Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why What They Said

By: William G. Muir

Usually once a week one of the bloggers here on Bite My Book will look up a quote from someone famous and write what it brings to mind. I don't know about my colleague here, but this is something I enjoy doing. For years now I have spent countless hours looking up things that people I have admired have said. I feel like it gives me a peak into who they were as a person. Though I don't think it tells me everything about who they are/were.

Whenever I run across a quote that I particularly like I will often times post it to my Facebook news feed. On some occasions I have even found a photo that I think illustrates what the speaker was trying to say, and I will place quote onto the photo.

What types of quotes do I like? What kind do I post on my Facebook account? I like quotes from tv shows and books that I enjoy. Doctor Who, The Big Bang Theory, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series have all been fertile ground for quotes that I have passed along to those on my friends list. There is always something clever, or witty said that I just have to share with others. I also like to quote scientist such as Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Albert Einstein, and far to many more to list. These people have made it their life's work to understand the world, the universe that we live in. I feel like it is my duty to help pass along to others what it is they have learned.

But as I scan through the post that I receive in my Facebook newsfeed I see something that disturbs me. People who post celebrity opinions as if they are fact. Well maybe not so much as fact, but as advice for the way you should live your life. It just makes me want to take my laptop and throw it up against the wall and watch it smash into a million tiny little pieces. 

What makes people think these celebrities know something the rest of the population doesn't?

In all truth celebrities should be the last people that anyone takes advice from. I grant it they have a right to say whatever it is they want, the first amendment grants them that privilege. And they should be able to speak out on political matters. We live in a democracy and everybody is entitle to voice their opinions. But what they have to say should not be given anymore weight than the average person on the street. 

Why is it that I am attacking those that would post celebrity quotes you might be asking? It is because people post this on their Facebook accounts as if these celebrities have access to some kind of secret knowledge, when in fact often times celebrities are just plain wrong about things.  

If you have some kind of trend you want to promote just get yourself some celebrity to plug your product. It doesn't matter if the claims you are making are true are not, you got some big name athlete or some good looking Hollywood actor on your payroll, so it must work. You don't believe me, I will give you an example. Several years back there was company that was selling bracelets with holographic images in embed in them that were said to resonate with the body's natural energy fields. (Just let me point one thing out, there are no such thing as energy fields. Energy is nothing more than the measure of work done.) A number of big time athletes endorsed this product. Making claims that it helped improve their game. 

There was even an endorsement agreement between the company selling the bracelets and the NBA. 

In the end it turned out the bracelets were a scam. Several double blinded test (scientific testing) proved time and time again that the claims that these bracelets had any effect on the human body could not be proven. It was nothing more than plain old pseudoscience. Just modern day snake oil.

But I think the thing that disturbs me the most is when people post video clips or quotes from comedians as if what was being said were the great truths of our times. First of these quotes and videos clips are often take out of context of the joke they are part of. And second of all they are jokes. They are only meant to make people laugh, not to be the bedrock of somebody's way of life.

The job of a comedian is to point out to us the absurdity of our everyday lives. Once again they are not privy to some secret knowledge. The things they are making fun of are things that we are already aware of. Things that we don't have time to stop and think of because we are too busy trying to live our lives. And it has to be things we know of, otherwise we wouldn't a clue of what they are talking about. '

So if comedians are only pointing out things we already know, why are their people that think we should follow what these people have to say? I just don't get it. These people on stage are just telling you the things you take for granted. Yes some of them may be making fun of the political system or politicians, but in the end they never offer up any kind of alternative. There is no real vision in what it is they are saying. 

I think why this really bothers me is because of the kind of people that are posting these celebrity quotes. It is the sort of person that claims to be a freethinker. They will sit their and criticize others for not thinking for themselves, for being a sheep that buys into everything the big corporate media is selling to the masses. They will look down their noses at people who take medical advice from people like Jenny McCarthy. But then they turn around and think that people like Bill Maher really know what is going on. 

When in reality Bill Maher has no real clue about anything he is saying and will say about anything because someone is signing a check.    


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