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6 Ways Liberal Celebrities Can Make a Difference

Mark Duplass deserves some sort of an award.

The indie titan behind HBO’s “Togetherness” and the co-star of FX’s “The League” did something few other stars attempt these days. He went on a conservative talk show to listen. And learn.

He didn’t even appear to have a product to plug!

Duplass’ extended chat with conservative podcaster Steven Crowder proved enlightening, occasionally funny and never mean-spirited. The actor/director sincerely wanted to reach across the aisle in a way rarely done these days.

Mission more than accomplished.

Duplass and Crowder locked horns over President Donald Trump, celebrity activism, immigration and more. You could sense where each stood, and it’s likely few opinions got flipped. And yet Duplass probably walked away with, at the very least, a better understanding of what the average conservative thinks.

Which brings us to Kristen Bell. The star of CBS’s “The Good Place” and the upcoming “CHiPs” film recently defended her fellow stars for their political activism.

“So I’m not a citizen anymore because I’m an actor? F*** that,” Bell said during a conversation at the inaugural BE Conference, a gathering of influential women in Austin, Texas…

“I’m not any less allowed to share what I believe, and I’m very lucky for that and to have the audience. When people are listening you don’t quiet down, you speak up,” Bell said to applause.

She’s correct … on paper.

No one is saying she, or any other celebrity, doesn’t have a right to speak out. It still begs two significant questions:

  • Will doing so hurt their careers?
  • Are they actually having an impact with their rhetoric?

The first is up for debate, although anecdotally speaking some consumers have had enough with the constant proselytizing.

The second is growing more clear. They appear to be having the opposite effect. Besides, no other politician had Hollywood on their side quite like Hillary Clinton did in the waning days of the campaign.

And remember the results?

So how should celebrities push forward without losing their voice? Far be it from me, a conservative film critic, to offer the “other team” advice. Still, in the spirit of Duplass’ outreach here are six ways Hollywood can improve its political activism.

Pull a Duplass

Duplass could have appeared on MSNBC, Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” or The Young Turks. The conversation would cover the expected ground. Few minds would change as a result. So what’s the point?

Why not appear on right-leaning shows to share your political views? Many hosts, like Crowder and Hugh Hewitt, would welcome the exchange. Crowder was aggressively polite to Duplass.

FAST FACT: Brothers Jay and Mark Duplass signed a two-year deal with HBO in 2017 to create TV product for the network.

Did any conservative listeners come away from the Crowder/Duplass debate thinking the liberal actor was a jerk? Seems darn near impossible. Instead, they heard an open dialogue as well as a perspective they may not hear in such context.

So let’s make this the new normal. Let Rob Reiner appear on Dana Loesch’s radio show. Bell could drop by with Dennis Prager or Michael Medved.

Let’s talk. Openly. And listeners can decide who has the better argument.

[Fill in the Blank] Isn’t Hitler

The “Trump is Hitler” meme began in Hollywood circles long before the reality show star become our Commander in Chief. That’s not good … or healthy.

Once upon a time, playing the Hitler card got you thrown out of the debate. Today, it’s too often a starting point for liberal celebrities.

Stop. No one on the right will take you seriously after you deal that card. No one. The same goes for other political adjectives, like “fascist.” Liberals have been calling conservatives fascists for years. It’s not a way to change any minds.

Debate, Don’t Lecture

Ever wonder why stars love to get political while making acceptance speeches? It’s easy. There’s no one there to rebut their arguments. The crowd of like-minded souls in the venue will applaud. News reporters, who unabashedly lean left, will dub the rants “brave.”

Only a few conservative pundits and social media denizens will call them out. And those barbs likely never reach the stars in question.

So do more than serve up one-sided lectures. Seek out forums where your views will be challenged, be it online, in podcast form or other venues. And be ready to back up your facts.

Love Trump Hate? Now, Live It

It might be the most shopworn phrase of the Trump Era. “Love trumps hate!” It’s what many a progressive activist cries … in between slamming their opponents.

Look at Jimmy Kimmel. The most recent Oscars host shared a heartfelt plea for unity during his Academy Awards monologue. Then, minutes later, he accused President Trump of being a racist.

Huh?

It’s like a punk rock band telling us to come together as people and then barking “f*** Trump” later in the show.

You won’t get anywhere blasting your opponents as the very worst of humanity. A few may be just that. The rest, a rather large group, simply have a different governing philosophy. Period.

No More PSAs. Really

There’s nothing more smug than a celebrity cutting a PSA to tell you how to vote. And think.

The tropes are well established. The serious looks. The makeup-free appearance. The attempts at comedy betwixt nasty attacks. The repetitive phrasing. The simplistic lectures. The spare backdrop.

Smug, smug smug. And hopelessly unconvincing.

Which means the stars should stop making them. Why even bother? They instantly become fodder for uproarious Twitter memes. And it’s just more preaching to the choir.

Grow Up

Sounds nasty, right? Did you read some of the celebrity comments post-election?

Now, that’s nasty. And it’s hard to take someone seriously after hearing those kind of comments.

Drop the nasty. This is still America. We have checks and balances that can keep any president, even an out of control one, from overstepping his or her bounds. Speak with clarity, intelligence and wit. Tantrums are for children.


Now, perhaps none of the above will be well received in Hollywood circles. Comments made by liberal celebrities could simply be a way of lashing out or offering insta-therapy.

Then have at it.

But, if stars truly want to change a heart or mind, maybe more than a few, these six steps are a great place to start.

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38 Comments

  1. I have to admit I can’t get past someone attacking me and my beliefs with such rabid hatred. There’s honestly no way someone could walk that back for me, be they an entertainer or not and my threshold for what’s forgivable is shrinking everyday. Even if they changed and were sincere in their approach and willingness to listen and talk I wouldn’t believe them and wouldn’t bother.

    1. I believe in returning the treatment you get. If a leftist tries to debate civilly and politely, they deserve polite civil debate in return, provided they treat civil debate from our side with equal respect. The advice in this article is good for both sides, unfortunately I expect few on the left to heed this advice, and until they do they deserve no more civility that they are willing to return. At the very least though, conservatives and libertarians can try and be civil to each other, an ethic I have noticed a lot of online trumpies dont believe in. They are apt to use the very same take no prisoners Alinski style they use against leftists, who deserve it, against other non Trump conservatives, who do not deserve it.

    2. There’s honestly no way someone could walk that back for me, be they an entertainer or not and my threshold for what’s forgivable is shrinking everyday.

      I have to disagree with you on this, at least for me. Mind you, they WOULD have to “walk it back”, i.e. REPENT. Whether or not I would forgive them does not, hopefully, depend upon whether or not they repent of their behavior. But whether or not I’ll give them the time of day, i.e. “fellowship” with them in any way, THAT does depend on their behavior.

  2. Why not try telling them to grow two inches taller? That would be easier for them to do than moderate their animosity.

  3. The trouble is that they’re surrounded by yes-men. They’re ‘stars’, celebrities, and people defer to them because of their status – or the status that their more iconic characters actually have.

    After a while, this gets them to thinking they’re really special, and smarter than the ‘average joe’. So to them their opinions become very important and darn near infallible. At that point – how DARE anyone disagree! They’re important!

    Frankly, a lot of them don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground on anything more complicated than reading a script.

    1. When literally EVERYONE you meet introduces themselves as “I love your work”, eventually you’ll turn into an 18 year old girl with large breasts.

      1. I always remember the scene in “Team America” as being the most accurate assessment of Hollywood’s (and Congress’) celebrity-making process. Never forget that most men on that screen have done something similar, or equally debauched, to gain entrance into the elite. They are not worthy of our attention when it comes to truth.

    2. Same phenomena happens with congressmen. Everyone-lobbyists, government bureacrats defending their budgets, is kissing their a$$ and telling them they’re wonderful, brilliant, insightful blah blah blah…. hard to stay grounded.

  4. I’m finding myself having a really really hard time getting excited enough about any of the movies coming out to actually go out and go to them. Normally, I’d make it a point to see Kong: Skull Island, but there are too many in that movie who were complete jackasses after the election. Beauty and the Beast would be interesting if it hadn’t been restructured into being all about social virtue signaling, pass.

    To much rubbing me the wrong way Hollywood. When your ENTIRE livelihood consists of convincing someone to give you money for your performance, MAYBE, JUST MAYBE screaming at us about what awful human beings we are is a BAD IDEA.

    I’m just gonna stay home. Go to HELL Hollywood.

  5. Sorry, I just can’t get worked up about what a coastal millionaire with an eighth grade education thinks about anything. Or maybe that’s just Barbra Streisand.

  6. I’ve been a huge Joss Whedon fan since Buffy. Loved what he contributed to the Marvel Universe, Firefly, Doctor Horrible.

    But his latest outbursts have made me kinda hate him. It’s not so much that I’ll boycott his films or TV shows. It’s just that his vile personality would suck all the fun out of watching his work.

    Something broke with Joss after he screwed up “Age of Ultron.” He bet the ranch that Disney would come crawling back to him, and instead they found other directors who learned from Whedon and built upon his work. Just as Joss learned from Stan Lee, Jim Shooter and the other Marvel talents.

    When Joss lashes out at Trump supporters, he’s actually attacking America which has moved on from him.

    1. It’s not so much that I’ll boycott his films or TV shows. It’s just that his vile personality would suck all the fun out of watching his work.

      This is such an excellent way to put it. I have less of a reaction to Whedon’s work because he’s behind the scenes and is not seen in his actual work.

      The person I think of most is Sean Penn. I think it’s fair to say that Sean Penn is an exceptional actor, but his over the top antics and obvious hatred of people who share my political beliefs make it hard to suspend disbelief when seeing him on screen. He’s made himself and his personal persona so well known it’s hard to see anything other than him on screen. I can still enjoy some of his work, but typically when I see him, I’m not interested because I see him and not the character he’s trying to portray. This is too bad because he is such a fine actor.

      As you say, his vile personality has sucked whatever fun I had watching his exceptional portrayals of characters in movies.

      1. Here’s the thing to remember about actors – their greatest talent is believing something that just isn’t so. When they’re in a Burbank WB studio that has been dressed to look like the Antarctic, they BELIEVE they’re actually freezing to death. And they convince others of the fantasy.

        Nothing wrong with that. Make-believe is fine. IF YOU KNOW TO STOP BELIEVING AFTER THE DIRECTOR YELLS “WRAP”.

        That’s why they believe so many things that are ridiculous. It’s their training.

      2. Honestly I have mixed feelings about Penn. He’s an idiot– but he actually does show up at some disasters and try and help. Often ineptly, but he’s willing to go hands on and do things, where a lot of actors are all talk.
        Too proud to come out and admit he was wrong about things like Venezuela…

        1. Too proud to come out and admit he was wrong about things like Venezuela…

          You are being charitable to grant that he may have realized that he’s wrong about Venezuela. Perhaps he has, or maybe he’s still hanging onto the dream….

    2. It was too much for me even if his input was somewhat removed, Agents of SHIELD is off the DVR and into the trash. Buh- Bye!

  7. Why on Earth would they try to win hearts and minds through honest debate, when they can simply continue preaching over every news, entertainment, and educational channel in the country? Half the reason they never consider that somebody could have another perspective or opinion is because they were raised in the same system they’re promoting, where only the Party’s approved ideas are allowed to be discussed.

  8. “No one is saying she, or any other celebrity, doesn’t have a right to speak out. It still begs two significant questions:”

    3. Do they have any freaking clue what they’re talking about?

    Kristen Bell says that when people are listening it’s time to “speak up”, but she misses the fact that you have to have something worthwhile to say, not just ramble your most ignorant, divisive, inflammatory opinions.

    Ms. Bell, the more people in your audience, the louder your megaphone, the more responsibility you have to say things that actually enlighten, not rabble-rouse or misinform.

    The world has too many demagogues already, and most of them are just as sure of their own correctness and righteousness as Ms. Bell is about her own activism.

    Plato allegedly said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”

    1. So many celebrities don’t get a chiseled in stone fact. They are not in the acting business, or the music business. They are in the POPULARITY business. No matter how great they act, or sing, or play, when they say something stupid that turns off fans, the fans vote with their wallet. I sure do.

  9. I expect my artists to have stupid politics; I don’t expect them to have a solid connection to reality. But it would be nice if they would shut up about their stupid politics and if the media would quit acting like their opinions are important because they’re famous.

    Just because someone sticks a microphone in your face doesn’t mean you have something to say.

    1. Very astute comment. I assume artists are liberal, and I can deal with it. I don’t care; Then they open their mouths.

  10. haven’t set foot in a theater in over 30 years and never will. don’t watch entertainment tv or any programming on abc, cbs, nbc, or fox. pro sports, screw them too.
    I am older than the majority of the loud mouths out there but will gladly step up to teach them a lesson their parents never did.

  11. “So I’m not a citizen anymore because I’m an actor? F*** that,” Bell said during a conversation at the inaugural BE Conference, a gathering of influential women in Austin, Texas…

    “I’m not any less allowed to share what I believe, and I’m very lucky for that and to have the audience. When people are listening you don’t quiet down, you speak up,” Bell said to applause.

    Uh huh. Here’s the problem, sweetie. You’re a citizen with a bigger megaphone than most. You have that megaphone because of…I guess…your acting talents, or at least your fame as an actress. Not because you have political opinions that are any more informed, interesting or relevant than any of us without your megaphone. We’re not interested in your political pronouncements…or putting it another way, we’re precisely as interested in your opinions as you are in all of ours.

    And when you use your megaphone and Kool Kidz status to imply that you are more informed, more moral, more “aware,” more virtuous than the rest of us, well you just look ridiculous. Because we know you’re just an entertainer, not a sage. And when you insult us, well…you don’t seem to be reacting well to criticism either, so I guess you might be able to understand that we don’t like being insulted by pretty faced entertainers who reveal themselves as ignorant of our beliefs, dismissive of our convictions and so engulfed in Kool Kidz hive mind that you literally cannot see anything but the fashionable political trends of the moment.

    In short, you are abusing your fame. It was earned by entertaining, not moralizing, thinking or philosophizing. Pretending otherwise is annoying, and to the extent you’re throwing out insults, offensive. We’ll judt ignore it until you disl it up. Then we’ll lash back. Don’t be surprised by that.

  12. The video is like a parody. It makes me smile to think about how all those celebrities were feeling in the wee hours of Nov. 9.

  13. I was reading a biography of Beyoncé, which was quite interesting. She is a really hard-working, tightly scheduled person.

    The thought occurs to me that I actually spend a few hours a day becoming informed about world affairs. Beyoncé simply doesn’t have this luxury. The fact she has such a big megaphone is also why there is no way she will have anything meaningful to say. She simply doesn’t have the time to formulate a sound opinion so all she can do is mouth cliches. No wonder she is a leftist – it’s spoon fed to her and there is no need for her to even digest it.

    So if you want worthwhile political dialog, it’s pretty simple: the last place you will find it is from a celebrity. For obvious reasons.

  14. They have a right to speak their mind, and a duty to remember that their microphone has unbridled power compared to the voiceless masses who pay their salary. There is a difference for celebrity and if they don’t like it, they can whine to their therapist for $1,000/hr. but they can step off on the political posturing, lecturing, and threats. And, for the record, all Conservative hosts are overly-polite because what we have always wanted is the give-and-take that brings about something better for both. The Left never wants that, because it belies their agenda or just plain faulty logic. Easier to shout “Hitler!” and thus prove what most think anyway: celebrities are dancing monkeys that should get out there and dance…and keep their mouths shut.

  15. I think the underlying key is everyone needs to be humble enough to admit they might be wrong sometimes and there also may be more than one reasonable solution to a problem.

    1. Agreed but people also need to see beyond themselves for example all these cuts to social programs to me is a bad idea due to the simple fact that many people will need them at some point. The fact is you might believe that it can never be you but it could easily be you all it takes is 1 car crash 1 illness etc and for many it’ll be all they have.
      I have a disability but I work hard and contribute to the world in my tiny way however as much as I hate it I have to come to terms with the fact that at some point my disability will stop me from working among other things. Of course I have family but they can only do so much and at some point it’s going to be too much. But I am lucky because many don’t even have that your thoughts my friend??

      1. To me the issue is not whether there should be some social safety net programs but how should they be structured and who should be the primary beneficiaries. In this area many honorable people can have honest disagreements. If we understand that there will be trade offs because resources will be finite and every good idea has its pros and cons then there is a chance at crafting a well thought policy.

        The current problem is too many on both sides really but most notably on the left will not listen to what others say or their concerns. Also, too often the policy choices are presented as take or leave it options delivered by someone with delusions of deity, not as a proposal to be discussed, reviewed, modified to make it better.

        As far as disability, there are two main parts to the problem. Some can productively work if they can find an appropriate position. This may require some retraining which will cost someone money. Others can not realistically work and must survive on various pensions, disability payments, etc. again there is a monetary cost to someone. Many disabled come from modest backgrounds and their family may be able to provide limited support and more crucially may lack the training to properly care for certain disabilities. This is an area where I think many who create programs do not discuss with the disabled and their families what are the real issues they are facing and need addressing. To ask is to show a degree of humility that one does needs to learn from the source not a book or lecture. One can not solve a problem if one does not understand it and understanding a problem takes hard, grunt work to get the information. I do not know your situation other than you can currently work but I know several disabled people with very different problems; problems which have very different “solutions” if one can say they can be solved. A typical bureaucratic program usually fails some because they square pegs that do not fit into the round hole.

        1. Thanks for getting back to me and seeing where I am coming from,the huge issue is many people whether left,right center whatever are too willing to dogmatic extremes to the point where things have become totally abstructive and toxic. The current presidents flaws to put it mildly are making it worse and it isn’t helped that all sides are willing to throw massive nation wide tantrums to get their way
          I am the first to admit that while Ada has helped many it is far from flawless but the dark sad truth is you can try to reform something all you want but if the thing you are trying to reform has absolutely no interest in it and has the power to torpedo it

          Lastly what about the government plans for deep cuts is that it lacks a level of compassion understanding and arrogance in my opinion someone told me once that in the battle of theory vs reality reality almost always wins. For example I know this is a complex issue that might never be totally solved but you can’t stop terrorism by out killing it and enacting overly broad plans that leave things open to abuse or discrimination I am a child of refugees who had to deal with this but we can dig deeper later. Also as a disabled person the biggest issue or 1 of them is as a population we are ignored and looked down on I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard you have gotten x why do you need z your useless a leech etc. please share your thoughts as soon as possible you always have thoughtful answers I hope to hear from you soon

          1. The problem for the disabled is the causes are so varied. At times what is best for one type of disability is bad for another; talk about a possible no-win situation for a company. Also, many disabled look at first glance healthy as they are no in any obvious pain or impairment. Also, to understand the issues facing someone requires a willingness to listen and mull over what you learned which require true empathy and compassion.

            I am concerned about the budget cuts but I am more irritated at those who wish to virtue signal without actually doing anything to help. Part of the issue with the mouthy Hollywood “stars” is too many virtue signal about the current hot topics while ignoring the more pervasive problems facing people that will always be present. It seems as if they are more interested polar bears than people.

  16. One big thing they could do is stop putting their not-inconsiderable wealth toward electing statists and promoting Der Staat, but just donate that money to the poor and “disadvantaged” they have such vaunted “compassion” for. If the Hollywood Left pooled their financial resources with the Park Avenue Pinkos and Darth Soros, and gave it to poor people, we wouldn’t need Welfare State.
    “I remember when ‘liberal’ meant being generous with your own money.”–Will Rogers.

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