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Keep entertainers out of politics

Published: March 2, 2013
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The line between entertainment and politics was blurred yet again when Michelle Obama presented the best picture Academy Award from the White House, complete with members of her military staff as apparent props (she never acknowledged or thanked them). Her short presentation speech outlined how the entertainment industry can be transformational in overcoming obstacles, with political overtones echoing and invoking virtually all of her husband's current rhetoric over the looming budget cut. The incessant confusion of entertainment with politics is a dangerous trend since so many people today assume they're one and the same. In reality, they're incompatible.

How so? Entertainment by definition is a temporary diversion from real-life conditions by a person or event so as to temporarily alleviate the worldly concerns of the recipient. Although I suppose some transformation is possible, it only occurs back in the real world after the diversional state is completed. Politics, on the other hand, is the “employment of common sense in its highest form to make serious decisions about which course of action a government should take.” (Aristotle).

The hidden irony here is that it's well-reasoned politics alone that can shape and improve the life conditions from which entertainment is trying to divert you. Using entertainers to handle real-life politics makes about as much sense as using an inebriated pilot to fly a commercial passenger jet upside down. But that, of course, is a whole other movie.

Kyle Toal, Oklahoma City