As the conflict between Palestine and Israel rages on, the fighting increasingly deadly, the death toll more tragic, certain members of the gilded class have taken it upon themselves to weigh in on the issue.
Because what the world really needs right now is for a handful of entertainers to air their very serious opinions on a deadly serious conflict that has existed for longer than most of them have been alive.
So, without further explanation, here are nine celebrities who have done their part to make the world a worse place by wading into the middle of a fight that most of them likely know very little about:
Rihanna is credited with being the first A-list celebrity to air her thoughts on the conflict in Gaza, making headlines earlier this year after she tweeted “#FreePalestine” to her millions of followers.
The high priestess of the Church of Autotune later deleted the tweet after thousands of angry Twitter users likely prompted her to rethink her decision to weigh in on the terribly contentious issue.
2. A member of a music group that sounds like a global charity organization
Some kid from a boy band called “One Direction,” which sounds like a group dedicated to ending world hunger, also tweeted “#FreePalestine” to his many followers.
However, unlike Rihanna, Zayn Malik left his tweet in place, standing by its message.
3. Mia Farrow
Mother of noted emoji enthusiast Ronan Farrow decided last week to offer this very useful and insightful thought:
4. Soccer player Joey Barton
Professional soccer player and hooligan Joey Barton had this to say about the conflict in Gaza, prompting a good deal of irritation from former teammate and Israeli team captain Yossi Benayoun:
@Joey7Barton mate things can never changed you have been stupid and you will stay stupid all your life..embarrassing .— Yossi Benayoun (@YossiBenayoun15) July 25, 2014
5. Bill Maher
Somewhere in the tragically unfunny mind of HBO host and anti-theist Bill Maher, a joke comparing Hamas to domestic violence and hitting women became a good idea.
Because we're a terrible, fallen people, and we deserve people like Maher:
Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who's trying to kill u - u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her— Bill Maher (@billmaher) July 18, 2014
6. John Legend
Professional musician* John Legend scored himself a “twofer”: A dig at Israel and Secretary of State John Kerry. He tweeted, "So sick watching our Secretary of State have to grovel so hard to tell Israel how much he loves them while Israeli cabinet [poops] on him."
7 & 8. Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz
"Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air,” the married couple said in a open letter condemning Israel for its military operations in Gaza.
The letter, which was published by Europa Press, also dubbed the Israeli military the "Israel Occupation Forces.”
"Palestinians' homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing,” the letter added.
With additional signatures from directors Pedro Almodovar and Benito Zambrano, actors Lola Herrera, Eduardo Noriega and Rosa Maria Sarda, the letter also accused Israel of genocide.
9. Mark Ruffalo
The fact that Hamas uses areas populated by civilians to store weapons and launch attacks seems to be lost on certain entertainers, including Ruffalo.
His tweet was met with harsh criticism, but he's not one to back away, tweeting later: “Sorry, I thought blowing up Hospitals was something that all human beings could agree was off limits.”
10. Woody Allen
Director and noted nervous person Woody Allen in a recent interview with the Daily Beast offered this trenchant analysis of the Israel-Palestine conflict:
I feel that the Arabs were not very nice in the beginning, and that was a big problem. The Jews had just come out of a terrible war where they were exterminated by the millions and persecuted all over Europe, and they were given this tiny, tiny piece of land in the desert. If the Arabs had just said, “Look, we know what you guys have been through, take this little piece of land and we’ll all be friends and help you,” and the Jews came in peace, but they didn’t. They were not nice about it, and it led to problems.
Look, I'm not very good off the cuff either, but surely he has something a bit more insightful than that.
Allen’s flailing analysis aside, here are my final thoughts: Everyone is entitled to their opinion and no one should be muzzled for speaking their mind. However, just as the people listed in the above are free to sound off on Gaza, I’m free to make fun of them for it.
See, it’s important to remember that celebrities wield a certain amount of influence. Indeed, millions of eager fans listen to these people.
So, perhaps it would be best, then, if certain influential people avoid supporting context-less hashtag campaigns, making ill-timed jokes and offering grossly oversimplified explanations for longstanding conflicts and instead offer something a bit more thoughtful.
I mean, members of the gilded class are perfectly welcome to do any of the things I just listed. I’ll just mock them for it, and my three readers and I will laugh and laugh and laugh.
*He may or may not be adept at playing the piano. I'm not sure if pointing this out will get me into trouble. I'm fairly certain I can say he plays music for a living, but please, please don't tell anyone I mentioned the piano.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece was first published at 6 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1, and was updated at 6:55 a.m.