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Editorial: Musicians In The Political Realm

posted July 1, 2015, 3:19 pm by madelainej | Filed Under Editorial | comment Leave a Comment

What right do popular musicians have in the political realm? And why should we give their opinion credence? In answer to the first question, I suppose they have just as much right as anyone else. But why does it seem the opinion of celebrities matters more than the average person? Why should politicians care what Bono thinks or Lady Gaga? To be honest I don’t think politicians care for much beyond public opinion and the almighty dollar. But they put on a good show, don’t they? Recently, Bono met Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa about maternal and child health aid in Africa and elsewhere.

Part of me is happy celebrities like Bono aren’t spending their time swimming in a vault full of hundred dollar bills, but another part of me wonders how informed musicians are on world affairs and how much we should trust their opinions. I feel it is an old world mind set to believe other countries require help from the western world, and shows the remnants of colonial endeavours. I think it presumptuous to offer help where it has not been asked for, and until the question has been put forward, countries, politicians and celebrities should not try to ‘fix’ so called ‘problems’ in other countries. But if the call for aid has been sent, why should musicians bare arms answering such a call?

I also find it problematic that celebrities feel they need to either use their stardom to sway popular opinion and politicians to their beliefs, or use publicity in order to increase their own popularity caring little for the cause they are representing. Somehow, actions of celebrities seem more sincere when there isn’t a paparazzi crowd surrounding them to report about their kind endeavours to save the world. Why isn’t the support of normal citizens enough to sway political opinion? I feel some celebrities are so divorced from the normalcy most of us face in life everyday, it is difficult to trust their support for a cause they are so far removed from. But they have as much right as anyone to support any cause of their choosing, they are citizens of somewhere after all.

Perhaps, what it really comes down to is if the ends justify the means and should we consider intent. If the ends justify the means, then celebrity and stardom should be used shameless to promote not only musicians but also the cause they are supporting. We should ignore any money put towards paying musicians at a charity concert, we should ignore the pampering celebrities receive while millions within their home country are homeless and starving let alone the many who suffer worldwide. We should only look at how their stardom has helped a cause, how their concert raised money for UNICEF and other organizations. But if we look towards the intent of the musicians, we may find a very different story therein.

I question motives, especially ones which require reporters. If musicians and celebrities really wanted to make a difference couldn’t they donate millions towards practical aids, instead of giving concerts? Couldn’t they quietly supply funds to organizations without the media circus? If they sincerely wanted to help, shouldn’t they do so without the benefit of increased popularity and album sales? Perhaps musicians like Bono, already do such things and have found it more effective to have a media circus, to brand themselves with organizations like UNICEF. But at the end of the day aren’t they marketing themselves as much the organization they support?


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