It’s beginning to look like a no-win situation for those in the public eye. Whether you’re a Hollywood actor, a TV show host, a professional athlete, a pop star or an award-winning country singer-songwriter, some of the population is going to tell you to use your platform to “be the change,” while others are going to insist that celebs should stick to what they get paid to do and keep their opinions to themselves.
We’ve heard it over and over again in country music: “Shut up and sing.” Heck, an entire documentary pinned to the much maligned Dixie Chicks earned the name “Shut Up and Sing.”
But ACM and CMA award-winning duo Brothers Osborne had a thought-provoking reply to a comment on Twitter telling them to shut up and sing.
It started when the duo shared a post on their Twitter page about creating the opportunity for change. “Post your thoughts on the web to let the world know how you feel,” they wrote. “Have a conversation with person next with you to change their minds. It’s a slow process, but that’s how it works.”
While the majority of replies to the post were supportive, or opened up a mature and thoughtful dialogue, there was one comment that instructed John and TJ Osborne to stick to music.
“Shut up & sing!,” the tweeter commented. “If we want a celeb’s opinion we will beat it out of them. Have you learned nothing from the Dixie Chicks? Do you know the audience that listens to country music? They are generally conservative, and rightly so.”
Beat it out of them?!
While the comment received several reactions from Brothers Osborne supporters, including from fellow singer-songwriter Mickey Guyton …
… the response that had us actually nodding our heads in agreement was that of the brothers themselves, who simply tweeted, “That is literally a physical impossibility.”
There’s no denying it. One cannot simultaneously shut up and also sing. Try it yourself.
It is an interesting standard that some impose on celebrities that they should do the job they’re paid to do and never voice an opinion. The question arises, when they aren’t “at work,” are they also not allowed to have an opinion on politics, religion, current events, gun reform, mental health or any other hot-button topics? Don’t they, too, pay taxes, vote, take out the trash and stand in line at the DMV?
In that particular tweeter’s defense, most of us don’t want to hear about politics, gun reform or any other controversial issue from the plumber who comes to fix our toilet either, but when they are off the clock on the web, we can usually scroll past a Twitter post that we don’t agree with because we aren’t paying for their tweets, Facebook or Instagram posts. And, if they post something on Twitter that we don’t agree with, at the very least, we aren’t usually saying, “shut up and plunge.”
Sure, when consumers buy a CD, download an album or song, or go to a concert, they’re paying for a ticket to hear music and see a show. Trace Adkins told Megyn Kelly that he didn’t think award shows were the proper platform. “That kinda bugs me a little bit,” he said last fall. “If I wanted to talk about politics or something like that, I need to do it in the proper venue, which would be here.” He went on to say, “When you win an award or something, I think you ought to go out there and thank the people who put you there, then get off the damn stage.”
Just a thought.