Celebrities as citizens…

I am torn by the idea of celebrities using their fame to be pundits (as opposed to activists). They are citizens with every right to assert themselves into the issues of the day. On the other hand, the only reason anyone might take them seriously, in the absence of recognized credentials, is that they are famous. We have evolved into a culture that puts a lot of trust in fame (re: People often asked actor Robert Young–Marcus Welby, M.D.–for medical advice).

This is, by the way, the same concept that drives the commercial use of celebrities in advertisements. What exactly, besides being one himself, does Lou Rawls know about insurance for old people (re: Colonial Penn Insurance)?

Howard Kurtz considers comic Janeane Garofalo’s quest to be taken seriously in her opposition to war with Iraq.