Thursday, October 21, 2004

Fame as an Argument

Thanks for the Memory to Vultures Row. My friend Scott over there has issued an Open Letter to Matt Damon, in response to the former Mrs. Afleck's offer to pay someone one million dollars to get John Kerry into the White House.

I was going to leave Scott a comment repeating my policy on political statements by celebrities, but instead I've decided to repeat it here, and then expound on it. The Memento Moron policy statement on celebrity activism is stated thus:

I fail to see any valid reason to attach added credence to the opinion of someone whose chief source of income is derived from speaking words someone else thought of for them, simply because that income is large or affords them acclaim.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that celebrities don't have a right to their opinions, nor am I objecting to their use of their celebrity status as a platform to express those opinions. The Bully Pulpit is, well, as the name implies, bully -- in the T.R. sense of the word. Heck, that's what I'm doing in miniature by blogging. No, if you can get more people to listen to you because they like your movies, more power to ya! Nor am I even saying that celebrities are incapable of having intelligent opinions. Not of necessity, that is, though many are.

What I'm saying is that while their celebrity affords them a broader venue for their opinions, it does not automatically confer validity upon those opinions. Fine. Matt Damon believes thus. Why should I believe thus also? Just because Matt Damon does? Please. that's the logical fallacy known as appeal to authority, and it's a piss-poor authority at that. No, if a celebrity is going to use their fame to be heard, they'd darn well better be prepared to deliver a rational, cogent, logical argument for their position. If they do, I'll listen, consider, and decide. But as long as they offer their celebrity as a rationale for their argument, I'm not buying.