In today’s twisted media world, you can get shamed for doing nothing.
Take Lady Gaga, the pop superstar chosen to perform at Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show. Given her track record, fans knew anything was possible from her performance. It’s hard to forget that meat dress ensemble.
That also meant she might uncork yet another celebrity lecture against President Donald Trump. You know, like almost every celebrity has done for the past few months.
Only when we expected Lady Gaga to zig, she zagged.
The superstar belted out her hits, including the inclusive anthem “Born This Way.” She danced like only she can. She even soared through the air. Literally.
She didn’t get on a soapbox to pound Trump’s immigration policies. She . . . entertained.
That wasn’t enough for The Washington Post, which ran an article with the headline, “Lady Gaga calls herself a rebel, but at the Super Bowl she played it safe”
“With a forceful elegance, Beyoncé had set a precedent for what could be done on this stage—musically and politically. By comparison, Gaga whiffed.”
Deadline.com seemed almost weepy that the singer didn’t embrace a hard-left position, calling the show “mediocre.” The site’s comments section, hardly a bastion of conservative thought, strongly disagreed with the assessment. “So because she decided to include sports lovers who are there for the sports and not the politics, to allow people to enjoy the day for what it is and not what you think it should include, her performance was mediocre? Wow,” wrote one.
But Lady Gaga isn’t the only star to be shamed for not using their platform for more hard-left posturing.
Taylor Swift opted against appearing at last month’s Women’s March protesting newly inaugurated President Donald Trump. But Swift did share a positive Tweet on the subject: “So much love, pride, and respect for those who marched. I’m proud to be a woman today, and every day.”
Simple. Direct. Sweet. Just like her wholesome image. Who could object to that approach?
Try Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan and PopCrush, among other outlets. They pounded Swift for not appearing at the march in person, sometimes using Twitter “outrage” as their cudgel.
Others took a nastier approach.
The Daily Beast called Swift’s support “spineless feminism” and slammed her as our “most opportunistic celebrity.”
“. . .strangely enough, Swift has no interest in leaning in to her true potential; instead, she’s resolutely tried to preserve her public image as the sweet, romantic girl next door.”
What a monster!
A columnist for The Mercury News went so far as to attack her character for not marching:
“It could be that, as a rich and famous young celebrity—who has been that way since she was in her teens—she doesn’t mingle with those who feel victimized or upset with the way things are going. She probably can’t remember ever feeling like a second-class citizen, because she’s never been one. She doesn’t feel like no one’s listening because she’s Taylor Swift, celebrity.”
The hard-left hosts of The View were split on Swift’s stance. Sunny Hostin voiced her displeasure, saying the singer must embrace her platform and “use it for good.” But which good are we talking about here? Why should Swift be bullied into doing more than her conscience allowed on this point?
The media wants to shame those rare stars who keep their politics to themselves. It’s not enough that half of Hollywood rallied to Hillary Clinton’s side in a failed attempt to drag her campaign across the finish line.
Support for the left must be 100 percent, or you are suspect in Hollywood.
Esquire attempted to shame the likes of Swift, Tom Cruise and Mark Wahlberg last October for not revealing their political preferences:
“Maybe these artists are protecting their brand? F*** that! If their brand means to sacrifice the very values that make them human and a contributing member of this society, then they live a sad, hollow life.”
And when media outlets demand stars “get political,” they mean “support the Democrats.”
If Lady Gaga or Swift had snapped a selfie showing off s red Trump hat, the crush of excoriating articles would break the Internet.
In 2012, Swift told Time why she doesn’t get on a soapbox between songs.
“. . . I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people. And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for.”
It might be the most mature statement uttered by a superstar in our modern age.
Americans are exhausted by every facet of their lives becoming politicized. Remember when the NFL was actually about football? Lady Gaga and Swift did us all a favor by refusing to participate in the latest star-studded protest meme, even if it meant a media-led flogging for not insulting half the country.
If only more celebrities would be so brave.