Five Famous People Who Should Get Off the Soap Box

May 23, 2011

Well, someone’s got some explaining to do.

It’s Monday, and we’re all still here.  Harold Camping is out $100 million on his campaign.  Other people sold themselves out completely and now feel like a bunch of rubes.  I have not seen a more hyped end-of-the-world campaign than this one.

And so, Mr. Camping joins the ranks of Tom Cruise, Rosie O’Donnell, and all the other famous people who didn’t get off their soap box before completely making fools of themselves.  An apology would be nice too.

In a few weeks, we’ll forget all about Family Radio…if Harold Camping does the right thing and never speaks in public again.  And it gives me the opportunity today to celebrate a few other famous people who need to shut their talk holes before they wear out their welcome.  Harold Camping kicks off the list at fifth place.  Let’s see who rounds out the top five…

#4. Jimmy Carter

A rare sight: Carter buttoning that lip

I have never seen a former President talk as much as President Peanut Farmer does.  Does he not know it’s bad form for an ex-Pres. to publicly criticize the current one?  Yet he makes it his business to chime in on politics and criticize on a regular basis.  He even goes on little fact finding scavenger hunts around the world, probably given to him by the government to keep him out of their way.  How can a man whose administration was defined by gas shortages, cardigan sweaters, and malaise speak with any authority?  His constant presence only serves to remind people why he was so soundly rejected.

#3.  Cameron Diaz

Diaz, stuffing A. Rod's face with popcorn while he tries to watch the Superbowl

Cameron Diaz must be a genius sociologist or a psychic or something, because she recently made the broad cultural declaration that marriage is a “dying institution,” and our culture shouldn’t be bound by “old traditions that don’t make sense anymore.”  Just days later, CNN reported that divorce rates continue to fall in America.  Sometimes, it’s just too easy when celebrities shoot their mouths off, especially when there are facts and logic involved.

But, you know, everyone’s coming from a different perspective.  Cameron Diaz’s perspective for instance, is that of a 38 year old never married, twice engaged woman who has had no relationships since 1995 that have lasted more than three years, and who admits that she “can barely speak English properly.”  So she’s a great authority on the future of the oldest human institution on Earth.

#2.  Joe Biden

During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden released his tax records for the last decade, I guess to show that he really does pay taxes.  What he wasn’t counting on was people taking notice of his charitable giving records.  For a man whose income ranges from $200,000 to $300,000, what would you guess he gives?  Thousands?  Tens of thousands of dollars?  Try a couple hundred dollars, less than 1%, oftentimes just a tenth of that. It’s the kind of embarrassing chump change that would insult any charity, and his giving while in office hasn’t increased.  This is a man who is supposed to a bleeding-heart liberal Catholic. It just goes to show, there’s a lot of politicians who are so very generous, compassionate, and sympathetic toward the downtrodden…when they’re playing with someone else’s money.

#1.  Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is a brilliant man, and his work has done a lot for our understanding of the universe.  And he’s an atheist.  I don’t know what’s led him to that conclusion, but it’s not the only reason I’m glad I’m not Stephen Hawking.

But when he recently said the idea of heaven was a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” he wasn’t just declaring his lack of faith.  He revealed his deep-seated contempt for most of humanity itself.  He regards most of us as stupid people who are “afraid,” or cowardly.  He considers you a “child,” because only children are afraid of the dark, and  fairy stories are for children.  It’s not just that Hawking disagrees with you.  He doesn’t respect you or your beliefs, and he’s probably extremely frustrated that even his level of genius and understanding cannot prove you wrong.

Your turn!  What other actors, athletes or academics, need to quit the preaching, pontificating, and predicting?


50 responses to Five Famous People Who Should Get Off the Soap Box

  1. Lady Gaga- Why should we be taking seriously her opinions on serious matters like gender and military policy when she doesn’t even seem to be able to manage something as simple as dressing herself appropriately?
    Joanna recently posted..Book review- Trevin Wax- Counterfeit Gospels

  2. Well, Matt, the first person to come to mind who should shut up is–me.

    If you don’t believe me, just ask any one of my children.

    Isn’t there a Scripture that tells me to be slow to speak?

    But, I’m sure the Original Greek says something else. Or that those words apply to a different Dispensation. If the Lord had not wanted me to pontificate, He would not have given me a computer.

    But, I’m a Second-Stone kinda Christian. I keep my rock handy just in case somebody else steps up and throws the first rock at sinners. It’s hard to do, but in my own blog, I attempt to make fun of no one’s faith but my own. I have plenty of material to work with in spite of that restriction.

    “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…It defileth the whole body…it is set on fire of Hell”.

    That’s what James said. Didn’t stop him from writing his epistle though, did it? And it doesn’t stop me from bloging to tell all thew world what I think.

    My blog posting yesterday dealt with my own Rapture Day experiences on Saturday; That’s all I have to say about it. So I’ll shut up get off my own soap box for a while.

    John Cowart

  3. Carter has done more post-presidency than during. He’s redefined what it means to be an ex-prez, and I think in a great way. Muck about in the politics Jimmy, you know the inside of it! There is a reason he got the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the man learned from mistakes, and is as humble, integrous, and hard-working as it gets.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/carter-post-presidency/

    • Maybe he has done some good post-Presidency (his Presidency wouldn’t be hard to beat), but I say he needs to do it quietly.

      • Why? Because you don’t like what he has to say?

        Look, you had me with Cameron Diaz. An example of someone who has not credibility, no authority, no reason to be speaking to the masses about matters of substance… and yet she does. But Carter? Like him or not, he HAS credibility, authority and experience relevant (and many times employed in) trying to make the world a better place. As a former president, he also has knowledge of things that not many are privvy to.

        People like Carter should not be silenced. At the very worst, his opinions and ideas, should you disagree with them, should serve as legitimate starting points for thoughtful discussion and introspection.

        And we could all use a little more of that in this life.
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        • I don’t like what he has to say, when he speaks falsely and dangerously. His work overseas has done NOTHING to help our natinoal defense – another area of blunder during his presidency. One of the government’s main jobs is just that – national defense. It’s role is NOT to feed everyone and to give houses to people. That’s what the church and organizations like Habitat for Humanity (his greatest accomplishment) are supposed to do. His form of government diminishes the volunteer spirit and role of the church, when the government uses our taxes to pay for social programs.
          Furhermore, I certainlny don’t trust him as an authority on the Christian life. I’m not saying he’s not a moral man, but morality alone is not the Christian life. He repeatedly argues with the Bible. He thinks he knows better than the Apostle Paul and has said so. He does not believe the Bible is the Word of God. He believes it “contains” the Word of God. Well isn’t that convenient? Let’s just take a little of this and a little of that and toss the rest that makes us uncomfortable or goes agains what his daughter is comfortable with.

          Matt – you’re on it with Carter. The less he speaks the better.

      • I can’t disagree with you more about Carter.

        First, his presidency gets a bad rap, he was way ahead of his time on energy policy, for example. Since his presidency, he’s been a real leader on a lot of things, including his work with Habitat for Humanity. Look at his foundation website to see all the valuable projects he’s working on: http://www.cartercenter.org/index.html

        I think Carter is one of the few presidents to take his christian faith seriously. He’s earned the right to say what he thinks.

        • Hey, I applaud him for the work he’s done for Habitat. I applaud him and embrace him as a Christian brother. But it’s still unprecedented, and I think bad form for a former Pres. to be as vocal about current Presidential policy as he has been. I don’t think his presidency gets a bad rap. I think it was just bad.

        • Carter was an unmitigated disgrace as a president, and has been an unmitigated disgrace as a former president. He has been in the pocket and pay of the anti-Semitic Arab world. Do a little investigation and find out who funded the building of his ‘presidential library’: Saudi Arabian ‘statesmen.’ Read his anti-Semitic screed in his book. Carter can be counted on to support left-wing dictators around the world, and embarrass the U. S. on a consistent basis. Just this month, he called the withholding of food from North Korea’s Kim Jong Il a crime against humanity.

  4. Agree. Agree. Agree. Agree. Agree.
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  5. Carter has actually done a lot of good post presidency. Maybe it’s one of those indicators to just keep doing the right thing with mouth shut.

    Like John Cowart, I think I should be the first person to shut my trap. The old adage about actions and words is true; maybe more of us need to be silent and just do good.

  6. Barney Frank – yeah right, you didn’t Fanny and Freddie were going down.

    Michael Moore – the fiction man.

    Joyce Behar – does this need an explanation?

    Sean Hannity – It would be nice if he would say something, anything new. Regan’s dead, please find a way to inspire us.

    Alan Colms – the guy has never had an original thought since he was born.

    Frank Zindler – just so arrogant he makes Tom Cruise seem sensitive.
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    • I actually haven’t heard of Frank Zindler, but the rest of your list is terrible (meaning, it’s a good list of people who need to cram it.) I do not know how you are able to share a state with Barney Frank. What a turd.

      • Frank and Dodd were the reason that Fanny and Freddie failed. I agree. He had his victory party across the street from my office. :(

        Frank is the president of the American Atheists. He spends his time calling Christians fools like Bill Maher (who also should have been on the list!)
        David recently posted..Were not Going Anywhere Yet!

    • Joy Behar gets on my nerves, too! I can’t even watch anything she is on anymore.

  7. Oh, heck yeah. Agree completely with your list. There are lots of people in the public eye that need to shut their pie holes. I suppose Charlie Sheen would have been too obvious of a choice.
    katdish recently posted..When love finds you

  8. I dunno about Charlie Sheen … the entertainment value is priceless. (Rawr!)

    Jimmy Carter is an utter disgrace. His hatred and contempt for Israel is just chilling. Put Obama in this category too. However, Bibi did a great job in schooling The One in history and politics.

    Rob Bell needs to hush. Or read the Bible, one or the other. It does not end well for false prophets and deceptive teachers. Or those who blindly follow them. We recently left our church after hearing a nationally known speaker/teacher come in and tell a 1200 member congregation that there are things that occur that are outside God’s will, preach the “prosperity gospel” and twist Scripture to fit his agenda, and not one other member, other than my husband, spoke up. NOT ONE!
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  9. 5. Senility 4. Senility 3. Cluelessness 2. Cluelessness. 1. Arrogance.

    Who else? Newt Gingerich: Please shut up and go home before you embarrass yourself even more.
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  10. I agree with your list and those who have posted here. I don’t know who I’d add to the list.

    A couple of years ago, I’d say George Clooney, who once mocked Charlton Heston because of his Alzheimer’s, then defended his mocking days later, just to show it wasn’t off-the-cuff. But he’s been fairly quiet lately

    But I will note that I am glad Biden doesn’t contribute much, because I suspect he’d probably give money to causes I don’t agree with.

  11. I thought I’d have some fun with the whole end of the world thing and set up a fake rapture photo of our whole family being raptured. It’ll make a nice Christmas card.
    Mike recently posted..Monday Mind Dump- Got Milk

  12. “He doesn’t respect you or your beliefs, and he’s probably extremely frustrated that even his level of genius and understanding cannot prove you wrong.”

    If I had read that line outside of this post, I would have assumed that it was about a conservative Christian a la Pat Robertson or James Dobson. (Though, OK, genius might be a stretch.) My point is that any of us could fall into that category. It only hurts that Hawking is delivering it to us, instead of the other way around.

    I would love for reality show contestants who claim to be Christian to shut their mouths! It often reflects very poorly on our faith- or we just practice extremely differently.
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  13. Glenn Beck! Anyone who can’t figure out that Mormonism is a sham shouldn’t be telling the rest of us that we are stupid!
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  14. Gee…let me think…

    The people who write GLEE!!!!

    The whole dang world is NOT GAY!!!!!!!!! Come on!!!!!!

    So annoying!!!!!!
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  15. I live in Illinois. Rod Blagojevich is the one who comes first to my mind in this category.
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  16. Bill O’reilly. I used to enjoy The Factor, and sometimes Bill still has some awesome stuff to say but when he attempts to speak “from a Christian perspective” I want to punch him in the face! He hasn’t read a lick of the Bible and he is constantly misrepresenting Scripture and Christianity. He should stick to moderate politics.

    Also Bill Mahr on Real Time. (See I like to indulge in both ends of the Bill spectrum). Mahr is also clever and can be hilariously funny and he even makes some great points about our current political system. But when he talks about religion he is just a jerk and berates anyone for any kind of belief. He seems to lack humanity towards people he doesn’t care for but he is willing to stick up for animals with his PETA membership. He should stick to comedy and current debate topics but lay off any kind of religious talk.
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  17. Gwyneth Paltro. If she can’t be quiet, could she at least be deported?
    Glen Beck.
    Michael Vick.
    Michael Moore.
    Al Gore.
    Al Franken.
    Rush Limbaugh.

    How about if they won’t be quiet if we could round them up and make them all live in a compound without television cameras, microphones, recording devices or paper. I don’t wish them ill, I just wish they would go away.

  18. I would say just about any “famous” person who feels they “need” to speak on political issues.

    They’re not all Bono who takes the time to actually understand the big picture.
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  19. Hi David, Somebody probabaly already mentioned this, but Mr. Camping is NOT shutting up. Oh no, He’s just ‘revised his calculations’ to Oct. 21st. I’m not sure of the time, maybe 6:00 pm again? Maybe it’s a learning disability!

  20. Oprah and Donald Trump. Being wealthy and a genius at branding your image does not make you an expert in everything…or anything.
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  21. Ricky Stuart! (Google: State of Origin NSW Coach).
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  22. This list really shows a serious bias.

    Hawking is a scientific rock star, and we need people like him to be front and center. To want to silence him because you don’t like one of his opinions is ridiculous. His UNBIASED scientific work is well worth listening too, even if you dont like his unscientific side.

    And you put Jimmy Carter, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on this list, but neglect the need to get Sarah Palin, who has done nothing but foment rancour, off her soapbox?

    Please.
    Suzanne recently posted..Do Miserable Mommies Make Good Writers

    • I don’t want to silence Stephen Hawking. I want him to get off his soapbox about my religious beliefs. I said right in the post that his work has done much to advance our understanding of the universe.

      And Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize? So? Lots of people have won that prize and have made less of themselves than Carter.

      And I never claimed the list was complete. That’s why it’s open ended for you to contribute.

      • Not to put too fine a point on it, but you began your article with a plea to make your listed individuals aware that they “need to shut their talk holes before they wear out their welcome.” I interpreted that as a need to silence them.

        And I think your critique of Hawking is harsh. His comment about fairy stories may offend you, but it does not mean he is contemptuous OF you. You state, “He doesn’t respect you or your beliefs”. I agree with exactly half of that statement. He clearly doesnt respect your beliefs (in that he himself does not believe what you believe) but there is no indication that he doesnt respect others as individuals. He made a simple, one-sentence declaration. That hardly qualifies as a grand display of contempt.

        Interestingly, you fail to recite one of the best points he makes in the interview: “We should seek the greatest value of our action”. No matter what you believe, you need to really, REALLY live. I think that statement effects all of us equally, no matter what you believe.

      • Late to this party, sorry-

        If I remember correctly, Stephen Hawking’s comments were taken from an interview in which he was asked about his opinions regarding “the hereafter” or something to that effect. Therefore, he never “got on a soapbox” regarding religion–someone asked him his opinion and he gave it (people are still allowed to do that, right?). He’s never given speeches regarding religion or written articles about it specifically. He also wasn’t opining about “your” religious beliefs–he was talking about his own. Because he was asked.

        I also think that as Christians we do ourselves a disservice when we take statements made by unbelievers as personal insults. The Jesus I believe in was not such a shrinking violet that He would’ve been cowed by one man’s opinion. Therefore, getting huffy about someone insulting Christians is by no means something Christ would endorse. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we supposed to PRAY for the ones who persecute us? (Somehow, I don’t remember hearing anything about whining about how insulted we are, like a dopey schoolgirl that didn’t get asked to the prom.)

        Did it ever occur to you that some people (shoot, lots of people) are not too keen on Christianity because they’ve had such bad experiences with Christians in the past?

        It reminds me so much of the blowback that happened after John Lennon made his “bigger than Jesus” statement. I don’t know for sure, but I had always wondered whether the sight of mobs of “good Christian Americans” rioting in the streets and burning Beatles records played no small role in Lennon’s rejection of Christianity.

        Yes, it’s disheartening when celebrities insult Christians and make it sound like we’re a bunch of rubes–but I think the only way we can combat that is to be better living examples of Christ. Telling unbelievers to “shut their holes” and “get off their soapboxes” because they’ve wounded our precious wittle feewings does nothing to accomplish this.

  23. I think soapboxing is defined by people who speak outside their area of expertise, or who have lost all credibility (like Camping). So Hawking deserves to be on the list for his nonsense babbling on faith, and Carter definitely does not belong on the list because he is speaking based on his experience as an ex president and involvement in world affairs.

    my nominees are Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ed Schultz (no credibility, just paid mouthpieces for right/left propaganda)
    Also Al Gore because his giant footprint loses him all credibility on environmental concerns.

    And I very much wish Pat Robertson would stop pretending to know the mind of God when disaster strikes certain areas. Funny how he hasn’t yet said a word about the recent tornado destruction in the ‘Bible Belt’

    • Sounds like our lists are a lot alike. And your point about Pat Robertson is really interesting, haven’t made that observation yet!