Hollywood actors and “cognitive dissonance”

12 10 2009

In the comments of a Wednesday open thread on the Noodlefood blog, KPO’M mentioned the “cognitive dissonance” he has in respect to the band U2:

“………how do you handle the cognitive dissonance? In my case, I like U2. Although many of the lyrics have a Christian element to them (particularly from the Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby), and Bono annoys me sometimes with his political activism, I like the group’s musical style, and particularly The Edge’s minimalist style with the electric guitar.”

I think I know exactly what he means.  Because I get turned off by hollywood actors all the time.  The latest is the idiot Will Ferrell.  I actually like his dumb comedies.  But now that he has gone and done an ad supporting socialised health care, it’s a real turn off.  Another example is Sean Penn.  I like his acting in several movies, but when it comes to politics, what an idiot!  Visiting Hugo Chavez and allowing himself to be a poster boy for human life destroying socialism!
There are so many examples of hollywood celebrities who, when it comes to politics simply spout some intellectually stunted lefty BS and effectively put an “I’m stupid” sign on their heads.  This doesn’t mean they’re bad actors, but it’s still a real turn off.  It could mean that they are more likely to choose to make movies with plots dominated by pragmatic or subjectivist type ideals, and that’s something I try to avoid.

If only actors just stuck to acting.

I wrote a reply to KPO’M’s comments that was effectively just a brainstorming session rather than any coherent point argument.  However the main thrust of my thinking was that the art work is an end in itself and should be pursued with gusto, no matter the politcal views tacked on by the artist (which are secondary to the art itself anyway).  Particularly with respect to music which is not objectively understood, I simply pursue music that attracts me.

However I liked and wanted to record a reply to KPO’M by William Stoddard who I interpret to be saying (basically) that it can be the passion itself that one is attracted to in an artwork – not so much the subject of the passion.

“And I think I’d say that what I look for in literature is not so much characters who are taking the right actions ethically. It’s characters who value something strongly . . . and something that makes sense to me at some level . . . and who are pursuing what they value with unusual integrity and persistence, despite the difficulties they face.”

Perhaps Bono appeals because he’s sincere, motivated, caring and dramatises his emotions effectively  – even though Bono’s political views are immoral, logically contradictory and idiotic (IMO).  Bono is quite likely passionate about his political views and they inspire his art.  Perhaps this passion is conveyed effectively in the art and provides common ground between KPO’M’s sense of life and Bono’s.

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