Why politics and culture should be separate

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Daria London

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SAT adversity score
June 14, 2019

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nathanson


In the Trump era, everyone seems to have something to say about politics. It gets interjected into almost every aspect of entertainment: from sports to award shows even to performances and talk shows, there’s no escape.

Almost all celebrities have to get into the mix of politics, it almost seems like a requirement for celebrities to take a strong stance on something political; it can be simply hating Trump, which is what most do. But, some have actual causes about which they are passionate.

In the world of sports, Colin Kaepernick comes to mind as someone who is passionate about an issue and used his platform to bring awareness to it. Love him or hate him, he certainly was willing to lose one of the most coveted jobs in football for his protest.

Yet, it was different when Lebron James and Kevin Durant, two of the most revered athletes in sports voiced their opinions on Trump. In a nutshell, they both agreed that he is a bad president. Their comments were intensely criticized by Fox News host, Laura Ingraham.

“It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,” she said. “Keep the political comments to yourselves. … Shut up and dribble.”

Ingraham’s words may seem harsh (also everyone is entitled to their own opinion) but unlike Kaepernick, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson, who took stances on specific political issues and attempted to drive change in society and the country, James and Durant’s actions into the realm of politics is literally them saying negative things about Trump that have been repeated in the mainstream media thousands of times. So, unless Durant and James want to be productive and use their vast wealth and fame to promote a productive cause, maybe Ingraham has a valid point.

Now, Ingraham’s approach is somewhat political founded because she never told Kanye West to “Shut up and rap” when he spoke and tweeted his support for Trump and had his pointless meeting in the oval office. West explained his reasons for promoting the president as “Black people don’t have to be Democrats,” and has caused a media frenzy. Yet, West doesn’t ever really state an actual policy of Trump’s that he supports, putting him in this barrel of ignorant celebrities trying to infuse their craft into politics. So, West should probably also stick to rapping and should stay far away from the White House.

Being either against or for one of the most controversial presidents ever cannot be considered a valid political cause for celebrities. It’s ridiculous and all it shows they are able to conform to the Hollywood status quo, which seems to be saying anything outrageously anti-Trump even at the cost of ratings and the actual creativity and culture that seems to be lacking in Hollywood.

Comedy has always been somewhat related to politics but in today’s political climate almost every talk show, award show and comic bring up politics. Political candidates are even beginning to announce their runs for office on late night shows. Colbert got Kirsten Gillibrand to announce her bid for 2020 and has videos on his youtube of political figures like Kamala Harris, who now is also in the 2020 race, dancing and singing to her favorite songs in some sad forced attempt to make politicians seem relatable. From Jimmy Kimmel’s show slowly becoming a liberal news network like CNN and MSNBC to Kathy Griffin’s distasteful stunt with Trump’s severed head, the actual comedy seems to be lost. In addition, award shows, which the majority of the jokes are political. The acceptance speeches often try and squeeze in a political message. The ratings reflect the distasteful political take on comedy with some of the lowest ratings ever, like the Emmys having their lowest viewers ever last year.

Almost every well-known actor, singer and anything in between have denoted Trump’s election as the worst, the worst possible event ever. Meryl Streep, George Clooney Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Madonna and pretty much all celebrities have tried to outdo each other in their anti Trump rhetoric. Whether it is to a magazine, a talk show host or on social media, they all have almost robotically rejected him.

But, to undercover this infusion of politics and pop culture, people have to remember what pop culture is supposed to be for and that is to provide an escape into a different world, with talented entertainers that help relieve everyday stress and not focus on what is happening politically or globally. By making politics culture and culture politics, most people reject the two as pretty much the same. The same concept applies for sports, which people from many different backgrounds unite to root for a team and trying to add politics into the mix as well try and cause division. Through this concept, we would lose a fundamental aspect of society.

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