She is a well-respected actress who has starred in blockbuster after blockbuster and earned millions.
Why is she there?
Well, we know why she’s there, don’t we? The political powers or her own ego figure her fame and expertise in a field we admire will influence all who see her and thereby drive the upcoming vote in the desired direction.
What irritates me the most is I think the opinion manipulators and/or the ego are correct. The beloved actress can influence votes just because of who she is.
But what makes her opinion more important than anyone else’s?
The truth is—nothing.
Now, if she were discussing how to block a scene, or bring forth an emotion, or rate a story, then it’s time to pay attention. Because it’s reasonable to assume she’s an expert in those areas.
But because she is knowledgeable on one subject doesn’t mean she is on others.
It must be a heady thing, knowing that people like you so much you can influence how they think and act? Even when you don’t know that much about the field which you’re trying to influence. After all, the actress was expressing her personal choice, not a well-reasoned conclusion born from an exhaustive study.
I believe people who have earned our respect, from the work they do or the personal lives they lead, have an obligation not to trespass beyond their area of expertise. We should learn to detect it if they do, and immediately question their competence.
As a teacher I felt this keenly. Students have a natural respect for their instructors (well, most of them do), and that was scary. I have one and only one knowledge area—mathematics. Nothing else. So if I venture outside that area, my views should be suspect, at least as far as attempts to influence others are concerned.
The problem I had was students occasionally would ask questions about my religious affiliation, political beliefs, or other matters of opinion. They never received an answer. Instead I explained that, outside of math, my feelings were no more to be trusted than anyone else’s, including their own. I had no right to influence them in any way.
Teaching and entertainment are not the only fields from which people might unduly influence others. What are possibilities?
Certainly doctors and other medical providers. Some have blatantly stated their political views while others are more subtle by selecting specific channels on the blaring waiting room TV. These people are competent in their medical areas, hopefully, and that’s it. Everything else is opinion no better than your own.
Reporters (not columnists).
I’m sure the list goes on.
Now, I’m not saying anyone should hold back their personal views when socializing with friends and such interplay is expected. I’m talking about public stands outside one’s own area intended to alter the thinking of others who are unknown.
Unfortunately, it’s probably reasonable to expect that these influences will continue to be foisted upon us. So, when presented with an opinion that is more a request/command to act a certain way, we should ask ourselves if the person has the expertise required to make the suggestion. If so, we should listen, evaluate, and then decide. If not, we should ignore it altogether. Of course, in neither event should we accept without question.
As in so many other situations, if we are manipulated, it’s our own fault.
By the way, I am not unmindful of the irony that I preach weekly in this space on subjects way beyond my expertise. So, yes, you should question everything you see here—because your opinion is just as valid as mine, and, as far as you’re concerned, much more so.