The first word you read on Sophia Bush’s official Twitter bio is accurately succinct:
From her tireless fundraising work with charities like Pencils Of Promise, Do Something, F Cancer and Crowdrise to personally protesting California’s infamous anti-gay marriage law to help putting together a benefit album to raise money to help restore the damaged Gulf Coast to consistently defending LGBT and female reproductive rights, the half-Canadian/half-American actor most certainly lives up to that title. In fact, she deserves all the credit in the world for using her fame in a selfless, positive way. She has admirable passions and convictions that I’ve praised before in this very cheeky piece last year.
So, why have I also been so critical of her both in this space and on Twitter? It’s very simple. She doesn’t care about President Obama’s destructive policies and that bothers me.
Yesterday, I posted this tweet. Unlike the nine previous times I’ve tweeted about her (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here to see the rest of the critical ones), this one inspired her to directly respond in a five-part rebuttal that you can see in that same link. I have to admit I was very surprised she tweeted me at all. And deeply flattered.
While I’m happy to learn that she did in fact read this Rolling Stone article (“I actually found that article fascinating, and was a huge fan of Aaron [Swartz]. I think freedom of information is extremely important.”) she didn’t find it nearly “fascinating” or “extremely important” enough to mention it or even link to it on her Twitter account. (To be fair, she did mention the Reddit co-founder’s tragic suicide here and his unfair prosecution here.)
“What fascinates me is your apparent fixation on, and disdain, of me. Be it [because] I pick up my own dry cleaning (which, by the way, I certainly do not find newsworthy either) or [because] I don’t find time to discuss every single event in the world on twitter every single day.”
Ten tweets about her (two of which are actually positive) out of the 305 I’ve written to date is hardly a “fixation”. (Number 306 features a link back to this entry.) As for this website, I’ve only written about her probably less than 20 times out of the 718 entries (including this one) I’ve posted in seven years of blogging. Also not a “fixation”. In fact, in some of those pieces she’s just mentioned in passing (or not even named at all) and isn’t always the central focus.
Furthermore, I enjoyed her three-episode stint on the first season of Nip/Tuck, defended her over her failed marriage to actor Chad Michael Murray and praised her solid, consistent work on One Tree Hill (as well as her philanthropy). Not to put too fine a point on it but I am an OTH “Man Fan” who once wrote this about all the women in the cast, including Ms. Bush. (That’s not the only OTH-inspired poem I’ve written.) I mean who else would get pissed at MuchMusic for not airing the rest of those Season Eight episodes? (The stupid assholes only broadcast a third of that year’s shows in late 2011 and I’m still not happy about it. I have to get caught up on DVD at some point this year and then, move on to Season Nine so I can finally finish the series that I got into through Much reruns in 2009. I have to see Mouth and Millicent reconcile, goddamnit!)
When she mentions picking up her own dry cleaning, that’s not a random throwaway line that comes out of nowhere. It’s a reference to this tweet I wrote on February 6. For the record, I wasn’t being disdainful regarding her dry cleaning pick-up specifically. I was making a harsh, satirical comparison to fellow actor John Cusack.
You see, unlike Ms. Bush, Mr. Cusack is publicly critical of President Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, most notably his scary devotion to drone strikes in foreign countries we’re not at war with (which has killed roughly 1000 innocent civilians including women and children), his heartless war on conscientious whistleblowers like Private Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and CIA operative John Kiriakou, his failed promise to close Guantanamo, his extreme secrecy and his institutionalization of the endless Bush/Cheney “War On Terror” doctrine, among many other significant issues.
In that tweet I praised The Grifters star for his Huffington Post article updating readers on his ongoing support and involvement with the Freedom Of The Press Foundation, a new organization devoted to financially aiding honest, adversarial journalism, a sadly dying enterprise in modern American media. He is one of the few prominent liberal performers in Hollywood to be openly and consistently critical of this Democratic President. I really wish there were a hell of a lot more like him in the business.
In summary, the point of my February 6 tweet was this: while Mr. Cusack is continually sounding the alarm about the horrific policies of The Obama Administration through a popular online news site and his own Twitter account (among other venues and forums), Ms. Bush is silently running an errand. He’s a concerned citizen, she could care less.
When she mentions “I don’t find time to discuss every single event in the world on twitter every single day”, again, she misses the point. I never asked her to do that. I simply want her to publicly acknowledge that President Obama, the man she’s supported in two national elections, is doing terrible things to innocent Muslims and conscientious whistleblowers through his deeply destructive Nixonian policies, policies he didn’t exactly promote during his first campaign. Apparently, she can’t be bothered.
She wraps up thusly:
“If you dislike me and my opinions and my passions so much, why do you constantly mention me? And how do you dislike my opinions & passions so much if you don’t even follow me, to know what they are? #really”
As I’ve previously outlined here and in the past, I don’t dislike Sophia Bush at all (despite my biting poems and commentary) and really haven’t written all that much about her in general. In fact, I’m a fan of her TV and charity work. And while I haven’t pressed the “Follow” button on her Twitter account, I have read many of her tweets and even her media coverage.
What I do have a problem with is her selective sense of outrage, her selective sense of justice and her lack of courage in criticizing Obama when it’s warranted (the best she’s come up with so far is this which sadly doesn’t get into too many specifics). For someone who cares so much about rape victims and their lack of respect (as do I), and the LGBT community (as do I), and reproductive rights (I’m pro-choice, too) and the environment (me too), where is the passion for all those unfairly abused, harassed, tortured, murdered and maligned Muslims, for the further erosion of American civil liberties under this President, for the disgraceful incarceration of honourable heroes like Bradley Manning (who just happens to be part of the LGBT community she supports)? Why are their causes not as important and worthy of her attention as the others? Do they not affect all of us and future generations as well? Or does she support a two-tier justice system: one for bankers, torturers and polluters and one for the rest of us?
Let’s put this in perspective. Sophia Bush has over 750,000 Twitter followers, an astounding number. Me? I have 9. Now, as a hypothetical example, if one of us tweets about Manning’s despicable treatment at the hands of the Obama Administration just one time, whose words, whose passion, whose outrage over this miscarriage of justice will garner more attention and could possibly expand, to potentially significant numbers, an ongoing movement of positive protest and change against this draconian, hypocritical farce of a policy?
It’s not the guy with 9 followers.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, March 23, 2013
UPDATE: Ms. Bush offers an 11-part Twitter rebuttal here. It speaks for itself.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, March 23, 2013
CORRECTION/UPDATE 2: I unfortunately misspelled John Kiriakou’s name. I originally had it as Kriakou. My apologies for the error. It’s now been corrected.
Also, about Ms. Bush’s rebuttal, let me be absolutely clear that I never diminished her charitable endeavours in the original piece nor have I in the past in this space. In fact, as you can plainly read in this piece alone, I praised them. My concern is her absolute lack of concern for other equally important causes like the fates of Kiriakou, Private Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and the continuing disrespect of The Muslim World which affect everybody. For someone who believes “love is louder” and “tolerance is sexy” she’s not always consistent.
Ruthlessly punishing innocent Muslims with humiliating torture, unlawful detention and premature death, throwing the book at courageous whistleblowers trying to steer their government and country back on a moral, less violent course and governing the complete opposite of how you campaigned are not examples of “love” and “tolerance”. This isn’t the Obama anyone supported back in 2008.
Now I understand and respect that human passion and commitment is finite. One can only do so much for so many needy, worthy, deserving causes. I get that. I’m not an idiot. When you’re thoroughly committed to something (even if you’re just writing or talking about it like I do), it can, over time, be physically exhausting, mentally fatiguing or just plain frustrating especially when real change and progress are often painfully slow.
But when you throw yourself completely behind a controversial Internet campaign to raise awareness for someone like Joseph Kony, who has very little influence globally despite the allegedly bad things he’s done, but not a public campaign to alert your 750,000+ followers about your own President, who is the most influential world leader, and has solidified unabated the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney policies of abusing, killing and apprehending innocent Muslims both American and Middle Eastern, operating in complete secrecy without any transparency or checks & balances on his overreaching executive power, and who has doggedly prosecuted more conscientious whistleblowers than all past Presidents combined, how can you honestly say that you believe that “equality matters”?
How does your silence result in justice for those who desperately need it?
Then again, what do I know?
I’m just a “petulant child”, right?
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, March 24, 2013
UPDATE 3: Activist is now the second word you’ll read on Ms. Bush’s Twitter account. Storyteller is now first. (Originally, it was the other way around.) Is this significant in any way? Probably not. But as noted in the update to this, it’s curious nonetheless.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, March 23, 2014