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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:

  1. Americans care (way too much) about celebrities and many Americans are influenced by the thoughts, actions, and beliefs of their favorite celebrities.
  2. 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 . . .

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Anonymous #

    I don't really care that much about celebrities but I noticed when I told someone I know that the celebrity that he liked was a vegan I noticed he became very interested. So it started me thinking what if I posted daily bulletins on my page on myspace which I would call Quote Of The Day. Each day I would have a different celebrity speak out on varisous animal cruelties like this one……

    "I turned down Prince William's invitation for me to sing at his birthday bash because he was spearing animals in Africa and bringing publicity to it, and I thought that was pretty disgusting! "

    – Pink

    Oh and of course I have to add my 2 cents…..

    I was really hurt to hear that Prince William could have such hate in his heart for animals especially since his mother, Princess Diana, was the exacted opposite.

    "Her silent activities for the well-being of animals go far beyond the initiative of her former father-in-law, Prince Phillip," says Silke Berenthal of PeTA. (Prince Phillip was the first member of British royalty in this century who spoke out against the killing of leopards for their fur).

    When clothes were designed for the Princess, the designers were never left in any doubt that fur, even as a decoration, would not be acceptable. Princess Diana was a vegetarian and among other things was responsible for unforgettable banquets such as the 17-course meatless dinner served by the British Embassy during her first visit to the United States in her honor. She also annoyed the royal family by refusing to take part in hunting expeditions. She could not condone the hurting or killing of animals.

    Quote Of The Day… has turned out to be a big hit. Even meat eaters have been telling me they like reading them and I thought they would just get sick of hearing about the evils of meat being quoted to them from celebrities almost everyday. There a strange breed I will never understand them….lol

    Laura Lee

    December 24, 2006

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