Friday, January 25, 2008

Strange New World

Isn't it a strange new world we live in? I'm not just talking about all the techno advances and discoveries that occur every day, almost every minute. I'm also not referring to war (always been around), climate change or any of the usual things the media slaps in our face every day.

I'm talking (or actually writing) about movie stars and musicians. In this particular instance, movie stars, musicians and military.

I find it funny sometimes that people get so hyped about those robber baron business owners. The guys that pay people's wages, produce the products in their homes and provide food to us all.

What about the "stars" that make so, so much money? Our true "elite" upper class. Our royalty. They spend a million dollars on a wedding and we think it's cool. They live in a world were one day's fun could feed a town in Africa. They wear a suit or dress that would pay for a full quarter for a student at most colleges. They have a party that costs more than a house.

We drool over their life-style and want it for our own. Well, not me, but I certainly wouldn't turn down the money!

They live in a bubble, looking out on the masses. Yes, they have their pet causes and some of them really make a strong effort to make a difference. I definitely don't begrudge them their money or the efforts of some to make a positive difference in the world.

I just find it interesting that we have such a problem with business men and women who scramble every day to make their company productive and profitable, yet we give our "hero" stars a complete pass.

Taking that one step further, I can't believe the credence we give to the opinions of our entertainers. They don't have access to anything more than you and I when it comes to news. Yes, they may know a few more politicians than the average bear, but you know as well as I that politicians of a certain slant are going to provide information to folks that supports their point of view. Slanted.

So some musician or movie star states their opinion on the war, the economy, the President or politics and the world listens. Those who worship at the altar of stardom suck up every pearl of "wisdom" (cough, cough) that drops from their heroes lips and then they spout the same views.

We give so much power and credence to people just because they have musical or acting talent combined with the luck that plucked them from a plethora of others with similar talent to stardom.

Here's the story that sparked that toxic rant (I happen to think Bono is doing a lot of good, please don't infer from my words above that I have any problems with him. I like U2, too ;-)

Bono, Gates Discuss Africa During Singer's Pentagon Visit
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

In the Pentagon, "U2" usually refers to an Air Force high-altitude spy plane, but this week it referred to the rock group, as lead singer Bono met with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Jan. 22.

"It's a matter of age that I thought U2 was an airplane," Gates told a Pentagon news conference today.

For years, the Irish rocker has championed relief to Africa, the world's poorest continent. Bono took advantage of a trip to Washington to meet with Gates.

The secretary said today that he was very impressed with Bono and his knowledge of the situation in Africa.

The singer had read a speech Gates delivered at Kansas State University in November "and had liked a lot what I said about also strengthening the non-military side of the U.S. face abroad," Gates said.

During that speech, Gates said that one of the most important lessons from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is that military success is not sufficient to win the war on terror. A soft-power approach -- using all aspects of government -- is needed. This include economic development, nation-building, establishing the rule of law, promoting internal reconciliation, good governance, providing basic services, training and equipping indigenous military and police forces, and strategic communications.

The secretary spoke with Bono about establishing U.S. Africa Command. "He did share some of the concerns that he has heard," Gates said. "We gave him some information on AFRICOM, and he was not ... hostile to it. I would say that he was open-minded about it and just recommended that we take care in how we proceeded."

The meeting went for about 20 minutes, Pentagon officials said. The singer was not wearing his trademark sun glasses, according to Pentagon employees who saw the singer arrive.

Gates said the singer seemed very well informed.

The secretary also said his daughter "nearly had an aneurysm when I told her who I was meeting with."

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