Clueless WaPo Urges Hollywood to Push Vaccines


One of the most embarrassing aspects of modern Hollywood is its penchant for PSAs.

Some stars serve up messaging for noble causes, like Ben Affleck’s work on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Other celebrity PSAs, though, get far more attention.

Unfortunately.

Consider the crush of star-studded PSAs tied to Donald Trump’s rise. The Avengers assembled to derail his 2016 presidential campaign via the “Save the Day” spot. More stars gathered following that year’s election to persuade electors from making Trump the nation’s 45th president.

The celebrity PSAs typically feature:

  • Stars sans makeup
  • Crude camera work
  • Repetition of key phrases
  • Pained expressions

Conservatives famously mocked its tropes so hard it’s a miracle the format survived.

Alas, it did.

The recent “I Take Responsibility” PSA, featuring white stars denouncing racism, is as cringe-worthy as it gets. Even liberal media outlets noted the backlash.

Now, The Washington Post wants actors to coax us to take their medicine. Cultural critic Alyssa Rosenberg thinks Hollywood should rally ’round the COVID-19 vaccines.

It shouldn’t take a global pandemic and an existential threat to its core business model to convince a supposedly liberal industry such as Hollywood to stamp out — or at least step up to — the pernicious falsehoods that animate anti-vaccine sentiments.

History, she claims, offers a blueprint for such a measure.

It’s astonishing, though, that the industry hasn’t mobilized a pro-vaccine campaign. There’s a model for this, including the role Elvis Presley played in polio vaccination efforts.  It’s also a lot easier to record public service announcements from people’s living rooms than it is to stand up and staff an operation such as the Hollywood Canteen, the social club for servicemembers that the industry operated during World War II as both a public service and public relations tool.

She noted a 64-year-old Presley anecdote to buttress her argument. Do you think pop culture has changed a tad since then? Presley represented a true icon, a larger than life star who didn’t lecture us about how to vote or other hot button issue.

He sang, swiveled his hips and brought joy to millions. Only later did he wade into politics, an awkward turn captured in the recent “Elvis & Nixon.”

Today’s stars rarely follow the vintage Presley blueprint. Sure, they still make movies, shoot TV shows and sing toe-tappin’ hits. They also scold us for voting the wrong way, call us names for not aligning with their precise world views and live hypocritical lives that beg for self-examination.

Leonardo DiCaprio, we’re talking about you.

It gets worse, though.

Complacency toward vaccine skepticism should have ended years ago. The industry owes it to the public, and to everyone who creates movies, to make up for lost time by telling the truth about vaccines as loudly and as often as possible.

Truth and Hollywood are the oddest of odd couples, above and beyond content that blatantly lies about recent history.

The modern star traffics in Fake News with alarming regularity. Late night comedians are often the worst offenders given their massive platforms, but they have plenty of company. Stars like Rob Reiner, John Cusack and Bette Midler spread the most outrageous rhetoric tied to President Trump and the GOP.

Suffice to say President Trump has only a few weeks left to start rounding up gay people as director Joss Whedon predicted.

Stars share false information with their millions, and millions, of social media followers sans fact checks or apologies.

Celebrities also rejoice when Republicans get sick, a nauseating trend that isn’t isolated to President Trump.

Even worse?

A gaggle of celebrities, from late night hosts to former King of All Media Howard Stern, spent months feting Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Yes, the same New York politician who mishandled the pandemic in epic proportion is now the subject of near-constant celebrity fawning.

More recently, stars have shoved their elitism in our faces.

Think Pete Davidson, the “Saturday Night Live” comic who trashed fellow Staten Islanders for protesting dubious lockdowns crushing their businesses. Meanwhile, Davidson still collects a paycheck while performing for an audience on set via a legal loophole.

Consider how Colbert and co. mocked lockdown protesters earlier this year, showing this arrogance wasn’t an “SNL” one-off.

And these are the stars meant to rally a beleaguered nation to get their COVID-19 vaccines?

Complacency toward vaccine skepticism should have ended years ago. The industry owes it to the public, and to everyone who creates movies, to make up for lost time by telling the truth about vaccines as loudly and as often as possible.

The worst thing Hollywood could do is to shoot a smug, repetitive PSA telling us to take the vaccine. The proposal for ex-presidents — Bush, Obama and Clinton — to take the test together as a sign of good faith is far more beneficial.

The only way a celebrity PSA might work is if a very select group of stars anchored the cause.

  • Dolly Parton
  • Chris Pratt
  • Kevin Hart
  • Gal Gadot

What do they have in common? They entertain first and foremost. They don’t lecture audiences, nor do they insult the folks who make them rich and famous. They’re a dwindling group, sadly, but hearing them extol the vaccine’s virtues might actually do some good.

They retain the goodwill celebrity affords them.

Otherwise, Hollywood should stand down and let the doctors do their best on the vaccine front.

WaPo reader “Johnny Oldfield” said it best in the article’s comments section:

you mistakenly believe that Hollywood has the unifying cultural influence that it had during the Second World War. It most certainly does not now. No one wants to hear from actors and actresses and their opinions in regards to the vaccine. They would do more harm to the effort than good.





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