United States culture has been interesting in the past few years. Just when it seems the cultural landscape can’t get any crazier, it does. As the crazy trends continue, there is no shortage of people who voice their opinion. Be it a layman like myself, a professional in that area, or a politician, there is plenty of noise. However, there is one group of people who often comment and perhaps should not: celebrities.
In recent weeks current events within America has caused many celebrities to voice their opinion. Some have taken to Twitter; some go on talk-shows, some who are not even American citizens have become very vocal. Each time they speak, we should ask one question, “What is their expertise?”
In Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” he talks about the “Circle of Concern” versus the “Circle of Influence.” To quickly summarize he contrasts the two circles as, one being the many things we are concerned over. The other circle is areas where we have the credibility to influence. If then, we overreach from the Circle of Influence and try to impact things we are concerned about, we must be careful. By not having the credible influence over our concerns than our voice and areas of influence shrink than increase.
Returning to celebrities, I think their influence is primarily one where they entertain others, which is their expertise. However, their entertainment credentials do not give them instant credibility on every issue. Yes, they have a media platform, one where they create culture, but their expertise has limitations. Despite these limitations, some celebrities do have credibility on various issues.
For example, Angelina Jolie has for years been a Goodwill Ambassador for refugees. She also advocates for women and children in dangerous areas of the world. Due to her humanitarian aid, she’s credible to speak on these issues. Another celebrity example is Bono who puts his Christian faith into action by combating AIDS in Africa. These are only two celebrities of many who are credible voices because their actions match their words. Celebrities like these earn the right to be heard. These are the celebrities we should want to listen to, no matter the issue they advocate.
Now, there’s a new question, “Should we value a celebrity opinion when their actions don’t match their words?” The answer is a matter of personal preference, and I suggest we should not listen to them. At first, this position may seem harsh, but hear me out. There are a lot of voices in the world today, mine included. As a result, it is important we focus our ears towards the most qualified advocates.
As I close, I write this post carefully. I realize that a quick rebuttal to me is “Well, what’s your credibility?” It’s a fair point, and instead of defending myself I say the following: this post is my opinion. You are then free to take my suggestions, alter them to fit your needs, or flat our reject them. My hope is that my words will get you to think before taking anyone’s word at face value, no matter who speaks. Pay attention to qualified individuals or people you trust. If you’ve read this far I hope you trust me, and if so, thank-you.