Dr John Smith: Why should fame make your opinions more worthwhile?

Celebrities such as Bono shouldn't be listened to more than the rest of us, says Dr John
Celebrities such as Bono shouldn't be listened to more than the rest of us, says Dr John

One thing this paper does which many others do not is to ask your opinion.

I, of course, get my chance too. Every two weeks I am given a blank canvas to say what I like and how I like. Others do as well, but I suspect in the media world we are in a small minority. And we have our hobby horses that we go on about which must, at times, bore you to tears.

But who are the opinion formers? Who does get a voice? Who do we listen to? It is not you and me, that is for sure. How can we be heard?

There is one certain way, because a celebrity becomes famous or notorious and the press and television will be at your door.

You will not need to offer your opinion, you will be asked. You will not be a soundbite, you might get a whole page. If you are pretty or handsome you will get a photograph as well.

It will not matter if it is not your area of expertise, you can pronounce on anything you like because you are famous. If you are really, really famous you will have a publicist too, to make sure you are heard.

It is not always the obvious either. Wacky diets, exercise programmes, holidays, someone else’s relationships are the easy ones. They have credence because someone has spoken, we may even follow their advice – and how dangerous that can be.

More dangerous still are the celebrities who speak about the big and difficult issues. Austerity, poverty, hunger, Ebola, HIV, euthanasia, fracking, global warming. The list is endless.

It is like a simple equation. Famous person + opinion = influence.

It is as if the fame gives weight to the views and opinions that would not be heard if they were yours or mine.

We need to stop being suckers, be less gullible and listen to the voice of the common man and woman, you and me.