“Why should we listen to entertainers?”

From time to time people speak bitterly of the political messages embedded in music from bands like U2 and the Beatles, and ask why they have to foray into politics instead of just sticking to the music. This is often coupled with asking why we should be listening to the political views of entertainers.


I have a number of thoughts on this, which I will attempt to enumerate a few of.

  1. I’m not sure that we should be. But certainly as someone who writes music I feel I should be free to write music about my opinions about political matters
  2. If we should be, the reasons are as follows:

I am someone who has done a lot of things, and I consider myself to be – based on feedback from my friends and apparent comparison with my peers – at the top 2% of intelligence for humanity and the top 10% of drive to do things. My income is in the top 2% for my country (but not the top 1%, which would require two orders of magnitude more income – see elsewhere for discussions about this). I am a fairly capable dude.

Therefore perhaps you will believe me when I tell you that learning to play a instrument at virtuoso level – not something I have yet achieved, but something I expect to achieve in the next couple of years – is the hardest thing I have ever attempted. That’s one reason – they have proven, by dint of their capacity to perform, that they have discipline and dedication.

Another reason is that of course they are a member of the human family and either everybody counts or nobody does.

But to go beyond that, let’s ask the logical questions – why should we listen to the political views of newscasters, who are hired to have great hair and sound sincere even when they’re lying? Why should we listen to the political views of *politicians*, who for the most part only got to be politicians by winning a popularity contest and for the most part are politicians because it’s easier than working for a living. (I make exceptions for people like Brian Leeper, who became a politician to fix a specific problem and did indeed fix it – you find people like this all the time in local politics but a lot less in national politics – a future essay of mine may be about the evil that isĀ  Big Politics, which is possibly worse than Big Pharma, Big Health, and Big Oil put together – it certainly enables them to do things like killing millions of innocents in order to secure access to oil, or routinely charging tens of thousands of times the cost of production for life-saving technologies that should not even be patentable)

I guess I will listen at least somewhat to the political messages of everyone from The Who to Pink Floyd to U2 because I feel like those people had to work pretty hard to get the skills to do what they do and in the process of acquiring discipline they may also have become somewhat less of nitwits than the average man on the street. I also think they tend to be very well travelled as a side effect of their career choice, and I think travel also opens the mind.

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