Ordinarily I wouldn’t go out of my way to chastise celebrities for articulating an opinion. In fact, I believe that artists were meant to express themselves and that they are capable of shaping insights in ways that enable people to relate. Contrary to the censorious right-wingers who reduce artists to court jesters whose only value is to amuse, I support the rights and obligations of all people to exercise their freedom of speech – even artists who are often the best at doing so.
However, the uber-conservative magazine Human Events posted another typical rightist paean to the “shut up and sing” nonsense practiced by society’s self-appointed defenders of virtue and approved thought. Their slate of “The Eight Most Irritating Liberal Celebrities” contains some of the brightest and most charitable people in the entertainment business, including in descending order:
- Robert Redford
- Matt Damon
- Al Gore
- Janeane Garofalo
- Joy Behar
- Michael Moore
- Rosie O’Donnell
- Roger Ebert
Suffice it to say that Human Events took liberties with the facts. They disparaged these fine, talented people with innuendo and misrepresented their positions and thoughts. They resorted to juvenile insults akin to calling people dumb or fat. They even mocked Ebert’s recent bout with cancer.
Since these are some of the most popular public figures of the day, America doesn’t seem to agree with the folks at Human Events. The irony of that is made clearer when you compare them their counterparts on the right. And therefore, I give you my list of…
The Eight Most Irritating Conservative Celebrities:
This hybrid actor/pundit’s career was literally built on his being irritating (Bueller?). In the years following that electrifying debut, Stein escalated the breadth of his annoying personality to embrace a free market fantasy that revealed the shallowness of his reputed expertise in economics. Throw in a heap of sexism and a willingness to whore himself out as a spokesperson for disreputable credit schemes and you have a recipe for chronic distemper.
Gibson demonstrated his theatrical gifts early in his career. His roles in “The Year of Living Dangerously” and “Mad Max” proved he could tackle depth, action, and humor. Unfortunately, his filmography after that became an almost non-stop succession of vengeance, violence, and scenery chomping as a stand-in for emoting. But what’s worse was his submersion into cultist Christianity and anti-Antisemitism. Nothing is quite as irritating as overt hate-speech.
Having to watch this no-talent hack embarrass himself through his atrocious movies is bad enough. But having to endure him on the campaign trail is just cruel. His lame attempts to portray Mike Huckabee as a superhero fell as flat as the notion of himself still claiming that mantle despite his advanced age and decrepitude.
What can I say? Baldwin was never not irritating. He built on that reputation by starring in unreality shows and begging for donations to “restore” himself from bankruptcy. Clearly Stephen’s brothers hogged all the talent in the family and selfishly left him a miserable loser and a wretched failure. Come to think of it, he may be more pathetic than irritating.
This one-hit wonder has managed to keep his name in the papers by having a very public feud with his more famous (and more talented) daughter, Angelina Jolie, and by drinking the Glenn Beck Kool-Aid by the gallon. With a prominent ignorance of history and government, Voight still mouths off about socialist conspiracies and Constitutional abuses that exist only his Beck-infected brain.
One of the saddest stories in the entertainment world is the tale of the once promising newcomer who winds up a pathetic has-been and resorts to desperately grasping for attention by any means he can muster. Even if it means becoming a toady for the likes of Bill O’Reilly and dressing up as a born again neo-con. Miller’s new persona is devoutly conservative, but he retains his penchant for indecipherably obscure references. Listening to him is like sitting through a Xenophanic allocution on Byzantine incandescence.
Approaching the nadir of irritatability is the Motor City Jackass himself. Nugent has become a cartoonish proponent of guns and animal massacre. His rants against government spending and social welfare are high decibel testimonials to selfishness and coldhearted disinterest in anyone less fortunate than he is. During the 2008 campaign Nugent brandished machine guns on stage and made obscene threats directed at Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. His behavior crossed the line from irritating to abusive, hostile, and unconscionably grotesque.
If the editors at Human Events want to get into this battle they first need to explain how they can criticize the left for embracing their Hollywood allies, while simultaneously latching on to their own decidedly less talented batch of elitists. They ought to think twice before provoking a “Battle of the Irritating Stars.” when they have a far more annoying roster of vexatious celebrities. And it is notable that most of their idols are rejects who have no current career opportunities save for appearances on Fox News and at Tea Parties.
[Update] Tim Graham, the Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, has posted a response to this article at NewsBusters. He took a shot at me, referring to News Corpse as a “vicious media-criticism website.” I regard this as a compliment considering the source. NewsBusters is the model for vicious media-criticism websites.