William Bradley Pitt, who is popularly known as Brad Pitt, born in 1963, has become to be recognized as one of America’s and the world’s greatest actors and filmmakers. Having received numerous awards and credit for his outstanding performance in this field, Brad has been in the focus of media attention for many years. The actor has created a stir in the field of entertainment with some media houses describing him as one of the most attractive men. This trait could be relevant in the field of entertainment. However, the euphoria that has begun with the rise of this celebrity and his influence in society is, perhaps, the cause of the immense attention with which this individual has been accorded. After his humble role in a movie labeled Thelma and Louise, Brad has become a significant public. However, the most important part of his career, as analyzed by many scholars and sociologists, is his major impact in the field of politics due to the mass movement which comes arises from the celebrity status. This fact has led many researchers and students of political science to focus on the phenomenon of celebrity status and its influence on the politics. This paper explores the topic, “celebrity and political engagement”. Brad Pitt’s engagement in politics and his project, Make it Right are used as an example. Through the specific analysis, this essay will focus on the influence of celebrity on politics, the fame and ability of celebrity politician, and the risk of the celebrity politician culture.
Brad Pitt’s engagement in the humanitarian and political activities became so significant that the media shifted their attention towards the political phenomenon among the celebrities from their influence on entertainment and fashion. Pitt is known to have supported numerous campaigns, both political and humanitarian. He participated in the campaign of John Kerry, a presidential election candidate, and a fierce opponent of the elected president, George Bush Jr. He has also taken part in numerous campaigns including the campaign to eradicate HIV and AIDS by raising awareness. But perhaps the most significant of his contributions in such activities was the launching of the Make it Right campaign that has gained him both credit and criticism.
Celebrities like Brad Pitt have the strong ability to influence the first time voters. The way in which they can affect politics by inducing the swing vote phenomenon among young voters is a complex and interesting concept. This process begins with celebrity idolization, an effect that has recently come under review of numerous scholars attempting to explore how strong celebrities can influence young voters. It has been noted that the youth can be easily swayed by pioneer projects started by such celebrities. Young people are often ignoring all other aspects of such projects like critical analyzing of them or how celebrities use them to enhance their fame and raise the popularity of political ideology. Among many public campaigns began by Brad Pitt, the Make it Right campaign was received differently among individuals. Most of the experts have continued to criticize this move based on the credibility of such a project. Curiously, that the youth accepted it with much attention due to the fact that they have always idolized Brad Pitt. The concept of celebrity idolization is a bit complex, but here is a brief review of how it becomes apparent.
The American youth have shown a very high level of obsession for celebrities. This fact has haunted generation after generation with many youths attempting to ape celebrity actions. Partially, the media is to blame for this new trend. From early childhood, the media bombards the children with numerous images of film or sport stars while glorifying their actions. The result is that the mind of almost every growing child becomes filled up with information about celebrities and their fame. The stars often receive great exposure and airplay even when glorifying vices in the society. Brad Pitt’s celebrity influence will therefore become predictable in this context. While introducing numerous projects, the Make it Right campaign among them, Brad Pitt received a lot of media attention based on the fact that it was close to the election date and that he supported John Kerry. The obvious result is that the youth, who was growing up at that time, will support his ideology while have a bias for that celebrity. This fact can be projected by the general election in which Brad Pitt sided with John Kerry in opposing another candidate. The poll results projections constantly showed that Kerry was heavily supported by the youth.
The obsession for celebrities is often founded on their excellence. Often the stars start with a humble beginning and rise to fame. But could this celebrity excellence phenomenon be a creation of the media? Observers have continued to argue that the media has been notorious for creating artificial excellence in some individuals that are preferred among some people. The result of this is that the media gains immense influence on the masses through these popularized people. However, this process could be perceived as a conspiracy theory since the rise of most of the celebrities to stardom has been genuine. Our case has put great emphasis on Brad Pitt and how he has gained great control of the youth and young voters creating the popular swing vote phenomenon.
This swing vote phenomenon can only be defined from the culture of idolizing celebrities. Recent studies have deeply examined celebrity idolization by adolescents and young adults. Sociologists have claimed that phenomenon involves two different concepts; worship and modeling. Being self-explanatory, modeling has been defined as referring to the imitation of celebrities or trying to dress like them. Worship, in its turn, refers to the intense reverence and admiration to such individual. The research that explored celebrity idolization among different age groups and between the two genders had the interesting conclusion. Its results show that celebrity idolization reduces with age so that at around mid-adulthood this obsession declines to a significant extent among the different individuals. But what could explain that many adults swayed to support the candidates advanced by celebrities and support John Kerry in recent general election?
As was stated earlier, the concept of celebrity influence on politics is a complex and interesting entity worth exploring. Brad Pitt has been used in many models by scholars attempting to decipher the influence of famous people in politics as they have been increasingly used by politicians to affect the masses. Brad Pitt can be considered an ideal celebrity. However, his keen participation in numerous charity projects and campaigns leaves a lot to question. Could this be a master plan in a bid to influence American politics by moving his supporters? Despite this question sounding rhetoric, it can be explored in different ways. It can be easily noted by any careful observer that celebrities like Brad Pitt, who have been in the entertainment industry for long, have many supporters in all age groups. This effect can be explained with the fact that his generation of supporters have grown together with him. Consequently, his supporters still have an admiration for him regardless that idolization is rare at mid adulthood. This statement can then explain the ability of Brad Pitt to affect many individuals including adults contrary to the accepted concept that celebrities only tend to influence young voters.
Results of studies on celebrity influence on politics can be confusing. The researches assumed that majority of the voters influenced by celebrities were drawn from first time voters. Still, poll results showing the activity of numerous groups of people indicate that less than 50% of this age group participate in elections. Moreover, these individuals represent only 9% of total voters that participate in general elections. The Brad Pitt phenomenon has opened a lot of debates on the influence of celebrities on politics that seems not exhaustive. When middle-aged people were asked whether they trusted what was advanced by Brad Pitt, most of them claimed that they did not take time to analyze the details of his ideology. They rather supported his ideas based on the fact that he was a celebrity and was considered as a model by many individuals. Scholars have stated that if people consider you to be a model, they often follow your ideology and tend to concur with your decisions based on the role you play in their lives. This affirmation is true in our context.
Political experts have concluded that lack of adequate political knowledge coupled with loyalty to a politician based on his support by a celebrity makes the swing vote phenomenon a reality. These individuals are therefore subjects to star influence. Hence, the possibility of celebrities to shape personal opinion is extremely amazing. In a society like Americans where the whole population is civilized and uses modern technologies, the media certainly has influence on almost everybody. It has even been discovered that certain celebrities such as Brad Pitt are even more popular as compared to some politicians. One would wonder how this becomes possible. It is simple; celebrities get much more media attention as compared to any other set of individuals due to their numerous appearances on various events and celebrity shows.
Brad Pitt is a little different in the way he has gained media coverage. His participation in numerous charitable projects has provided him with more than expected attention of the medias. He becomes relevant both in the field of entertainment and the field of politics. It would be extremely difficult to ignore such an individual due to the positive reputation portrayed by the media regarding such personalities. The masses will therefore definitely side with them considering the fact that most of the voters have little political knowledge and facts. Consequently, the result of the celebrity influence through the media will be dramatic.
The risk of celebrity culture developing within the society is real. One just needs to look at how intense the influence of celebrities on the masses has been to realize the significance of this claim. The youth have been increasingly obsessed with stars to the extent that it would be exceedingly difficult to have an adequate response to an event without the presence of a celebrity. This trend is worrying. Not all celebrities have championed good values within the society. In fact, most of the vices such as drug abuse and crimes have been glorified by stars. Yet the most important implication of this fact is the recent role of celebrities in politics. This effect has been welcomed differently. The role of celebrities in promoting good values has come under sharp critic yet most of them are becoming more involved in politics and influencing the politics of the day. The future projects to a time when it would be exceedingly difficult to win an election without involving celebrities.
The fact that the media has failed to show the different sides of an individual and tends to concentrate on the good side of celebrities makes the masses adore such people and it would be very difficult convince them otherwise.
Brad Pitt has received a lot of media attention as an individual. He has been the guest of station after station with neither getting enough of him. This can be explained due to the fact that his celebrity status was both the fields of entertainment and politics. His role in politics has sparked many debates on whether celebrities will be the focus of future elections, introducing a new yet interesting twist in the political world. All in all, Brad Pitt has become recognized and loved by the public with equal measure. However, it is his role in politics that has sparked the recent focus on celebrities and their influence on politics thereby inspiring many studies into this new concept.