, I don’t think it’s safe to discount the ivory tower effect that these megabucks entertainment contracts might sometimes have on the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Some of these people doubtless have their heads stuck so far up their respective fundaments that political involvement consisting of faceless donations to nonprofit might seem to them commensurate with their stations.

At any rate, I think we’ve seen enough of what happens when politics is left up to politicians. You don’t need the shining to understand that democracy has been hanging around the dead zone for some time now.

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6 Responses

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  1. raincoaster said, on 10/25/06 at 4:51 am

    Well Rush Limbaugh just spent three hours berating Michael J. Fox for appearing in ads supporting a Democratic candidate, and Viggo Mortensen has attended several fundraising dinners for the Democratic candidate in his hometown of Watertown, New York. Viggo, btw, has a degree in government from Saint Lawrence University in Canton, NY. I don’t know what the latin term for his grade was, but he did very, very well at school.

  2. peoplesgeography said, on 10/25/06 at 5:10 am

    Hear, hear. Just in from the feeds – you can always count on the redoubtable Barbra Streisand. A few more speaking their minds and adding their voices from across the political spectrum would be nice. Silence is golden in places like the library, but in politics it’s just yellow.

  3. peoplesgeography said, on 10/25/06 at 5:11 am

    Here’s the link if it didn’t come up properly:
    http://breakingnews.iol.ie/entertainment/story.asp?j=199436528&p=y99437z34

  4. tellitlikeitis said, on 10/27/06 at 3:13 pm

    RC, I saw a clip of Limbaugh essentially mocking the hell out of Fox and it was pretty sick, but nothing out of the ordinary for our good buddy Rush. Must be all the cigars.

    Go Viggo!

  5. tellitlikeitis said, on 10/27/06 at 5:33 pm

    I read a review of one of Streisand’s first shows on the new tour, and the reviewer was somewhat sympathetic but was also sort of sensationalizing the little political gag-bits in the show in a way that was perjorative and discouraging, or at least that’s what I got out of it. But I think it’s terrific, and I think the audiences are mostly eating it up. Of course, for most of her audience, I think one would expect that to be the case.

  6. Mary Johns said, on 1/18/07 at 1:43 am

    Google is the best search engine


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