In this day and age, life seems to be dominated by social media, increasingly restrictive diets and politics. Unless you’ve been living under a rock since Jan. 20, and possibly even if you have been living under a rock, you’ve likely been bombarded with political news on a regular basis.
The inauguration of Donald Trump has opened up the floodgates for political talk in the media, which has been reflected in everything from mock-newscast shows like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, to celebrity award shows such as the Emmy Awards. While other countries or even provinces may tolerate this, a majority of Albertans are fed up with celebrities being political.
A recent poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute reported that 56 percent of Albertans believe that celebrities should “just focus on their work and avoid making political statements.” This number is 17 per cent higher than the national average. Manitoba is the next highest at 43 per cent.
It’s no surprise that Albertans can be extremely passionate about many things, including coﬀee, oil and hockey. In the case of hockey, we tend not to tolerate the temporary fans that emerge during a hot streak and are nowhere to be seen when the losing starts. You are either invested lifelong into the sport or should stay out of it altogether.
MRU policy studies professor Bruce Foster explains that Albertans may have a similar stance on politics.
“When a celebrity talks about something important like politics, a lot of people who would not normally care about whatever the issue is will start to care,” says Foster. “This can be very exasperating for people who take politics very seriously or spend a lot of time studying it, because they wish people would pay more attention to politics and not just because some celebrity happens to be interested in it.”
This pent-up frustration doesn’t come out of left field because as many Albertans realize, “Very few celebrities are political scientists, sociologists, historians or economists, and they don’t know any more than anyone else,” says Foster.
Another theory, as Foster explains, may just be a simple case of the right versus the left.
“Alberta is the epicentre of conservatism for English speaking Canada, and most celebrities tend to come from a liberal left position.”
“Albertans are always on the defensive, and we’ve become the whining province.” – Bruce Foster, MRU policy studies professor
A look back into Alberta’s public disgust for certain celebrities seems to back up this position of conservatism versus liberalism. Many celebrities, from the likes of Neil Young to Leonardo DiCaprio, have travelled through the province raising awareness of climate change and promoting environmental protection, only to be met with public outrage and hate-filled social media posts from Albertans.
However, Foster oﬀers up another suggestion for the cause of this deep seeded hatred against the mixture of celebrities and politics. “Albertans are always on the defensive, and we’ve become the whining province,” says Foster. “Albertans compared to many other Canadians are quite hyper-sensitive.”
So this issue might not be so black and white, or blue and red, but regardless of where this hatred stems from, it’s clear that Albertans will not stand — or kneel — for celebrities being political. As the Country Music Awards and American Music Awards approach their November showtimes, many Albertans are likely sitting on the edge of their seat to see whether politics is mentioned. If so, the Internet better prepare itself because as Albertans, we have no lack of opinions nor passion to express them.
Editor: Jolene Rudisuela | firstname.lastname@example.org