21 September 2008

Amnesty International Celeb Portraits?

Ken Livingstone ~ "London has always provided a haven
for those fleeing from persecution and repression. Generations
of refugees have enriched the life of this city. I fully support
Amnesty International's Respect for Refugees campaign."

Photograph © Jake Gavin.

I am not a big fan of the celebrity spokesperson. So, no surprise, I find the set of celeb portraits meant to publicize a recent Amnesty International campaign uninspired and uninspiring. It seems to me that relying on celebrities is de-politicizing because it suggests that one must be 'all that' in order to get the powers that be to pay attention. It encourages regular folks to sit back and rely on the rich and famous to speak out for them. In this instance, there is the additional problem that, other than "Red Ken" ~ who after all is a good lefty politician ~I honestly have not actually heard of any of these other people. What is the lower bound on celebrity?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Dawei_in_Beijing said...

Why is a photographer or poet speaking to social injustice any more legit than when a famous actor does it? They're all privileged elites.

21 September, 2008 13:41  
Blogger Public Squalor said...

I tend to agree with you. To my mind celebrity endorsements drag social justice issues into the realm of the frivolous.

Anyway, you've never heard of Will Ferrell or John Hurt?

Hey Dawei - I don't think it's a question of legitimacy. PR people use celebrities because they're attention magnets - whether this inspires social organizing or activism is doubtful. Also I've met a number of working class poets and photographers who hardly qualify as "elite".

peace

21 September, 2008 17:51  
Blogger Public Squalor said...

I tend to agree with you. To my mind celebrity endorsements drag social justice issues into the realm of the frivolous.

Anyway, you've never heard of Will Ferrell or John Hurt?

Hey Dawei - I don't think it's a question of legitimacy. PR people use celebrities because they're attention magnets, although I doubt this strategy inspires much social organizing or activism.

Also I've met a number of working class poets and photographers who hardly qualify as "elite".

peace

21 September, 2008 17:53  
Blogger LewLorton said...

It seems that there is no lower bound of celebrity. I was, at one time, a celebrity in my profession - now I am a footnote.

21 September, 2008 18:45  

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