Actor Mark Ruffalo (he plays the Hulk in The Avengers movies, but it wasn’t because of that role) was invited to testify before Congress last year on public policy involving public health, chemistry, toxicology, and epidemiology. He has no expertise in these areas at all. The reason was that he starred in “Dark Waters,” which I wrote about here.
Ruffalo is a 9/11 truther, believing that the U.S. government helped destroy the World Trade Center. That would be enough for me to ding him as an authority on anything, but he has embraced other conspiracy theories as well, like this one.
Never mind: he was presented to the public as an authority on pollution whose opinions on environmental matters have weight. The don’t, and they shouldn’t.
This is a repeat offense. Members of Congress are addicted to the unprofessional and insulting stunt of inviting actors and performers to testify as substantive witnesses on topics that they acted about in movies. As a professional director, I can state with absolute certainty that if an actor is really an expert in something their character was supposed to experience or know something about, 1) that actor is very unusual, and 2) there will still be thousands of real authorities who know a lot more.
Nevertheless, Congress keeps doing this, apparently believing that the public is so naive and gullible that they really believe that because a performer credibly pretends to know what a script-writer prepares to make them sound like the know, they really are experts. Sadly, a lot of the public does believe that. (More sadly, a lot of actors do too) Continue reading