Extended RNF – Letting celebrities off of the hook. aka Popular vs. Significant

Why would anyone expect that someone should be full of meaningful insights and philosophical truths simply because they can act, sing, play a sport or otherwise entertain? By definition many in this realm are in the business of speaking words composed in advance or are prepared for them by writers during their day jobs.

Example:

Let’s say, theoretically, that an individual is quite proficient at producing and rapping. Wildly successful at both even, which brings them immense fame and fortune. So far the qualifiers for their popularity are based solely on their musical gifts, or their ability to entertain. But what if those are their only gift areas? Theoretically, of course. Early on this individual shows signs of being… oh let’s say clumsy when it comes to expressing themselves in a respectful and cohesive manner. It is often written off as eccentric, the moneyed variant of ‘touched’ as my folks would say. Then as legend of their ‘eccentricity’ grows it is used as a source of amusement and watercooler fodder. “Can you believe X did Y?” Why, yes I can. They have been acting off from the jump if one was paying proper attention. “Can you believe A said B?” Again, yes. Are we all supposed to pretend we did not see this coming? But now bashing said individual who was once adored has become the latest sport. Society builds up to beat back down. Front page? Really. This nonsense on the front page of alleged ‘news’ papers and websites. When exactly did so many once respected news outlets become variants of Entertainment Tonight?

pop·u·lar
ˈpäpyələr/
adjective
1.
liked, admired, or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group.
“she was one of the most popular girls in the school”
synonyms: well liked, favored, sought-after, in demand, desired, wanted; More
2.
(of cultural activities or products) intended for or suited to the taste, understanding, or means of the general public rather than specialists or intellectuals.
“the popular press”

vs.

sig·nif·i·cant
sigˈnifikənt/Submit
adjective
1.
sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention; noteworthy.
“a significant increase in sales”
synonyms: notable, noteworthy, worthy of attention, remarkable, important, of importance, of consequence, signal; More
2.
having a particular meaning; indicative of something.
“in times of stress her dreams seemed to her especially significant”

I am not saying that an entertainer cannot also be otherwise relevant. Most recently Wendell Pierce comes to mind as a classic popular/significant Venn diagram overlap example. But we must remember that popular and significant are not synonymous. What if their gift area is simply limited to entertainment and does not encompass enlightenment? Let us not pretend that their every utterance is a revelation to be unpacked and dissected for generations to come. A disservice to all involved. Let them act, sing, play, dance, or even be popular for no discernible reason whatsoever and then once the studio, stadium, or stage lights are dimmed we all just go about our business until the next performance. Plus who among us has not ‘let one fly’ every once in a while that we are glad no one heard or wish we had never said in the first place. Here is an idea… Instead of looking to celebrity for relevant intellectual insights why don’t we look to… oh… intellectuals? Personally I would not demand deep thought from an entertainer any more than I would require an accomplished social commentator or scientist, political or otherwise, etc. to spit a few bars. Let us place our expectations where they belong instead of demanding something from those ill equipped or qualified to provide it. Let us let our celebrities off of the hook. Many may even appreciate the time off.

-ELW