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I'm a 20 year-old computer science and math student at the University of Toronto. I was born in Toronto, and I live in Toronto. Where I'll die remains to be seen.

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The Volokh Conspiracy
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{Friday, January 17, 2003}


Hate the Sinner, Hate the Sin, Love the Album

As more and more seemingly clueless celebrities come out against a possible (sorry... impending) war on Iraq, the knee-jerk reaction of the blogosphere to this phenomenon puzzles me. To be sure, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, John Le Carre, Barbara Streisand et al don't really know what they're talking about. They either shout really loudly about how war is evil, without providing alternate solutions, or they propose ideas so poorly thought-out that it amazes me they were able to put pen to paper in the first place. The problem is, people seem to be reacting in an equally ill-considered manner.

I have come across a number of bloggers (Lileks being the most recent) who have discovered a celebrity railing against the war, decided they didn't like the politics, and consequently felt that the best course of action would be to wash their hands of any of the celebrity's work. Frankly, I don't understand why. There is no reason to deprive one's self of an enjoyable nugget of entertainment simply because you think the source is deluded. Especialy since it usually isn't that difficult to detach the artist's work from the artist themselves. With actors, that's the whole damn point. Authors, you should probably be paying more attention to the characters they create. Musicians are tough, since their views are often expressed in their music. Most likely, though, if you didn't notice before, then you probably won't notice now (perhaps because nothing was there.) In general, a celebrity's views, as ill-informed as they may seem, do not have to tarnish their otherwise entertaining work.

In short, my message is this: If you love Barbara Streisand's music (for whatever reason; I won't judge you) then go right ahead and listen to it. And when she goes on TV and makes an ass of herself by spouting gibberish, then go right ahead and laugh at her. It is possible to do both. You have the power.
posted by Dan 2:20 a.m.