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24-08-2005
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Musicians must put in, or behave like politicians
Eric Clapton criticizes to Bono and the organizer of the "Live 8"
Wednesdays, 24 August 2005 08:00, DPA HAMBURG.
- The musician Eric Clapton does not feel much esteem by the concerts with political aims as "Live 8" and has "feelings found" towards his organizers, the singer of U2, Bono, and Bob Geldof, according to declares in an interview with the German magazine "Stern" in his edition morning. "I wonder myself if the musicians must behave like politicians", the guitarist of 60 years said. "they are Only musical from where they remove the authority to pronounce those speeches". Clapton criticized the fact that Bond passes great part of its time "preaching the politicians". "Mister Slowhand" reproached on the other hand to Geldof the salary urged to Canadian prime minister not to go to the concert if his government did not do what he protested "How it is happened to him", it declared. To the musician it also puts the atmosphere nervous that is breathed around the Rolling Stones. When the group proposed to him many years ago to become member of the band in substitution of the deceased Brian Jones, Clapton said that not because it found "atemorizante" the situation. "There was much power and madness in game. The surroundings, the apparatus of the Rolling Stones: For example, they paid to people so that they drained the ash trays to them. Incredible ".
( Translated Text from spanish newspaper, with babel fish, could be errors )

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25-08-2005
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^ Interesting.

I think it should be noted that a lot of these "political musicians" were political before musical. Music just happens to be a second career.

And it couldn't hurt Clapton to do a benefit here and there, as he has previously.

I hate when stars put down other stars, especially ones with a cause. Sh*t's getting done, so what's your problem?

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25-08-2005
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Bono is a gigantic mouth piece. I can sit here and give you a million reasons why I think he's a complete fraud, but here's a transcript from a program that ran a few months ago on Much Music. It's an expose by Ed the Sock (I know I know... a sock puppet?!!?!?). And before you start rolling your eyes, it's very well researched and gives you a completely different perspective on the situation. It's very long, but I promise you it's a very interesting read.

The story begins, appropriately enough, in Africa.

In 1985, Ethiopia was suffering from a devastating famine when UK rocker Bob Geldof organized Band Aid, a collection of Britain’s top artists that came together to record a benefit single for famine relief. link

The single was “Do They Know it’s Christmas” – in retrospect, a stupid question to ask about a continent that has no snow and is overwhelmingly non-Christian. But I guess “Do They Know It’s Kwanzaa” didn’t have the same ring to it. But the charitable zeal spread across the pond as American stars organized

USA for Africa and it’s benefit single – We Are the World – a sentiment that would later be echoed by a US president. Canada got into the act too with Northern Lights, the only celebrity benefit where the performers arrived by bus. Even eastern Europe got in on the action with a benefit song by the world-famous Shmenge brothers and Israel’s single, No They Don’t Know It’s Christmas, you meshuginnah goyem.

Emboldened by their successes, the biggest names from all the efforts came together in a giant benefit concert called Live Aid that was telecast globally and raised millions for the cause. link

Not all the artists at Live Aid were top sellers…among the performers was a band known in the UK but otherwise rather obscure – an Irish rock combo called U2. The group had released The Unforgettable Fire a month earlier to a collective American yawn, but Live Aid launched U2 from uncharted territory to worldwide success. link

The global exposure of Live Aid and the goodwill associated with it put U2 on the map. By 1985, Rolling Stone magazine was calling U2 “the Band of the Eighties.” All from the strength of Live Aid. In short, Africa was berry berry good to U2. link

And here began the U2 pattern of major charity efforts coinciding with an album release or concert tour.

Which may be why Bono jumped at a chance to be a part of the single Sun City by Artists Against Apartheid, protesting the iniquities in South Africa. Humanitarian as his concern no doubt was – U2’s EP, Awake in America – didn’t start selling in the US until after Sun City was released…hmmm…African charity concert…album sales…African protest song…album sales…do you need to be a musician to see the rhythm? (See U2 Timeline)

But his time in Africa really sensitized Bono to the plight of Africans…in fact, he’s said to the press that Africa isn’t a crisis...it was an emergency. (Bono has made this ‘emergency’ line part of his stump speech. Here are some examples) link, link, link, link.

So what was his response to this emergency? Ummmm…nothing for a few years, which is a strange way to respond to an emergency. It’s like paramedics putting you on hold.

1987 was the year it all hit for U2. Among the socially conscious rock fans of the 80s, U2 had become heroes for their politically charged music and African benefit music. The Joshua Tree became their biggest album ever, link which they quickly followed up with the documentary film Rattle and Hum – which pushed U2 into full-blown overexposure. link
But while U2 was finally finding major success…Bono didn’t feel the need to be a part of any big African relief project. (See U2 Timeline)

Hmmmmmm…apparently, the “emergency” in Africa seemed less immediate while people were taking his picture. While he did make mention of Africa from the stage, it seemed to backfire. Could it have been that a preachy multimillionaire rock star subsumed in an orgy of a concert tour trying make working-class crowds feel guilty about poverty might have seemed a trifle hollow?

And by the time of Achtung Baby and the ZooTV tour, talk of Africa and anything else political had given way to radio-friendly tunes and an over-the-top sensory display. And their follow-up PopMart tour was even more awash with mindless spectacle. Not just that, but critics had started noticing something about U2’s new music – it was crap! And the fans could smell it too as U2 played to less-than-full arenas and their tour almost went teats up.

Then suddenly, Bono re-discovered world suffering. But Africa somehow slipped his mind as he concentrated on the more headline-grabbing tensions in Bosnia. U2 played a concert for Sarajevo – right around the time they released a new single. link

Then Bono sang on a benefit song for a British children’s charity, and he and the Edge joined the protest for debt relief for poor countries at the G8 economic summit in Germany – at the same time as they were promoting U2’s Greatest Hits CD. link, (See Timeline)

Charity work…record sales...charity work…record sales…charity work…record launch…charity work…record launch…didn’t Pavlov do this experiment with dogs?

In Germany, Bono met Jamie Drummond, the head of a UK campaign called Jubilee 2000 which was agitating world governments to cancel 100% of the debt for the world’s poorest countries…which of course still included Africa. Drummond reminded Bono that Africa, in the form of Live Aid, had made U2’s career, and it was time to give something back. link, link

So Bono signed up and became a tireless cheerleader for the cause. Yet 2000 came and went and the debt wasn’t cancelled...but U2’s album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” debuted at number 1 in 22 countries. I’m sure all the free exposure Bono got from his charity work had nothing to do with it. link

Bono kept going even after the Jubilee campaign wound down, and was in the process of producing a charity single for African AIDS relief when the planes flew into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2000. With 9/11 the focus of the world’s attention, Bono suddenly forgot about Africa again and diverted proceeds from the song to 9/11 relief efforts. What about African suffering, a crisis Bono had termed “an emergency?” 9/11 was just more immediate. Apparently, Bono practices a form of triage philanthropy. link

But the 9/11 benefit song secured U2 a spot at that year’s Superbowl, where Bono literally wrapped himself in the American flag…after which All That You Can’t Leave Behind, which had been out for a while and had dropped down the charts, jumped more than 40 places on Billboard album charts, and The Elevation tour went on to become the second highest grossing tour of all time. link, link

Sure – you could argue that it’s all a coincidence and Bono’s political activism just happens to coincide with U2 product launches. You may also find it a coincidence that Clark Kent disappears when Superman shows up. But at least Bono finally remembered the African emergency, and in 2002 he formed his own relief organization, Data. www.data.org

Not related to the pasty-skinned Star Trek character, DATA stands for Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa...or Democracy Accountability Transparency Africa…even they aren’t sure, which is consistent with the mixed messages of his organization, one day agitating for debt relief, the next day for money to fight African AIDS.

DATA’s professed goals are: “…to raise awareness about, and spark response to the crises swamping Africa: unpayable Debts, uncontrolled spread of AIDS, and unfair Trade rules which keep Africans poor.” – That’s a lot of newspeak which basically means they’ve created a charity to inform us that Africa is impoverished and ridden with illnesses.

Sally Struthers has been doing that in one minute TV commercials for 20 years. So, nobody else is working for African aid? HMMMMM…. So it seems that maybe there ARE a few others dabbling in the cause. So why create another charity to do what others have already been doing?

Well, those charities won’t do is splash Bono’s mug on every page of their website. What another charity will do is divert already thin resources to a duplicated effort, otherwise known as donor fatigue , defined by long-time relief group Doctors Without Borders as “a state in which donors no longer contribute to a cause because they have become tired of receiving appeals for donations.” In other words, too many charities asking for money, so all of them get less. Thanks Bono.

And what does DATA actually do? Again, according to its website: “DATA does not either directly offer program money to development projects on the ground nor does it make grants to implementing partners. DATA is solely focused on spreading the word about the crisis and advocating solutions that will work.”

Yes, you heard right. No medicine, no volunteers, no money for Africa. They say their purpose is to lobby Washington, but that’s the same purpose as the other 36,959 registered US lobby groups. link

That’s a lot harder than selling iPods.

DATA also pushes governments to increase foreign aid to African nations. Bono has been really outspoken on the issue, even chiding politicians who don’t meet Bono’s stringent standards for aid levels.

Yes, Bono is all about telling countries to increase their foreign aid. And you know where countries get their funding for foreign aid? Tax dollars. Tax dollars, of course, come from taxpayers.

Know who isn’t a taxpayer? Bono. At least not on his earnings from U2. In his home country of Ireland, where thanks to pro-entertainer tax laws, the members of U2 pay no tax on their earnings from the band. link

To put that into perspective, In 2002, Bono’s taxes alone from the Elevation tour would have been in the neighborhood of 3.5 million dollars…that’s not even factoring in album sales. (Based on band’s earnings for tour, split 5 ways, taxed at 25%) link

If, according to African relief agencies, it costs $1 a day to feed a starving person in Africa. The money Bono avoided in taxes in one year from one concert tour – no album sales or other income factored in - could feed almost 3 ½ million starving Africans.

A picture is worth a thousand words….in Bono’s world, maybe they’re worth a thousand dollars too. They certainly are in PR value for an aging rocker fronting a mediocre band. Stay tuned for part 2.

SOURCE: www.edthesock.com

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25-08-2005
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Continued...

Okay, so we’ve already established that U2 can trace it’s success to headlining charity spectacles that coincide with album launches and concert tours. And that Bono’s charity organization, DATA, provides no money to Africa. And that while Bono sees fit to lecture the free world on how they should spend their tax dollars, he doesn’t pay any taxes on his millions from U2.

But even a broken clock is right twice a day. One thing Bono has right is the danger of AIDS in Africa.

To promote a global response to Africa’s AIDS problem, Bono has met and been photographed with world political leaders and spoken at international forums. But while the photographs have helped establish Bono as a candidate for sainthood – and maybe helped him sell more records – how much has he helped his cause?

Bono made his first real foray into politics when he played a concert for Sarajevo during the Bosnian crisis. Among the people he shared the stage with was Alija Izetbegovic, then the president of Bosnia. According to Bono, Izetbegovic was a “nice and kind” person who impressed Bono with his “Humanism” and “vision”. link

Only one problem. Okay, more than one problem. Izetbegovic was a Nazi in world war 2 who was jailed for his role in wartime atrocities. When he died, he was awaiting trial on new war crimes charges for his role in the Bosnian civil war. And while Izetbegovic was president of Bosnia, his government reportedly gave Bosnian passports to Al Qaeda operatives, including one of the 9/11 hijackers and Osama bin Laden himself. link, link, link

A “nice and kind” person who impressed Bono with his “humanism” and “vision”.

Does this mean Bono supported Izetbegovic’s crimes? No. But it does mean that Bono will kiss the butt of any political leader who will grant him a platform.

Meet Jesse Helms, until recently one of America’s longest serving senators and at the time the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. Bono met with him to lobby for greater support in the fight against AIDS in Africa.

After their meeting, and the requisite photo-op carried by all major American news services, Bono said the North Carolina senator was a "brave and bold man" who "cares deeply about what is happening in Africa right now." link

Which is very strange, because for his entire career Helms was known for kicking the crap out of foreign aid and the United Nations. link, link

And was it “brave and bold” when this man who Bono claims cares so much for Africans said that: "The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights."

Or “"The only way to stop AIDS is to stop the disgusting and immoral activities that continue to spread the disease." link, link

Excuse me a moment…sniff sniff...his compassion is overwhelming.

And what did this ***-kissing get Bono? Helms did put forward a bill for an extra 500 million dollars for the global AIDS fund…a figure which he then reduced to 200 million to get the bill passed. The only problem? Helms pushed his bill through, in the process defeating a competing bill that would have given the fund 700 million dollars. link

And another of Bono’s buddies? US president George W. Bush. Bono met with Bush to again, push for more US funding to fight AIDS in Africa.

Strange ally he’s chosen.

In 2001, Bush re-instated a right-wing global ‘gag rule’ that prohibits any organization receiving funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development from using those or other funds to council or provide abortion services. Organizations sensibly refused to sign the agreement and 16 developing countries, many in Africa, experienced huge funding cuts that led to shortages in contraceptives – including condoms, one of the most effective tools in fighting transmission of AIDS. link -- under heading “Bush Reinstatement of Gag Rule Resulting in Deaths, Disease Globally”

According to the United Nations Population Fund, Bush’s funding cuts to population programs will result in 800,000 more abortions, 4,700 more dead mothers and 77,000 deaths of children under five. link -- under heading “Administration Withdraws Funding for Family Planning” Yet the DATA webpage refers to Bush’s “compassion” and “tough love” in his policies. Wonder what brand of mouthwash you use after that much ***-kissing? link

In the end, it’s hard to see what he’s accomplished in terms of measurable results. In fact, it looks like at times he may have inadvertently hurt his cause, at the very least been used by politicians for their own goals, goals which are not supportive of African relief. link, link, link, link

What he has achieved is front-page PR, which has elevated awareness and respect for U2 despite the fact that according to many critics, not just me, their music has been sucking. And because he’s been issuing platitudes nobody can argue with, he’s been deified by music fans. A rock god is one thing, but Bono seems to be losing the prefix. Someone wrote a book of Psalms using U2’s music, for god’s sake. link, link, link, link

And there are folktales going around that when Bono’s mother was pregnant, a psychic told her that her son would do great things…as if a psychic would tell a pregnant woman anything but that. And his dad tells stories of a young Bono communing with nature, talking to wildlife in some unknown language and allowing bees to land on his fingertips without ever being stung. What a bunch of crap. link

When it comes right down to it, he’s a rock star who loves attention, so much so that his own wife says when he’s at home he’s jonesing for the adulation of the concert crowds. link

He’s a rich guy who tells working-class people to give money to causes, but I still don’t know how deep he’s dug into his own pocket, since though many celebrities, especially those involved in advocacy fund-raising like Angelina Jolie, publicly make an example of giving great sums of money, link

My research failed to turn up that information on Bono.

He gets all the attention for being Africa’s saviour without ever getting his sunglasses dirty while volunteers dig wells, build sanitation sites and personally care for Africa’s sick and suffering. And while politicians use him to boost their own popularity by letting Bono speak to the US Senate and the UN, it means that someone who’s never pimped an iPod but is actually an expert on the subject gets shoved aside because they aren’t as sexy as a rock star.

So, give him credit for having something of a conscience. But that doesn’t making him qualified for sainthood. Nor does it make him qualified for a nobel peace prize. And it certainly doesn’t make him qualified to head up the world bank, as some starry-eyed idiots had suggested. A rock star who talks about debt relief heading up the world bank…what’s next, George Clooney heading up the World Health Organization because he once played a doctor?

Now, I haven’t said anything definitively about Bono’s motives….just asked the kinds of questions that nobody else will ask. And if you think I’ve had any fact wrong, any date wrong or have made any other mistakes in my information – I’m big enough to make a correction. Send me your alternate information at thesock@muchmusic.com. But keep in mind, “You suck” isn’t alternate information. Have something to say and back it up with some intelligence, or your e-mail will make it to the recycle bin alongside SPAM for penis enlargement and sex with farm animals.

And now, I will put on my raincoat and prepare for the shitstorm of angry fans. I don’t care if I’ve pissed you off, as long as I’ve made you think before crawling back to your regular TV diet of pop culture pablum.

I’m Ed the Sock, and this is my report.

SOURCE: www.edthesock.com

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25-08-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
^ Interesting.

I think it should be noted that a lot of these "political musicians" were political before musical. Music just happens to be a second career.
agreed. it's just stupid when people say artists dont have the right to speak out, like they arent citizens in the first place.

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25-08-2005
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I don't think people actually say that celebrities don't have the right to speak about a lot of these hard hitting issues. Everyone is free to utilize their constitutional rights. But I'm amongst those people who say that some celebrities just need to shut up when it comes to a lot of these issues affecting the world today. Granted, a lot of these stars had lives, educations and so forth before they became famous, and are actually quite knowledgable in the matters they are trying to bring awareness to, but are you seriously telling me that you want to hear people like Paris Hilton lecturing you on, say the ever decreasing rate of young America's voter turn out? I especially don't want to hear it from people like her who has never voted in their entire lives, and continue not to even after they participated in a nationwide campaign that tried to mobilize the youth of America to vote. That's why people like Paris Hilton need to shut the hell up. A lot of these celebs are absolutely clueless, which leads me to question how much they know about the issue at hand, and how much of it is just a rehearsed script from their agents.

A lot of these celebs aren't even qualified to tell the general population what they need to be doing in the first place. Bono? Please. Just read that transcript I just posted. I admire some celebs who are outspoken, but only a few of them who are genuinely trying to raise awareness about an issue and who don't have something to gain from their participation. Not that all celebs are doing something to boost their profile, because some just have a genuine opinion which I don't have a problem with.
What I do have a problem with though, is celebrities like Puff Daddy organizing a nationwide "Vote or Die campaign", who's message was severly misleading by the way. Why is it that some people these days treat celebs like they're an authority figure, and that whatever they say must be true because they speak from a position of authority, and therefore their words are just as good any politicians or scholars?
Ashton Kutcher for example, who was part of Puff Daddy's Vote or Die campaign said he voted for Bush the last election, and that he made a serious mistake, and that this time around he was going to vote for Kerry, and that's why you should too. Are these people kidding me? Why on earth should anyone think he's any more right this time than he was the last? But that doesn't matter I suppose if he can get as much of the herd to follow his lead.

I see this as much of a seperation of the political arena from the entertainment industry as a separation of the church from state. They are both entangled, but they would work better if they were just seperate bodies.

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25-08-2005
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i said artists, not celebrities, fine line

sorry if you felt offended with my post, i didnt even read yours, i was only replying to erin.

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25-08-2005
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nahhh... wasn't offended at all. I'm just trying to get a healthy debate going. And I don't you can really differentiate between an artists and celebrities these days. Artists don't exist these days because it'd be an overstatement to call most of these musicians and what not 'artists'.

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25-08-2005
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haha ok, i dont see how can you get a healthy debate going when you cant even tell the difference between an artist and a celebrity no matter how much both terms are associated these days.
still, good luck with your one-man discussion.

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25-08-2005
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I believe it's important to put your beliefs into your work and life, and I respect people who do.

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25-08-2005
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I wasn't trying to develop a debate around the issue of what an artist is or isn't. It doesn't matter in this respect anyways. But you took the liberty of interpreting Erin's "political musicians" as "artist" for the sake of your own argument when it was clear that she used the word "Stars" twice. Last time I checked a star is just another way of calling someone a celebrity, not an artist.

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25-08-2005
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Wow,I didn't realise to be an artist you can't be a star? When did that come about? And musicians,btw,are generally associated with being artists. Some not so good;some quite good. Just depends on your interpretation.

But since that's not that topic....what's the big deal about about musicians using their platforms on raising issues? Politics are universal and come into play in every medium. And since politicians themselves often times overlook,ignore or they just don't care about certain situations...how on earth will we know anything that goes on? #

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25-08-2005
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Musics can express what they wont in the letters of their songs, without offend others. His fame in this case depends in the good combination of all the elements, that are need. And could be excelent musicians independent of my convictions, but i will not buy, if they abuse.

I think is more efective to express an idea with good words.

I don´t like that in concerts they use a tribune to make arengas of any type, specially in festivals with other bands. An exception is when we know that is the normal in a particular band, and we pay for that. That isn´t abusive. The problem of this system of expresions, use as a horse of Troya, affect music and musicians that don´t use the controversy, or don´t use their music fame for things that we don´t have very clear what´s goin on. Others bore because is use a comon patrimony of all musicians, his reputation as that, in a way isn´t only music.



In the opposite end i remember when Rod Stewart came to a country, and has the opportunity to express when it was consulted by the reporters with respect to a typic politic problem. Without effort he could have gave a “logic” answer, making happy all the reporters. He only said, excuse I´m a musician , and of that subject (music) I have some authority to respond, do not request to me to speak of your particular politic problems, is not my mater. Is not literal but is what memory until now, because produce to all a very good impresion .

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25-08-2005
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Nothing. There's nothing wrong with musicians/celebs trying to raise awareness. A lot of people do it like Jane Fonda, Angelina Jolie and Sean Penn. They're doing a very good job of it too, and I think they're doing it because people are generally ignorant of the things that are going on. I admire people like Jane Fonda who was vehemently against the Vietnan war, and as a result of her anti-war activities, she drew a torrent of criticism (which some vets still cannot get over). But it doesn't matter to her because she was (and still is) strongly anti-war and she obviously had nothing to gain in terms of her Hollywood status.

My problem lies more with celebs and musicians who use their political involvement as a tool to boost or maintain their celebrity status. I can't even believe people think Bono is the saint he's made out to be. Or those who use their celebrity status to unfairly enter the political arena. Am I the only one who think Schwarzenegger is a gigantic joke? When he was elected as governer, his approval rating was actually quite high. But now? They've plummeted so far down people are beginning to kick themselves in the *** for electing him.
This is the thing that really bothers me. People are completely apathetic when it comes to politics. A lot of people just don't understand the process, and hence, they really don't pay much attention to it. So, they're prone to these knee-jerk reactions like, "I don't know any of these politicians. I can't even tell you who the secretary of state is. BUT I do know i.e. Ashton Kutcher and I kinda like him, so I'll just trust what he says". It's like people have to rely on Hollywood to inform them that the world is messed up.
Besides, I think the only thing celebs are good for in the political arena is to raise awareness on a particular issue. I doubt that they actually have any real clout to make any significant changes to say, world poverty. They can get our attention by spreading the word, and have the power to go straight to congress with something that bothers them, whereas most people can't (which really annoys me).
You know, some politicians may not do their jobs the way we want them to (which is maybe why we shouldn't elect celebrities) but thank god we have hundred and thousands of lobby groups and special interests groups trying to fight for the inumerable amount of causes trying to be heard in congress. The idea that some cause that could be pushed aside because another cause becomes more 'urgent' at the moment because of celebrity endorsement is quite tragic.

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25-08-2005
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Chinalove, I was simply stating that many of these artists and celebrities (if we're to get picky about labels) are politically charged prior to their mega stardom. Okay, maybe not *many*, but quite a few of the activists we see today in the media. Of course, I'm partial to Bono, I have been a fan of U2 since the 4th grade. But the newer activists, like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, just for example, are perhaps the ones you should be questioning.

And that whole relating charity work with album sales is bologna, in my opinion. I don't give a crap what Bono's doing in Africa, if I like his band's tunes, then I'm going to purchase a U2 record. That's that. Sure, the volunteer work may give him more exposure to the media, but I don't believe it'll make a difference in how I feel about his music, or the amount of radio play the band gets.

I think if the platform is there, then it does more good than bad to make a statement. I bet you a million bucks Bono donates anonymously, unlike so many other people that do it for the attention. He doesn't put down other people, and he does nothing but praise. But I don't really care what he says, because he has contributed so much time and effort into his work. And I must say, as one grows older, one grows wiser - I think this is the case with Bono. Being a musician is a full time position - and I think he's finding a way to balance it more evenly with what her truly believes in - politics.

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