Needless to say, the last few years have been very politically divisive. Politics are absolutely everywhere, and it often seems like there is no real escape.
That’s especially true when you turn on a TV or cruise onto your favorite social media platforms. It won’t take long before you see actors spouting off about politics or even pop culture outlets treating politicians as celebrities.
Obviously, everyone has the right to express their thoughts and feelings. But celebrities and pop culture used to provide an escape from a world of stress-inducing politics. Now, there is no escape at all.
Here are the biggest signs that pop culture needs to take a good, long break from politics!
Kamala Harris Vogue cover sparks backlash
Newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris is featured on the cover of Vogue’s February 2021 issue. But when photos of the print edition cover were released online in January, it caused a major controversy.
Everything from her choice of clothing (black jacket, white shirt, and comfy Converse sneakers) to the background (pink and green, representing her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority) became the subjects of intense debate.
Why? Some thought she was dressed too casually and informally to represent the office of the vice president. Others thought that as history’s first Black female vice president, the need to dress more formally was even more important. And some people even accused Harris of putting too much emphasis on her former sorority.
The truth is that Harris thought she was posing more casually for the inside of the magazine. US News reports that Harris was “blindsided” by the decision to use this photo for the cover. But the backlash resulted in Vogue changing the photo for the print edition to a more respectful version.
Arnold Schwarzenegger condemns the Capitol riot with the ‘Conan’ sword
Many politicians are hesitant to call their party members out. But after President Trump’s political rally in Washington D.C. turned into a violent storming of the U.S. Capitol, former Republican governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a video to social media.
He minced no words, saying, “President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst President ever. The good thing is he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.”
And ever the showman, Schwarzenegger produced a sword he used in the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian. “Our democracy is like the steel of this sword. The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes.”
Obviously, his heart was in the right place in the wake of a violent riot that left five people dead, including a police officer who tried to hold back the angry mob. He attempted to offer a hopeful message that American democracy will emerge from this stronger than ever. But his decision to use a movie prop to drive the point home is a bit too self-referential for some.
Still, it didn’t cause as much of a splash as a tweet from one of the Backstreet Boys!
Brian Littrell’s Parler invite
If we’re being honest, it’s been a while since the Backstreet Boys were relevant. That all changed when Backstreet Boys lead singer Brian Littrell tweeted that his followers should come follow him on the (now-defunct) conservative social media platform Parler.
His tweet was simple enough. It read, “BTLittrell come find me… hahah like where’s Waldo Join me on Parler Social Media!”
This kicked off a controversy that had many different sides. Some fans were saddened that Littrell was openly advocating conservative views rather than their own views. Other fans were divided as to whether celebrities should give voice to any political opinions or simply stick to entertainment.
And still more were disappointed that he helped advertise Parler in the wake of revelations that many of the Capitol rioters used Parler to openly plan their violent attack.
RELATED: Celebrities Who Got Political
Seth Rogen spars with Ted Cruz on Twitter
When you think of Seth Rogen, you probably associate him with stoner comedies instead of political activism. Nevertheless, Rogen made some serious waves when he clashed with Senator Ted Cruz on Twitter.
It all started with Cruz seemingly misunderstanding the Paris Climate Agreement. In reaction to news that President Biden will rejoin America into the agreement, Cruz tweeted that Biden is “more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh. This agreement will do little to affect the climate and will harm the livelihoods of Americans.”
Now, Cruz is obviously wrong about this agreement primarily being about “the views of the citizens of Paris.” But rather than correct this factual error, Seth Rogen called him a “fascist.”
This kicked off a brief-but-bitter (and profanity-laden, on Rogen’s part) Twitter feud. Cruz mocked what he called a “charming, educated response” and claimed that Democrats are the party of the “rich, angry Hollywood celebrity.” In turn, Rogen tweeted back, “Go encourage a white supremacist insurrection again.”
Believe it or not, it gets worse. Rogen eventually brought up the time that Trump insulted Ted Cruz’s wife’s appearance. Rogen drew attention to the fact that Cruz never responded to Trump insulting his wife and basically fell into line behind Trump for the next four years.
While their exchange was funny at times, it highlighted the “us versus them” mentality of modern politics. There was no productive discussion or attempt to reach across the aisle, and it all amounted to just more political noise for a nation sick of politics.
Perhaps even worse, the exchange revealed that a politician was more willing to engage with a celebrity than his constituents, as people on Twitter were quick to point out.
So, while pop culture needs to take a break from politics, perhaps politicians also need to take a break from pop culture.