Saturday, July 17, 2004

There's a Difference Between "Consequences" and "Censorship"

Yet another celebrity whines about so-called "censorship" in America:
Elton John has said stars are scared to speak out against war in Iraq because of "bullying tactics" used by the US government to hinder free speech.
There is a difference between having "consequences" that result from speaking one's mind,  and
"censorship".  Celebrities keep making the mistake of thinking that they have the right to say anything thing they want, in any way--no matter how vile and malignant (a la Whoopi Goldberg)--and not have to deal with the consequences of their behavior!  They are in the entertainment business, for heaven's sake!  They of all people should realize that people may have negative reactions to what they say.  That what they say may result in people not wanting to buy their product or go to their movies or listen to their songs.  Freedom of speech only protects you to say what you want.  Other people's freedom of speech permits them not to listen, and if by not listening that means they won't go to your next comedy routine; or buy your next song; or stop you from representing their business; or watch you in your next movie--well, that's the price you must be willing to pay.  Many of these celebrities apparently think that if their business suffers (e.g., Slim Fast fires them as a spokesman) then there must be some government plot behind it.  If the government did indeed, try to get them fired that would be real censorship.  But, of course they have no proof of any such involvement on the part of the U.S. Government (in the case of Slim Fast, the company is known to contribute substantially to the Democatic Party--not the Republicans).  My advice is for Elton John and the other celebrity big mouths is to grow up and behave like adults.

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