Why I Mentioned Celebrities
Wow. Who knew the most popular hot spot among Animal Person readers would be . . . celebrities. I wrote about Ellen Degeneres, Christina Ricci, and Madonna to make two points:
- Americans care (way too much) about celebrities and many Americans are influenced by the thoughts, actions, and beliefs of their favorite celebrities.
- Fans can have an influence on celebrities. Contacting a celebrity in an attempt to influence that person can be an effective activist strategy simply because #1 is true: because celebrities influence their fans.
Our culture’s obsession with celebrity is clearly bizarre, but why not use it for a good cause when you have the opportunity? Having celebrities talk about their causes might be annoying for some people, but I’d rather listen to that than a list of who made their dress or handbag or jewelry, or who they’re involved with romantically.
And as for being hard on Ellen, I don’t think I was. I LOVE THAT WOMAN! And I’m sure her intentions were not in any way negative. However, as anyone who studies language and communication knows, your intention does not necessarily equal your result. Unfortunately, the message your audience receives IS your message–not the message you thought you sent. Ellen sends a message about using animals for entertainment. She approves. Period. (And that might have been her intention; I don’t know.)
Similarly, though Madonna doesn’t hunt any more, she sends thousands of animals to their deaths, and takes money for that pleasure, on her own property. Am I too hard on her? No chance.
It doesn’t look like our preoccupation with the lives of the rich and famous will be decreasing any time soon. We may as well work with it . . .