At the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, Ricky Gervais spent his opening monologue criticizing the worst Hollywood had to offer and poking fun at the loss of integrity of the modern film industry.
The message of Gervais' speech is encapsulated in his final words when he said, "So if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a platform to make a political speech. You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world."
Years of living in the spotlight and deified by the American public has transformed the modern-day celebrity into an out-of-touch elitist who believes his or her opinions are validated by his or her money and power. Celebrities believe their luxurious Hollywood mansions, their enormous audiences and their reach gives them a license to lecture the American people on how to live their lives in accordance with the Hollywood elites' political worldview.
Gervais' biting words attempted to humble these celebrities and explain how their opinions are no more valid than ordinary Americans, and the Hollywood elite have no right to force their agenda down the country's throat. Gervais' exposure of celebrity hypocrisy and his desire to humble those in Hollywood teaches the American people the invaluable lesson that citizens have no obligation to consider a celebrity's political beliefs as being more valid.
The hypocrisy of those in Hollywood is put on display when they lecture the American public. This hypocrisy can most clearly be seen in environmental issues, as many celebrities believe limiting the carbon footprint of the United States is an ecological necessity. Leonardo DiCaprio is a devout environmentalist, who uses his massive audience to preach about why the American people must work immediately towards mitigating the effects of climate change.
At the 2016 Oscars, DiCaprio was credited with saying "Climate change is real. It is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species." Following the Oscars, he was offered an award for his service, as reported by Rachael Revesz of the Independent. These efforts were rightly criticized when DiCaprio, according to Revesz, went to accept this award by taking an 8,000-mile flight from France to New York in a private jet.
Social elites, like DiCaprio, believe they are allowed to subject themselves to different rules when compared to other American citizens because of their fame. This disconnect from ordinary Americans is a contributing factor to how they become out-of-touch with the issues of everyday people, and as a result, they do not feel an obligation to fully educate themselves on the subjects in which they preach.
Celebrities are victims of their misinformation. They feel an obligation to publicly take a stance on a subject they often do not understand in order to virtue signal.
Cas Mudde of The Guardian reports, "They see politics mainly in terms of winning elections, but often lack the knowledge and skills to implement the few concrete policies they have presented." It would help in validating the opinions of celebrities if they were to make an effort to learn how the beliefs they espouse for all Americans to support actually affect those Americans.
Of course, Hollywood celebrities bear the responsibility they have to the American people in proctoring their political beliefs on the stage, but those consuming the media have a commitment to forming their own opinions, regardless of what celebrities may say. We live in a culture that deifies fame and status to the point we are willing to abandon our sense of self in the presence of it. Celebrity worship is not simply a social phenomenon, it is a psychological one.
Donna Rockwell of Huffington Post writes, "Charismatic celebrities can make sycophants from even the most grounded of us, who will throw away all self-respect and exhibit 'fawning' behavior when in the presence of a famous person."
Celebrities are not seen as people, according to Rockwell, but carefully constructed images made by the American's conscience for the sole purpose of being as marketable as possible. When one understands celebrity deification from a psychological perspective, it is no wonder why we value the opinions of celebrities to the degree we do. It is no wonder why we care about what they have to say, regardless of how rational or relevant their experiences actually are.
American society must end the culture of celebrity worship and the overvaluing of celebrity opinion. Only then can we force Hollywood elites to compete in the same arena of ideas as every other American, in order to be considered valuable.