In a culture where every day we’re afraid to look at the news, lest we hear of yet another public figure who’s caught up in an appalling scandal, Oscar winner Tom Hanks remains one of Hollywood’s best examples of a decent guy. Not perfect, not a scoundrel; not too political, but ready to stand up for what he believes in; not preachy, but, well, he’s a guy who takes the time to return a lost ID card to a college student.
All of these traits are what inspired bestselling author Gavin Edwards to devote his latest literary effort to The World According to Tom Hanks, a book that traces Hanks’ warped Brady Bunch childhood and burgeoning love of making people laugh all the way through to his early hit comedies, and the key career choice that led him to dramatic performances in epic movies that would net him, so far, two Academy Awards. In this episode of Pop Literacy, we chat with Gavin about his truly inspiring deep dive on an actor as committed to being a good human as he is to being a good performer, the beacon we need in 2018.
And then we discuss: When should celebrities stand up for what they believe in, especially given our divisive times, and when should they STFU? Hanks has considered a run for office in the past, something Michael Moore, among others, has cheered. And who doesn't smile just a little at the thought of President The Rock? Taylor Swift has taken heat for staying too quiet on politics, particularly in the 2016 presidential election, but when she finally recently spoke up, endorsing a pair of Tennessee Democrats, spurred thousands of new voter registrations. On the other hand, Kanye West's recent visit to the White House inspired no one. What are the standards of citizenship for celebrities?