Friday, March 30, 2018

In Order To Lose Your Mind, You Must First Have One

One of the weird things of our era is the tendency of people on the far-left and far-right to change places.  Maybe it isn't just our era.

Rosanne Barr made headlines with her new sit-com reboot.  I never liked the original one much - it was very depressing.  In an interview, Ms. Barr claims that television never has ordinary working class families on television shows.  This may come as a surprise to the Honeymooners, the Flintstones, Drew Cary, All in the Family, Married with Children, just to name a few - all funnier than the Roseanne show ever was.

But according to Ms. Barr, she alone represented the working class on television - breaking new ground with her show.  Megalomania much?

That last point is valid, as she admits she has serious mental health issues (and apparently Tom Arnold concurs).   So it comes as no surprise, I guess, that she went from ultra-left-wing liberal, despised by the far-right, to ultra-right-wing Trump supporter, darling of the far-right. To crazy people, political views are like fashions - you take one off, and put another on.

To say that she is delusional is an understatement.   Not that she is delusional for supporting Trump.  There are perfectly rational people out there who support Trump (I have yet to meet one, however).  I suppose you could rationally believe that massive deficit spending and tax cuts for corporations and the rich - as well as trade wars - are good for the country.   Particularly if you are the owner of a steel mill, and just saw your personal taxes and your corporate taxes slashed, and protectionist barriers erected to protect your industry.   That would make sense, I guess.

But Ms. Barr still espouses liberal views, and claims that Donald Trump does as well.   The problem is, of course, that Trump says a lot of things, but doesn't mean most of them.   The actions he takes are more telling, including who he appoints to cabinet positions and judicial posts.  He may claim to be friend to the working man and that "the gays like me!" but his actions say otherwise.  His policies favor corporate interests, the wealthy, and conservative causes.

And like I said, if you own a corporation, are wealthy, and conservative, then it makes sense you support Trump, I guess (although you have to ask yourself how these policies will affect the country in the long-run, which in turn could be against your own self-interest).  Or perhaps you are a successful actor and comedian who is tired of paying high taxes - maybe that would steer you toward Trump, perhaps moreso than his ideas about helping "the little people".  (Politicians, by the way, who claim to want to help the "little people" are often the most dangerous kind.  Expect everyone to act in their own self-interest, and those who claim otherwise, are usually lying).

But taking aside Ms. Barr's 27 multiple personalities (including Hitler as shown above - she claims to be his reincarnation) and other mental health issues, I just don't think she is all that very smart.  Yes, she was funny, when she started out in standup.  But clever?  Smart?  Intellectual?  No, I don't think so.   Yet, people hang on every word a celebrity has to say about an issue, as if being a famous comedian or actress suddenly makes you the perfect policymaker.

And it isn't just Barr.   People love to hear what Ellen Degeneres has to say about the issues of the day.  Again, what exactly are her qualifications here?  I'm not saying that I'm smarter than she is, or that my opinions are better than hers, only that they are no better or worse.   Yet we seek out the advice and thoughts of celebrities and ignore our own inner voice.  I am not sure why.  What Leonardo DiCaprio thinks about anything is really irrelevant to me.   And yes, sorry, even George Clooney.  When actors and celebrities make political statements at awards ceremonies, I just cringe.

It is, however, I think, a certain level of genius to depict a Trump-supporting family on television.   I mean, these people exist, and it is healthy to bring out these issues and discuss them.   And her television husband, while playing a Trump supporter on TeeVee, may have other views in his personal life.  That's acting.

But since I don't get cable television (in both senses of the phrase) I won't be "tuning in" to watch Roseanne, anymore than I did the first time around.  Like I said, it was a depressing show to watch as it seemed all the characters made really poor life choices and then posited themselves as victims.   I heard that in the last season or so, they changed the plot line to make it that they won the lottery - a typical white-trash dream.  And dream it was, apparently, as they later wrote it off as a dream sequence, much as they do on soap operas.

But my point is, and I think I had one, maybe we should care less about what celebrities think, and care more about what we think.