While it is easy to see how, with all of the awards shows, the after-parties and fawning media attention, you might believe that your opinion is more important than anyone else’s opinion, this is a lie. Perhaps it is time for a sanity check, and you can begin by asking yourselves a series of questions.
“Do I put food on the tables of ordinary citizens?”
“Do I protect the lives of ordinary citizens?”
“Do I save the lives of ordinary citizens?”
“Do I defend my country?”
“Do I build houses?”
“Do I make cars?”
“Do I design or manufacture anything useful? Anything that actually makes the day-to-day lives of all of the ordinary citizens around me any easier?”
“Do I do anything that ensures that cities have reliable electricity, or clean water?”
“Do I do the work necessary to make sure that our communities are sanitary?”
“Do I heal people?”
“Do I take care of people?”
“Do I get my hands dirty doing any of the things that the vast majority of people must do in their work-a-day lives?”
The answer is No.
You do none of those things.
You might, on occasion, pretend to be one of those who contribute real and meaningful things to society, but mostly you do make-believe things in make-believe worlds.
Yes, art is wonderful. But here’s the thing: While art is inspiring, in the grand scheme of things, it is not necessary; it is complementary. Popular? Wildly so. Profitable? Exceedingly. But a necessity? Absolutely not. Not even close.
Now, we can talk about how “art feeds the soul” and how empty and dreary everyone’s lives would be were it not for art, and whatever else you like to think about yourself and your chosen profession, but the truth is there is no film, no television series, no documentary, no talk show, no play, no comedy routine, no painting, no song, or any other bit of art or entertainment that will feed, bathe, clothe, heal, or protect anyone from anything. Nor is there an actor, a singer, a painter or an artist of any kind whose existence is indispensable to humanity. That goes double for your opinions.
Having a microphone and a captive audience does not magically grant you the gravitas – much less the intelligence or wit – that so many of you apparently believe that it does. What it does represent is an opportunity – but again, probably not the opportunity that you’d like to believe that it does.
When you take a stage, wherever it may be, and you inject your own personal politics into what is supposed to be an artistic showcase, you are not going to persuade anyone to do anything except to turn their back on you. Instead of appreciating your artistic ability, your public scolding will provide, for probably half of your audience, the opportunity to look at you in a new and not particularly flattering light.
We love our artists — there is no doubt about it, but we especially love those artists who don’t assume we need to be told what to think, about art or about politics. So do yourselves and the rest of us a favor: Dummy up. Protect your brand. Focus on acting or singing or whatever it is that you do and stop lecturing your fans about, well, anything.