3 Comments

Why I’m Boycotting Steven Seagal

Steven_SeagalI’ve been a martial artist for more than three decades. Singing the praises of the benefits of the martial arts is second-nature to me: self-respect, self-confidence, self-defense. Just to name a few. And, I’ve enjoyed watching talented martial artists in movies over the years, even if the acting wasn’t always the best. The athleticism of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s jump spin crescent kick still makes me smile; Steven Seagal’s brand of aikido has always impressed me. Seagal’s fluidity of motion and speedy reaction-time prove his years of practice and dedication to his art.

More than not, I try to separate any celebrity’s personal life from his or her professional life. A good actor is a good actor, whether or not I agree with his political beliefs or how he handled his last divorce. However, I seem to have a threshold here. At some point, the celebrity’s personal life or beliefs become so abhorrent that it necessarily interferes with my view of his or her professional life. This is the case with Steven Seagal.

Putin_(cropped)According to this Reuter’s article, Steven Seagal openly attended and supported an event in Russia with Vladimir Putin. The event was for Putin’s announcement that he intended to implement a nationalized fitness program that mimics Stalin’s Communist-era fitness requirements. The program will even hold “students’ performance under the system should be taken into account when universities consider applications.”

As a firm believer in individual rights as innate to all (reference US Bill of Rights), I reject Communism outright. Though, this situation is much more than a disagreement on political views. Stalin was arguably one of the most violent, evil leaders in the history of the world. The Russian gulags killed anywhere between 15 and 30 million people (1) — just stop and think for a second about that. The entire country of Greece doesn’t even have 15 million people. (2)

CroppedStalin1943Putin’s nationalized fitness program is a piece of the Communist pie that Stalin served his unfortunate citizens more than a half-century ago. And when one piece of pie is in place, it won’t be long before the other pieces follow. In other words, as history has proven over and over again, once a country begins to treat citizens as a collective rather than as individuals, individuals eventually lose their liberties and even their lives.

And yet, Steven Seagal stood in support of Putin and his Communistic plan. I simply cannot in good conscience support someone who supports such vicious liberty-killing policies–whatever country it is in. While Steven Seagal has the right to support whatever political vision he wishes, I have the right to disagree. For this reason, I will no longer spend my hard-earned money buying Steven Seagal movies. I will no longer waste my valuable time viewing his movies that happen to be on television. I am boycotting Steven Seagal.

Reference:

(1) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/249117/Gulag

(2) https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_totl&idim=country:GRC&dl=en&hl=en&q=greece%20population

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3 comments on “Why I’m Boycotting Steven Seagal

  1. Hi, Virginia, I`m russian and live in Russia, I happened to read your post because I`m Seagal`s fan and I`d like to comment on that. What made you connect one thing with another. Let`s not dispute about “what an evil was Stalin”, but in that era it weren`t only bad things. I have to mention that we made many outstanding things in culture and science that time, and Stalin nevertheless he was a dictator supported and promoted many talented people in USSR who later became prominent persons. Take an example from cinema production: such name as Eizenstein (film director) is known worldwide, he made a career due to his talent, and in fact Stalin sent such specialists to internship in Hollywood. But my interest is in present, Putin`s intention is not to grow up universal soldiers from our youth citizens he noticed in his speech (I translate it from original) that we have decreased the physical shape of our students in last two decades, that we loose in that criteria to our western neighbours. So according to him we should implement some national standards in that sphere to improve the physical skills of our growing generation, but take into account the current situation with physical shape of our people in order not to cause heart attacks due to hard training. So I think it`s not a proper example to blame either Putin or Seagal. If you could see the video from that event you see many children with sparkling and inspired eyes and that`s for good, I`m sure.

    • First, let me thank you for your response. I’m always in favor of civilized discussion where two thoughtful people disagree.

      It seems that you are saying a few things here:
      1. Whether Stalin was evil or not, he did some good things.
      2. Putin’s intentions are good.
      3. You expect that Putin’s intentions will result in a good outcome for Russia.
      4. You believe that Putin is an inspiration to the children of Russia.

      Let me take this point-by-point.
      1. Whether Stalin was evil or not, he did some good things.
      I do not dispute that some (though only a few) people thrived and led very successful lives under Stalin. However, whatever good he did, it can never negate the bad. And the bad is really, really bad. Millions of innocent, individual lives were snuffed out because of his personal views. Millions more suffered terribly. And why did they suffer and die? Because this one man had the idea that the country comes before the individual and that when it comes to the country, he was the person who should decide what was in it’s best interest. It is an ideology that negates individual liberties for the collective. And this–the ideology that brought about so much pain and suffering–is what I condemn.

      2. Putin’s intentions are good.
      First, I have to say that a measure of skepticism is always in order when it comes to the words politicians speak. They are well acquainted with phrasing things in such a way that the regular citizen is easily swayed. Secondly, even if his intentions are good, I would argue that it doesn’t matter since he is subverting the rights of his citizens by forcing them to comply with his idea of what is good. I believe Putin is human like you, your neighbor, and the little girl down the road. What makes him more apt to define what’s good in your life and what isn’t? For argument’s sake, lets agree that working out is good. If it is that good, you can do it on your own; your neighbor can do it on his own; the little girl can be encouraged by her parents to do it. Why does every last citizen in your country need to be forced to do it? Maybe some people don’t care about exercise. You and I could say that this is a bad thing and that they should embrace exercise, but that’s our opinion–not theirs. And, if they are happier not working out, does that harm anyone but themselves? And, don’t they have the right not to exercise since their lives belong to them and to no one else, not even to Putin?

      3. You expect that Putin’s intentions will result in a good outcome for Russia.
      While some people will thrive on the workout regimen enforced by Putin, it seems very reasonable to assume that many more will not. First, keeping in mind that the children’s physical performance will be considered when they enter college / university, it’s important to note that not all children are born with the same physical abilities. This is more often than not a fault of biology, thus there is nothing–no amount of force or threats–that can be done to “fix” it. On the other hand, some children are born with wonderful physical abilities. So, not only will the children who are less physically gifted suffer embarrassment by being forced to compete against the more physically gifted children, but they are also going to be penalized for it when they try to enter college. Imagine if you and I were trying to get into college against Michael Jordan. We would quickly be denied entry because we are being compared to Jordan’s amazing athletic talent. Keep in mind, we aren’t competing to get on the basketball team–we are competing to get into an academic institution so that we can learn more and prepare ourselves for our careers. The odds are that your country (just like ours) is going to have many more people like you and me than like Michael Jordan. I’m wondering how your country will be better off when naturally unathletic people are being forced to compete against naturally athletic people for college? There will be a trade-off. Some people will be healthier, I’m certain, but many people will be humiliated and frustrated by their lack of natural ability, as well as by their lack of choice to either exercise or not–resulting in a lot of unhappy people.

      4. You believe that Putin is an inspiration to the children of Russia.
      Celebrity has a way of doing this with people, particularly impressionable children. You see similar images (of “children with sparkling and inspired eyes”) in pictures of Hitler and, for a contemporary example, Kim Jong-un. So, I would argue that the euphoria is not proof of anything. And, hypothetically, if he is such a great example for the children, then why doesn’t he simply lead by example? He is a Sambo expert who is in decent physical condition. If the children and the people revere him so much, they would exercise because they want to emulate him. Force would not be necessary.

      I believe our basic disagreement is simply one of individualism vs collectivism. Your statement expresses a belief that the government can make better choices than the citizens about those citizens lives–this is a collectivistic perspective. I would argue that there is nothing greater than individual liberties–the innate and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. And that because these rights are innate and inalienable, nobody is better able to decide what is right for a person’s life than that person.

      And this is where I lay blame with Steven Seagal. He is a free man from a free country–he knows the prosperity, success, and happiness that individual rights can bring to individuals and, thus, to entire societies. Yet, he stood with Putin, agreeing with him that Russia was more important than any of its citizens and that the only way those citizens would be “good” and “healthy” is if the government forced them. To me, it’s a betrayal of every single person who lives in Russia–even you. I want you to have the right to decide what’s best for your life. Only you know how best to find your happiness on this earth.

      In spite of our disagreement, I wish you the very best. Please take care.

      Virginia

  2. I think Americans should boycott these idiot Actors and anything they make.Their Movies, etc…I have watched my last Stevem Segal or MIcky Rorke Movie They benifit from being Free Americans and yet they Seem to Admire This Communist Tyrant who stole the last election, who’s obviously corrupt and never plans on giving up his position of power. He has set back Russia by over a decade with his aggressive actions.. I find it hard to believe the reported 87% of Russians support this man! When during their last election there were large protests in the streets against him.

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