Boots & Sabers

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0913, 12 Jan 18

Why Do We Allow Actors to Behave as Moral Authorities?


The interesting question is: Why have movie stars and other celebrities become an aristocracy of secular demigods? It seems to me an objective fact that virtually any other group of professionals plucked at random from the Statistical Abstract of the United States — nuclear engineers, plumbers, grocers, etc. — are more likely to model decent moral behavior in their everyday lives. Indeed, it is a bizarre inconsistency in the cartoonishly liberal ideology of Hollywood that the only super-rich people in America reflexively assumed to be morally superior are people who pretend to be other people for a living.

I think part of the answer has to do with the receding of religion from public life. As a culture, we’ve elevated “authenticity” to a new form of moral authority. We look to our feelings for guidance. Actors, as a class, are feelings merchants. While they may indeed be “out of touch” with the rest of America from time to time, actors are adept at being in touch with their feelings. And for some unfathomably stupid reason, we now think that puts us beneath them.


0913, 12 January 2018


  1. Pat

    “Why Do We Allow Actors to Behave as Moral Authorities?”

    Because some folks make the choice to do so. Others give the same allowance to talk radio hosts, politicians, business owners, preachers, and bloggers.

  2. billphoto

    I think it is because we all would like to be tougher, smarter, wittier, better looking, whatever which is what these people portray in the movies or tv shows.  These people bath in the adulation so it seems only natural that they would preach to we lesser beings.  Personally, years ago I accepted that I am swav and deboner so I only see these people as they are, entertainers.

  3. Kevin Scheunemann

    It depends.   If they are a good Christian, sure, they can be a good moral authority.

    If they are Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, or Ben Affleck, not so much.

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