What Does it Mean to Be Patriotic?

When yet another Hollywood celebrity suggests how this country may have played an important role in what caused 9/11 to come about it comes as no surprise that fans come out of the woodwork to malign them and put them in their place; as if they are performers who should not have any interesting ideas about anything other than their day jobs. Of course, in today’s politically correct environment ideas involving expressions of patriotism are of no exception to the rule, as Maggie Gyllenhaal has found out, (not that she could not have stood to learn this lesson from Sean Penn, the Dixie Chicks and many other celebrities). In her own defense would be fans should not “waste their time” on her web site.

The irony of this, of course, is that in defending her own views about the United States’ role in 9/11, of which the verdict is still out as to if there is any on the part of the current administration, Gyllenhaal’s webmasters have trampled on the rights of her viewing public to voice their own opinions. This, of course, will not stop anyone from voicing their opinion on the matter in general, just that they cannot do it through that particular venue, although doing so there involves utilizing a medium that is inferior to the one in which Maggie originally voiced her opinions. In the end, Maggie simply expanded her platform through a new arrangement with “Arianna Huffington’s forthcoming political Website the Huffington Post” while her original detractors have their own blogs to rely on, few of which will be visited as frequently.

Eventually Gyllenhaal’s opinions will pass into the night as the critics weigh in on her performance in yet another film. New fans will replace old friends as Gyllenhaal and Huffington take on the responsibilities of talking about politics through a medium that is all too familiar to the average blogger, a medium whose importance is not lost on day bloggers except for the fact that Huffington’s project has as many as 250 contributors, “prominent people” whose opinions are sure to be far more interesting than anything Gyllenhaal could ever dream of. This wouldn’t be news except for the fact that for the first time, individual celebrities and urban professionals who used to run their own blogs have finally come together to both validate internet news analysis and seriously challenge the status quo of other news media, such as television networks; it has the potential of transforming the Chicago-Tribune into something other than a regular newspaper.

It would seem to me that the average citizen could either continue to “waste” their time and energy on fighting individual celebrities like Gyllenhaal through flaming their web sites with hate or find a way to use opportunities not to fight wars in which they may win individual battles but rather find a better platform in which to voice their opinions through; as much of a “free thinker” Gyllenhaal was when she made the statement, it didn’t take much for her to resort to conservative measures when the opinions being voiced were not hers. An excellent example of what happens when the freedoms that come with the empowerment one feels when they do not have the concerns of the ordinary citizen only show to explain how in truth, they aren’t that different from anyone else in a position of authority, purported or otherwise.

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