18 November, 2011

It's Friday: Let's Piss Off Keith Olbermann!

So, last night, at about half past midnight, I was checking my Twitter feed when I saw Keith Olbermann posted the following:
I could never pull off this look RT @thinkprogress Anne Hathaway at #ows protest: "Blackboards Not Bullets" http://tl.gd/e89b7n
Note that this was over the course of two tweets.
So, I don't know why I did, but I clicked the link and, yup, sure enough, there was Anne Hathaway. And, for some reason, it rubbed me the wrong way. (As in not the way I'm usually rubbed by pictures of Anne Hathaway. Cue the rimshot!) For some reason, I couldn't bring myself to actually believe in her altruism. I smelled something else around it, though I had nothing to back that up aside from that I naturally distrust celebrities when they come on down to mingle with us proles. So, without thinking, I tweeted...
@KeithOlbermann Last thing I believe is a movie star at OWS. She doesn't represent me. At least she gets her media attention, I guess.
I think I basically laid out what I was thinking at the moment: I distrust celebrities. Celebrities do not represent me. And, hey, let's be honest with ourselves and others: If she weren't in that picture, that picture wouldn't have been posted. It's discussed because she was there. She got media attention. There it is.
Twenty three minutes later, if I recall correctly, Keith Olbermann, host of Countdown deigned to address your friend and narrator with the following:
@SDDoubleA Boy, that's really a stupid remark. She needs publicity? She's there because it matters to her. Christ, is that stupid.
Now, is it just me or is that a little harsh? I mean, sure, I was more snarky than what I needed to be with the little girl from The Princess Diaries (worldwide box office gross: US$165,335,153), but that's snark. Snark tempered heavily with distrust, granted, but damn if the Keithster didn't come out with both barrels blazing. I mean, he brought "stupid" into it twice. Because what? We disagree? Because he knows that the beard from Brokeback Mountain (US box office gross: US$83,025,853) is nothing but good and altruistic in her heart? I mean, he seems to have really taken offense to what I said.
So, I engaged him.
@KeithOlbermann She's not a part of the ninety nine percent. But, you know, call me stupid. That's got some mileage to it.
Granted, the hour was late so I couldn't expect a reply and if Keith is up at close to two in the morning in his time zone, that can mean only one thing.

How two am tweets are born.
I'm kidding, though, of course. I don't mean to insist that Keith Olbermann was drunk last night. That would be libel. Doesn't change that I got to make a malt liquor joke at a public figure's expense.
ANYhoo, I guess I'm not the only person in the world who follows the Olbster because shortly there after, I was engaged by two complete strangers.
@SDDoubleA @keitholbermann You don't need to be part of 99% to get what this movement is about! All you need is intelligence and empathy
@SDDoubleA @KeithOlbermann Last I heard, #occupy movement accepts everyone. Don't need 2 be 99% to be fed up & ready to make a difference.
OK, first of all, one of these guys has one of those blue Avatar people as his, um, avatar.
Secondly, I was pretty lit up last night so I just gave both of them a canned response:
There's also that I see who is representative of me and who isn't. I just don't trust celebrities.
Because it's like this: The personal assistant from The Devil Wears Prada (US box office gross: US$124,732,962) marches along the ninety nine percent, the story momentarily stops being about the movement and becomes fixated on that she's there. Thus you get news coverage like this when you simply Google "Anne Hathaway" as I just did two minutes ago:
"Anne Hathaway acted as an average Joe"? Are you fucking kidding me? That almost sounds insulting; that's essentially circumventing having to say, "Look at the movie star down among the poor people." It's as insulting as when the press kept referring to Kate Middleton as a "commoner" during coverage of the royal wedding.
But, as much as I tried to make my point, I still wasn't off the hook; there were two more tweets to me from complete strangers:
@SDDoubleA @Hamstertweet93 @keitholbermann Sorry to disappoint, but celebrities are people. Just like Soylent Green.
@Graypets Yes, they are people. People who receive inflated media attention for doing, you know, anything.
@SDDoubleA You can express solidarity without claiming to be representative. Come on, this is basic stuff.
@geeoharee It's as basic as having suspicions as to the nonrepresentative element's motivations.
On that last point I made - hopefully the very last point I have to make - I add this and I want you to be completely honest with yourself and with others: If you saw Brad Pitt or George Clooney wearing a "We Are the 99%" t-shirt or something like that, what would be your gut reaction? What would be the very first thing that came to mind?
For me, and this is my honest knee-jerk reaction: Disgust.
Later, after a few moments of calming down: Suspicion.
I mean, yes yes yes, we all want to believe that celebrities are, at root, good people. But then we catch a whiff of them saying or doing something like they're just "regular people" and the truth is that, no. They're not. They're not regular people. Regular people don't have their faces blasted onto a three story screen and their voices brought to the masses in THX surround sound. Regular people don't sell platinum records. Regular people don't go on TV and host their own shows.
Regular people fix your car. Regular people clean teeth. Regular people stock shelves and dig ditches and sit in front of Excel spreadsheets for forty hours a week while they try to figure out what to make for dinner on any given night and they make dinner them damned selves. Those are regular people. So when a celebrity claims to be one of us? Sorry, man, I'm not buying that shit.
Why? It all goes back to a little band called Rage Against the Machine. (Stick with me here.)
You see, once upon a time, a time I like to call When the RNC Basically Fucked Up St. Paul, Rage Against the Machine showed up. And I was excited. I was about to hop on the bus and go over to St. Paul. And I noticed how the cops had shut shit down and I paid attention to the news that day and I saw Rage Against the Machine's equipment. And I thought Tom Morello had a nice amp or something like that. Something. A little seed was planted.
And then I figured that I'd like an amp like that. Maybe that's what I figured.
And then I remembered that I couldn't afford an amp like that. I mean Tom Morello can because Tom Morello makes Rage Against the Machine money.
And that little seed began to sprout.
And I begin to wonder, How much money do they make?
And the little flower began to bud.
Wait a minute: Aren't they, you know, fucking millionaires?
And the little bud began to bloom.
What do their houses look like?
Wait a minute: These guys are nothing like me. These guys... I've seen the Audioslave videos, too. The budgets on those things? Are you fucking kidding me? I mean the budgets on their records and... These guys haven't had to put off a bill to pay a different bill since when? I bet their student loans are paid off. I bet they own their houses out right. And just look at Tim Commerford's tattoos. You think ink like that is cheap?
So, yeah, it was that day that I stopped giving a shit.
Michael Moore shows up in Wisconsin during the teachers' union strike? Shows up at OWS? Who fucking cares? Why are we giving him any attention? Why do we need to hear him? Why do we need to turn our cameras on him? Is he a representative segment of what is going on? The fuck he is. But the cameras get trained on him, don't they? And that's when the story stops being about the movement and becomes about how he showed up. And then he wants to talk about why he's there.
I don't get why he's there. Not when you consider...
  • Bowling for Columbine. Worldwide gross: US$35,564,473
  • Fahrenheit 911. Worldwide gross: US$222,446,320
  • Sicko. Worldwide gross: US$33,105,392
Do any of those look like numbers any of your achievements have produced? Do they? I sure as hell have never seen that kind of money. I'm sure my lifetime earnings thus far don't look like any of those.
So, yeah, celebrity involvement? No thanks.
And, hey, to end on a positive note, while Keith Olbermann apparently wasn't down for civil dialogue last night (late though it was, so he gets a pass - well, only kind of sort of, his response was still pretty dickish), hombre with the Avatar avatar tweeted to me as I was typing this post.
@SDDoubleA only you and those you designate to do so should/can represent what is actually 'you'. I don't see anyone representing all of us, not a single person famous or unknown. I'm just saying that Celebs have as much right to be out there as any of us, no matter the fame or fortune. Free Speech affords the right to protest to ALL of us. If a celeb wants to stand in the street and protest with non celebs, they should too.
He had to use one of those special long post apps.
And seeing as how he was opening the floor to civil, reasonable, cool-headed conversation, I said:
@VahlMStowastiq I'll grant you that's a fair point. I simply distrust the motivations of celebrities is all I'm saying.
Two strangers separated by distance, united by cause, and with differing opinions on the presence of celebrities having a level-headed conversation.

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