Actor Seth Rogen tweeted at me yesterday to let me know I’m an idiot.
He’s right in general, of course. But in this case, I think he might be wrong (but I also think he’s a smart guy who’s doing some really important work).
He was responding to a piece I posted over the weekend, in which I said his remarks to a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing about Alzheimer’s disease were thoughtful, but that his snarky Twitter posts afterward about low-attendance seemed entitled.
Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times’ bureau chief in D.C., explains much more clearly than me why Rogen’s tweets were silly, referring in particular to U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who Rogen called out on Twitter: “The fact is that Kirk had a very good reason for leaving the hearing after being there for most of the substantive part — where doctors who direct the national research institutes testified. … Rogen clearly is passionate about Alzheimer’s. What he did not get is that in this town, jabbing a lawmaker who is with you — for the sake of a Twitter rush — makes it foolishly about you, not your issue. Kirk, a recovering stroke victim, met with Rogen privately before the hearing.”
Rogen — who runs a charity to support Alzheimer’s causes and whose mother-in-law had the disease — has the same political perspective as plenty of regular people: He thinks the issues he has a personal interest in should be a top national priority, but doesn’t particularly care about other important issues. He said as much in his speech to the subcommittee: "I dream of a day when my charity is no longer necessary and I can go back to being the lazy, self-involved man-child I was meant to be." A joke, sure, but not altogether.
Of course Alzheimer’s disease is important. So are many other issues. While Rogen’s input was funny and substantive, he’s not an actual expert. Can you imagine someone who heads a small nonprofit but who isn’t an extremely wealthy and well-known white guy taking to the Internet to call out a U.S. senator who had to leave a hearing for another meeting?
Here is a link to Hilarity for Charity, Rogen’s nonprofit to support the Alzheimer’s Association. I’ve made a small donation and I encourage others interested in the issue to do the same.