Let me start out by saying that I like Seth Rogen in films, for the most part, although I found This Is The End tiresome. Outside of films, Rogen seems like a personable and reasonably intelligent man. However, I don’t think of Rogen as such an expert on health issues that Congress should drop everything and listen to his rap on Alzheimer’s, no matter how well intentioned or sincerely and personally felt, but that’s what he and Chris Matthews apparently expect. Your mileage, and that of Fishwrapper’s Sarah Taylor, may vary:
Fact is … if Senators are multi-tasking and have to choose which meetings to attend, Seth and his anecdotes, may not be at the top of the heap. Not that his anecdotes aren’t moving — they are, but personal tales aren’t necessarily the best way to drive the government.
In harsher terms, Congress should not pass legislation so Senators can thump their chests to star-struck voters because some big celebrity told a tear-jerking story.
It’s good Seth got in some selfies at the White House, and even acknowledged he’s self-absorbed, but really, enough already.
The truth is that what Matthews described should be ridiculed, not set as an expectation. He’s correct that Washington politicians usually thunder into committee rooms to fawn over celebrities who try leveraging their publicity for their cause du jour, but it’s not because those sessions are enlightening. Remember Meryl Streep showing up to push the Alar panic back in the 1980s? How about Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine activism based on fraudulent research? The truth is that most celebrities offer heat rather than light to any issue on which they testify, rather than light, which is because they spend most of their time making films and generating publicity rather than conduct science on their own.
Frankly, if members of Congress had nothing better to do than rub elbows with a comedian specializing in hipster-stoner movies, they should be back home talking to actual constituents.
Taylor’s a little harsh in her headline description of Rogen as a “self-absorbed, petulant, unsophisticated child,” but this is certainly a self-absorbed and petulant rant. Despite what Rogen might think of his own expertise, he is not the sine qua non of Alzheimer’s research and expertise, nor is blowing off a celebrity-stunt appearance on Capitol Hill an indication that no one in Congress cares about the disease. Perhaps this experience will provide an opportunity for some personal growth in humility … or at least better films than This Is The End, a self-absorbed, unsophisticated, and childish comedy.