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October 21 2004

Joss talks politics at the BronzeBeta. The mighty Whedon is out on the net campaigning for John Kerry.

And also posting here, so I see!

Well, he can't get everything right.

I hate when celebrities do this. Not questioning their right to do it, but I hate it.

Even if it's Joss.
I don't get why you would hate it. He's a U.S. citizen who wants to support his candidate just like millions of other volunteers. He's doing it in a way that his fanbase can get something out of it and have an enjoyable evening. If you're not a Democrat or not interested, you don't have to be a part of it, simple as that.
I think celebrities SHOULD do this. They are highly visible members of their communities. They are like walking candidate billboards. A candidate would be foolish not to take advantage of a high profile tool like a celebrity endorsement.

A celebrity endorsement would not sway me one way or the other, but I always find it interesting who has similar beliefs to my own.

And Joss' record is still clean with me. He can do NO wrong. :)
Further proof that God is a left wing atheist
Yes, I've always believed that if God did exist, even he himself would doubt in his own existence.
Let's (correctly) suppose I'm a conservative Republican who loves Buffy and all things Joss. Suppose further that I want to go to one of these events to hear about the show, behind-the-scenes fascinating tidbits, funny stuff about how it's produced, fabulous recountings of the development of story arcs...and I go to this event and I get told how stupid and wrongheaded I am because I'm not in somebody's poltical camp.

Not my idea of an enjoyable evening, blwessels. I wouldn't go to an event like this looking for a political diatribe, from any side of the political spectrum. I'm in his fanbase not because of his politics, but because of his art.
I like it when creative artists get involved in politics. The more vocal and involved our citizenry is, the better, in my opinion. I don't think artists should just be quiet and do their creative thing. Artists can play a vital role in commenting on government and society through their art and - like all of us - through their freedom to express their opinions. That is, they can do so when they're not being supressed as in, say, the McCarthy Era (U.S.), Hitler's Germany or the U.S.S.R. under Stalin. (Although note: Chris in Virigina, a fabulous and gracious soul whom I know through D.C. Buffy meetups, is not arguing for censorship and I'm not saying he is.)

Celebrities, artists (the two are not always the same thing), pundits, celebrity-pundits, pundit-celebrities, authors, scholars, other politicians, community leaders, newspaper editors - they all should weigh in on a presidential campaign if they wish to. Let their voices be out there and let other citizens agree or disagree as they wish. Ultimately any citizen of the U.S. should have the right to actively campaign for their candidate of choice as long as they do so in a legal fashion. Sure, someone like Joss can raise a lot of cash by using his name and reputation, but so can an average citizen, by working the phone bank down at campaign headquarters.

I'll admit I'm happy as a fangirl that Joss shares my political opinions since he's one of my all-time creative artists. But I have no problem with Adam being so vocal a Republican on the Official Firefly Board, or Emma being so vocal a Republican in various interviews. Or actors like Ron Silver making speeches at the Republican National Convention. And if Tim Minear wanted to throw a High Stakes party for Bush, I'd be happy for him to do so. I wouldn't contribute or attend but I love Minear's work and I respect him and his political voice.

I'm sorry you're feeling left out, Chris in Viriginia. It's an understandable feeling. If Joss were doing a High Stakes for Bush I'd be feeling left out. I am sure that there will be folks who'll post purely non-political stuff from Joss's call that you can peruse. Not an ideal solution, I know. Since I'm going to one of these parties I'll certainly contribute my own account.
My point wasn't that you should go regardless, my response was to you judging him for having political views and wanting to express them. Obviously they will be discussing things that don't interest you as it is a Democratic fundraising event for Kerry. I also love Tim Minear but I wouldn't want to go to something he was doing for Bush but I wouldn't hate that he was doing it or judge him for it either. You open up a discussion that he got it wrong and that you hate what he's doing and I comment that as an American citizen why shouldn't he. Maybe I shouldn't have just used "fanbase" but should've said his "like minded fanbase" but I figured you'd get what I meant.
Chris in Virginia - I understand exactly where you're coming from (see my most recent post in the X-Men 3 Rumors thread).

blwessels - We're bummed. I'll speak for CiV when I say this again - as fans we'd like to hear all the neato things *not* politically related and sit around with fellow Buffy fans and grin stupidly, but we're not on board with this. And I for one, am bummed. CiV did say "not questioning his right to do it", so that doesn't seem too judgy to me. Just doesn't like celebrity involvement. And that's okay. For the most part, I don't either and I've talked about it here.

Said gently - Would you not be a little bummed if Joss's parties were for Bush and CiV, Coll (I think I'm remembering correctly that Coll won't be voting for Kerry), and myself were all excitedly talking about going, reading his pro-Bush post and grinning from ear to ear?

I wish this was a "let's all have one big Buffy party" minus the political contribution. But it's his time, his opinion, and I just will be stuck reading transcripts or something. So be it. Doesn't affect my love of all things Joss.
I think that one of the duties of artists (not generic celebrities) in a democratic society is to instigate debate and to make people think. I read in the other thread a few posts of people who said that because of Joss they looked more into the elections and in that sense he has done well. Sure the main tool for artists to accomplish this democratic task is through thought-provoking art (and given the discussions about the philosophical and moral implications of Whedon's show, he managed to do that as well), but they can use other tools as well if need be (and he can hardly direct a film in the few weeks remaining before the elections, can he?).

Basically I guess I am saying the same thing as phlebotinin, except that I would like to make it stronger: Artists don't just have a right to comment on society, they have kind of a professional obligation to take part in the general debate, though off course they do not have to do it in such a direct way as Joss is doing now.
Ireland was/is founded by politicians who are/were artists and poets and writers. This is the way it should be, I think. Politicians should be dreamers. Dream up the world we want to live in. Yes, artists should be up there, speaking their - often brilliant - minds.

I'm so a U2 fan, it's not funny.
Would you not be a little bummed if Joss's parties were for Bush and CiV, Coll (I think I'm remembering correctly that Coll won't be voting for Kerry), and myself were all excitedly talking about going, reading his pro-Bush post and grinning from ear to ear?

I wouldn't. But then I also think that part of the reason there are so many Democrats/liberals/progressives/anti-Bushers around here has a great deal to do with the nature of Joss' work and a lot of the messages within them.
As a party host in Virginia, I initially thought of posting to say that Chris would be welcome at my house & that I promise not to call him stupid! But I have been overwhelmed with the response to the party, primarily people I don't know. And perhaps one or two of them will believe that the only way to express disagreement on policy is through nasty personal attacks. And so I'm sorry - it's possible CiV might not feel comfortable in my house this Sunday.

I am very pleased to have Joss as an ally. I worry that he will want to talk about politics and I will want to talk about what the heck he was thinking with the "spellcasters anonymous" storyline (number one item on my "Joss, WTF?" list). But the part of my brain that isn't Buffy obsessed is obsessed with the horror of life in the US today. Not just terrorism but all of the other problems we had before 9/11 that have gotten much worse while resources and attention have been diverted to stripteases at the airport, data mining at the public library, and a war of revenge that has made millions of Iraqis into Al Quaeda fans.
gingeriffic, I can't wait to attend your party and to meet you. I honestly can't wait. I wouldn't attack Chris in Viriginia (know him a bit; a great guy) but I agree that he probably wouldn't enjoy what he heard politically. As a Bush supporter, how could he? Oh, and what you said in your second paragraph? I agree. Completely.

Celebithil's comments sit well with me. What Caroline said, too. We need artists, and not just to make stuff to put in galleries and perform in theaters or on tv.
So if Joss was for Bush it would be okay and it would be right and fine if celebrities did this? I don't think that's what CiV was getting at. He didn't say he was bummed about not being able to participate, he thought it was wrong that celebrities get involved with politics or at least are vocal in their beliefs. I, don't agree with that. If Joss was for Bush and was doing this, I wouldn't be bummed, I wouldn't say it was wrong for celebrities to voice their opinions and I wouldn't give it a second thought. Anything he says anyway will most likely be transcribed and end up on the internet and I'll read it there. I'm not signing up for this even though I'm a democrat but I don't feel like I'm missing anything anyway.
So if Joss was for Bush.... - blwessels

Not what I meant at all because I certainly don't think that. And hey, good on you if you wouldn't be bummed about it. Take my scenario, me as a Democrat, and I'd be bummed.

I think my point was pretty clear - just would like to be able to be excited about this. I'll be gobbling up what's on the Internet, but for me - not having ever attended a con even - I'm sorry I can't participate in this. Maybe having never congregated with Joss fans anywhere but at Whedonesque (and that for a short time), this is hitting me harder. That's it. Nothing more.
Let's (correctly) suppose I'm a conservative Republican who loves Buffy and all things Joss. Suppose further that I want to go to one of these events to hear about the show, behind-the-scenes fascinating tidbits, funny stuff about how it's produced, fabulous recountings of the development of story arcs...and I go to this event and I get told how stupid and wrongheaded I am because I'm not in somebody's poltical camp.


I am sure that if Whedon advertised a Buffy event, people would go no matter their political leanings pay the entrance fee, and if they heard Whedon do nothing but bash Republicans all night it would piss everyone off Republican and Democrat, especially if they went there to hear about all things Buffy.

But if he was throwing a "I support Kerry for President event" then he is doing it as is his right as an American to support his candidate as any citizen could, and he is not the only celebrity/high profile person that does this, and have done this for years and years, from Bob Hope to Frank Sinatra.

If your a Rebublican and you go to a Whedon "I support Kerry for President event" yes you will probably hear a lot of Bush bashing, as would a Democrat that went to a Emma Caulfield "I support Bush for President event".
Angela - no you didn't say that but by implying if it was something you agreed with you'd be able to go and enjoy it. Chris never said in his first post anything about being bummed and you jumped into our disagreement making statements about what Chris meant. If you read Chris' first post, he states that Joss can't get everything right - implying he's wrong for doing this, which is judging him whether he then later says he's not questioning his right. It was in Chris' second statement where he implys that he wouldn't enjoy himself if he attended which really had nothing to do with my initial post but his answer was directed to me. I only questioned why he felt Joss Whedon, as an American shouldn't be able to support his candidate just because he's a celebrity. He's a US citizen and he's found a way that he can reach out to his fanbase who are like minded and support their candidate. And I thought that was pretty clear what I meant. I wasn't suggesting he or you go to one of these parties. But I was replied to like I didn't "get" why you wouldn't be on board or want to go when that had nothing to do with my first post. I was just questioning why Chris felt Joss, just because he is a celebrity, shouldn't do what so many others do, support their candidate.

I love Adam Baldwin and he's a Republican and he's voiced his opinion on a couple of posting boards and I strongly disagree with the way he feels so I went and just skimmed what he had to say and looked for the stuff that was just about Serenity. He feels as strongly for Bush as I feel for Kerry and he has every right to go on the internet and air his feelings as I do. But I wouldn't go out of my way to read negative stuff about Kerry. So if Joss was doing this for Bush, and it upset me to read people's happy posts, I just wouldn't read them.

Joss is an individual person with his own beliefs and views and just because he is a celebrity doesn't make his views any less than every other American and he shouldn't have to keep quite just in case he excludes some of his fans who don't feel the same way.

Maybe we are both just reading each other wrong because I don't think you got my point to Chris when you replied for him. I don't really want to get into a long discussion about this. I'm just happy Joss posted. I'm not going to any of these parties myself and I've also never been to a convention so I know where you are coming from with that. I'm sure someone will post the transcript for this with a full version and an edited one for those who are anti-Kerry so we both should be able to read about any of his Buffy-centric answers.

[ edited by blwessels on 2004-10-22 03:39 ]
giles: Further proof that God is a left wing atheist

Amen to that!

blwessels: I love Adam Baldwin and he's a Republican and he's voiced his opinion on a couple of posting boards and I strongly disagree with the way he feels so I went and just skimmed what he had to say and looked for the stuff that was just about Serenity.

I also very much enjoy Adam Baldwin's acting and he's probably a really nice guy and fun to be around as long as you don't get him talking about politics. But I also strongly disagree with his political views. Doesn't mean I will stop watching him act.

blwessels: Joss is an individual person with his own beliefs and views and just because he is a celebrity doesn't make his views any less than every other American and he shouldn't have to keep quite just in case he excludes some of his fans who don't feel the same way.

Exactly! I could not have said it better.
Well, I don't hear too many conservatives complaining about a certain Austrian actor getting involved in politics. Or a fella name o' Reagan. I hear he's pretty popular with the right wing types. I think if Joss feels he can have any influence on the race and that's his choice then more power to him.
Joss is an individual person with his own beliefs and views and just because he is a celebrity doesn't make his views any less than every other American and he shouldn't have to keep quite just in case he excludes some of his fans who don't feel the same way. - blwessels

I'm not *saying* that. Grr. Argh. (I'm clearly not articulating well.)

I actually could go and enjoy, minus the campaign contribution, and sift through the politics to hear what I'm interested in, but it's my own personal decision not to contribute to the campaign to do so (though I thought about - I did!)

I don't think we disagree as much as it's looking like, and I don't feel like going into it anymore either, because I don't think either of us is wrong here. I'm not *trying* to be argumentative. :)

That said, I've enjoyed reading your posts since I started lurking, and will continue to do so. We can chat about what we have in common - love of Joss!
ChrisinVirginia"Let's (correctly) suppose I'm a conservative Republican who loves Buffy and all things Joss. Suppose further that I want to go to one of these events to hear about the show, behind-the-scenes fascinating tidbits, funny stuff about how it's produced, fabulous recountings of the development of story arcs...and I go to this event and I get told how stupid and wrongheaded I am because I'm not in somebody's poltical camp."

Chris in Virginia, the strangest thing to me in all that is that you *know* beforehand what the event is about. It's not like Joss would have ambushed you, since from the start it's made clear that the event is about the Kerry campaign. The purpose of the event is not really hidden.

Also I don't really recall where Joss told you you were stupid. He said what he thought about Bush. If he typed 'People who like Bush are stupid' I must have missed it. And I agree with Blwessels, if Joss had happened to bt pro Bush I doubt you would still stand by the 'celebrities shouldn't do this' notion.

As on that,: Williowy "I think celebrities SHOULD do this. They are highly visible members of their communities. They are like walking candidate billboards. A candidate would be foolish not to take advantage of a high profile tool like a celebrity endorsement. "

blwessels: "Joss is an individual person with his own beliefs and views and just because he is a celebrity doesn't make his views any less than every other American and he shouldn't have to keep quite just in case he excludes some of his fans who don't feel the same way.

On both counts: exactly. Of course the notion that someone should be swayed just because a celeb is speaking is ludicrous. But the notion that they have less right to speak than others because they are celebs is just as ludicrous.

Angela"Said gently - Would you not be a little bummed if Joss's parties were for Bush and CiV, Coll (I think I'm remembering correctly that Coll won't be voting for Kerry), and myself were all excitedly talking about going, reading his pro-Bush post and grinning from ear to ear?"

Well, I understand what you mean, but I wouldn't be going because I knew what it was and that I'd disagree. And that's how I feel whenever I see Adam Baldwin's posts. There's always someone whose work you love but whose views you don't care for.

And if Adam did this thing, I wouldn't say that I hate that he did it, because I'd already know where he stood anyway.

Really, Adam, or Emma Caulfield, if they did a similar thing, more power to them. Why on earth would I object? I have no reason to go. I would prefer to go to Joss' thing. But why would I mind that they do it? I always prefer hearing people whose work I admire agree with me on topics of religion or politics or other things too, because I like it. But if not, it's no big deal. Not going to have dinner with political discussions with them anytime soon am I?

No, let them. I too feel that if anything, it's an artist's duty to speak out on topics like these.
For those of you who want to shell out $50 towards the Kerry campaign, Joss will be making an appearance in LA at a fundraiser this Sunday as well, perhaps with some Buffy/Angelverse friends, though I don't have that all confirmed.
Ed Dantes: “if anything, it’s an artists duty to speak out on topics like these”
- with you all the way there.

This is an aside, but I find it curious (and quite representative of the times we live in) how the terms ‘artist’ and ‘celebrity’ seem to be used as if they were interchangeable in various posts.

Not criticising, just observing. Too me art by definition has political connotations (as in at a minimum observing and commenting on the human condition).

Celebrity, to state the bleeding obvious, is a completely different condition.

Personally I’d settle for ‘well-known artist’ and ‘celebrity’ as two very distinctly different labels.

Just to be clear: obviously celebrities also have political opinions and have the right to state them, as all individuals do. Whether they should do so in public using their celebrity status is, as has been discussed in various posts, a whole different matter.
Celebrity = power. You can do a whole lot of good with that.
Agreed. Paris Hilton working for charity. All for it.

Dispensing her political views - er, I'd rather not hear it.
I just wanted to chime in here...I said before in an earlier thread that I too do not mind celebrities speaking their minds. I think if more people were into politics, more things could get done in Washington. Now as you all know...lol...I'm a republican...but I actually admire when people, and yes...celebrities are people too...who use their rights and speak up. I may not believe in the same political ideaolgy that Joss does but it's only when people get involved that things get done. It's when people DON'T vote...I get fired up!!!
"It's when people DON'T vote...I get fired up!!!" - Coll

Especially when they then complain about the way things are in Washington!

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