Friday, May 27, 2005

Argument re certain celebrities and their (fans') politics.....

"Pre-Election 2004 Fracas....(Aurey making trouble, like hyper-intellectual Bolshevik...)"

Old news, old bit of an affair online that I was involved in last year regarding David Soul's comments re the then-upcoming presidential election...but a large part of this this goes under the heading, actually, of why I do think that celebrities deserve to have their views listened to seriously--at least as seriously as anyone else's who hasn't got that level of visibility, or an audience of fans to care what comes out of their mouths.

This material was compiled 28 October 2004 from various posts, all commenters' names/mails/groups but mine are deleted for civility's sake. Altough I'm quite sure they'd try to have my head if they ever read this out in the open.....
Date: Fri, 27 May 2005
From: "K. Aurencz Zethmayr"
Subject: Pre-Election Fracas....(Aurey making trouble, like hyper-intellectual Bolshevik...)

Here's the whole progression of things I actually said back then....there are a lot of things that other people said in the meantime which, as I mentioned, I still have saved in Daily Digest email-format. Anyhow.....*snickers*....enjoy...

=====(28 October, 2004--to "Striped Tomato's Revenge")=====

Okay....this is a fight I'm still fuming over, but I guess it sums up
the insular nature of a lot of Starsky & Hutch fangroups, and of most fangroups
in general. I say one thing that happens to highlight political
opinion, and a whole firestorm fills the message lists...just
beautiful. And of course no one bothers to think about the content
of either "original message" here.

But anyhow--the subject line is perfectly readable, so anyone who
didn't want to read this can ignore/delete it in their mail without
further ado. I'm merely reversing the order of the original top-
posted reply and its catalyst-excerpt, so that maybe the whole
thought will have the effect I originally meant.


Subject: Re: Why does David live in Britain? ("Talking

--- [previous message, name and group deleted]
Hi all,

I just found this wonderful article obviously written by David that
tells us all about, why he came to England in the first place and a
lot more, too. Enjoy!

My home is where my art is
When David Soul was growing up on the
prairies of America's Midwest, he never imagined that, aged 61, he'd
be sitting in a grey council office, pledging his allegiance to the
Queen of England. Here, he explains how it happened...
20 October 2004

The initiation ceremony at the Haringey Civic Centre was sweet and
warm, not unlike early memories of being welcomed by the principal on
the first day of school... except that then, with my hand over my
heart, I would have pledged allegiance to the United States of
British citizenship does not mean that I am cutting my ties with
America. My children and my ageing parents still live in the States,
so I'll be visiting them, and I will be voting in the US presidential
election next month (if my vote actually gets counted). God help us
if George Bush is re-elected. Still, my choice is to belong here, and
in that belonging, I rejoice. Finally.

[and then my reply, based on that statement and well-apparent concern
for the integrity of the voting/election process]

Okay, I'm going to take a wild guess that no one here had any
intention of talking politics (just like some of my mother's

Nevertheless, I'm going to break the ice with a proverbial
sledgehammer and say, damn right!!--God help this country and the
whole world if we get another four years of Bush. I am sick and
tired of being ashamed of this nation's actions under the Bush
Administration, and of our global reputation turning into that of an
incipient (if not manifest) Fourth Reich. I was raised to believe in
integrity and social ethics, not to mention to think for myself--I
guess being educated in the post-Watergate spirit tends to do that to
a person.

The blind nationalism, greed, and self-righteous arrogance I have
seen over the past four years have cost us dearly both in lives and
in quality of living, and they have gravely set back the cause of
humanity itself in the world. The United States is being tested--in
rather literally Biblical fashion, though most seem curiously blind
to this--and I certainly pray it can muster itself to pass the ordeal
and regain its honour, for the sake of all.

There. Now I'm going to go back to work on making politically-
incendiary gravestones for the front yard...I'll blend them in with
the rest of the ghastly decor......


(now trying to figure out just where the gulags will most logically
be established in a second-term Bush presidency....

===(elapsed time of indirect arguing over all this)===

"OT": Personal/Political, Fiction/Reality

[general letter]

I have to say, I'm really quite amazed that with all the ruckus this caused on the list, no one posted here to address me in the least over having started it. But then, I'm hardly a member of the fantelligentsia by nature.

At any rate, I am making this letter perfectly conspicuous for any reader to ignore and delete unread, as some of you seem of a type to do. But I thought perhaps, if you *had* gotten upset over my comments, you just might care to hear the reasoning behind them, and my own response to some of the reactions that have been going on around me.

First off: my comment was not technically "off-topic"--it was on the topic of part of what David said in his article. The fact that it happened to to be agreeing with and elaborating on a "political" statement, as opposed to any other topic, is of no importance save to those who avoid "talking politics" (i.e., hearing any actual challenge to their views, no matter what they are or how shallowly formed) like the plague.

And logically, I would *never* have posted such a comment gratuitously on this list. I own about ten groups myself, of various kinds--so I understand the importance of keeping things relevant. I also indicated clearly what the salient facet was of the message that I was responding to--i.e., "talking politics". Right there in the title line. Anyone who actually *wanted* to avoid talking politics could have simply ignored or deleted right there instead of complaining indirectly for the better part of a week.

Enough of that point, though...what really surprises me, in this group, is how many people seem to assume that a person's personal life and values can be discretely separated from the political views resulting therefrom, and the end choices (so far as elections go) conveniently ignored.

If I really care about and admire a person and their work, celebrity or not, I am truly interested in how they think, what they feel, what goes on in their life and the choices they have made therefrom. That's acknowledged, at least with a token sensitivity, as a major part of every fangroup I've ever seen.

So what makes it so taboo to mention the "politics" side of this when it's impossible to make a clear division between personal and political, between values and the choices that are made thereby? At least they indicate that a person *is* thinking, *is* operating according to some strongly-formed principles.

Just about every "serious" fangroup that I have seen about David and Paul takes note of and promotes their areas of activism as well as their creative work. And these do not come out of any frivolous or self-aggrandizing motivations, either, as I am well aware. And yet somehow, when it comes down to the wire of who they'd vote for, a person can seriously and hopefully say, "Well, people do change"?

So, there's the other tack--"Ah well, too bad they're flawed by not agreeing with my views" (paraphrasing of course)--let's all just get away from reality and focus on fiction, think about the boys and how sexy they are...rather than for a moment realizing that that very fiction is *not* the opposite of reality.

For heaven's sakes, this was a rather topical and explicitly-drawn TV series to begin with, and even the sheer sense of social purpose itself draws a line that is hard to ignore. Names may well not be named, "but the problems are real"--and whenever you have real problems, and realistic characters who deal with them and battle the real underlying evils of the system in which they live...well, where exactly are you hoping to escape to?

Off-duty utopias, perpetually, I suppose--places where it doesn't matter that even fictional characters are shaded with motives and values too, and that beneath the surface of sex appeal--and ingrained *with* the emotional closeness and loyalty that we all can see and resonate with--there are some elements of this that just might draw near to "political views" as well, applied to this same situation at hand.

But you're all quite free to ignore such niggling thoughts.


P.S.--Anyone who actually wishes to argue with me off-list is welcome to do so--I am not averse to challenge, and the only thing I ask is well-supported views. Actual evidence, if you will--and logic, not hearsay.

From: "David Michael Starsky" <aureantyev@y...>
Date: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:08 am
Subject: Re: "OT": Personal/Political, Fiction/Reality [LAST POST

--- In ----, ----... wrote:

This discussion was ended last night and will remain so but since
you seem to think it was so on topic I've pasted your email Friday Oct 22
below. No where in that post was David or Paul mentioned. It was clearly
you stating your political opinions. It didn't belong on this list nor did
the responses.
This is the last post I'm going to make on this. I repeat take it
off list.
(name deleted)

Dear (name deleted)--

"This discussion" (meaning the original one) was ended, so to speak,
unilaterally, without any resolution save that of censorship--and
frankly, the email of mine that you so thoughtfully provided was also
truncated of what I was actually referring/replying to

Which was the relevant paragraph of David's article where he says,
and I quote exactly, "God help us if George Bush is re-elected." I
happened to agree with him very emphatically on that sentiment, and
that was the sole reason why I posted as I did--i.e., because it was
not my opinion alone. Thank you so much for taking my remarks out
of their original context and totally misrepresenting my intentions.

Would it have been technically on-topic just so long as I mentioned
his name directly?

That latest "OT" post, btw, was a 'new' topic in the sense of trying
to bring up some general issues relative to Paul and David and their
personal values
without naming other names or making any specific
political issue of it again.

But again, thank you for assuming my complete ill intentions. I have
no intention of posting anymore here on the "forbidden" topic--and if
you wish to argue against me
directly on this matter, please come
off-list and do so. My case is closed as of this post.


===================================(and the last exchange here)===

-- In ----, ----... wrote:
How come people are allowed to talk about RED SOX but not politics?
Who are RED SOX and what sport do they play? I guess Paul supports them,
that's why we are allowed to talk about them? Just as we are allowed to talk
about politics because, in his recent article, David talks about not wanting Bush
to win?
With the election only a week away I guess this subject would have died a
natural death in a week or so anyway but its very hard not to be interested in
how David and Paul feel about the election of the most powerful man in the
**name deleted**

(Trying not to mention that I am inclined to believe that all those not
wanting the thread to continue were Republicans)

Oh, of course they are (I reply confidentially from the site)....and moreover, they know that they haven't got a leg to stand on logically...therefore making the topic off-limits is the only way to make sure their own opinions aren't critically assaulted, demolished, etc.

Personally, I think that most of the people who say they're voting for Bush, even though his policies will only hurt them more in the long run, are actually secretly afraid 'cause they haven't real evidence to back him on--only propaganda and peer pressure. Still, they're even more afraid of being proven wrong in their trust, and pride is a powerful force. Even though the only people in this country who can trust in Bush have to be making at least $200,000 a year to afford that luxury of ignoring the good of everything and everyone else--if they so choose.

But the Talmud says (and I quote this off the tag of an herbal tea bag), "You can educate a fool, but you cannot make him think."

I think that's the lesson for the past week, actually...


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