Should Scarlett Johansson be banned from calling you?

Some states are looking at banning robocalling by celebrities on behalf of political candidates.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Still stunned by the tale of a man who called 911 to complain that Subway had left the sauce off his sandwich, I discover another telephony cacophony.

It surrounds robocalling.

Which, apparently, involves some clever and remarkably cost-effective technology that allows millions of calls, many featuring the (scripted, naturally) voices of the famous, to be made simultaneously on behalf of political candidates.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, activists are fighting to regulate political calls in a way similar to the Do Not Call Registry that came into effect five years ago to regulate America's (or, sometimes, Canada's) most thick-skinned humans- telemarketers.

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The FTC excluded political telephonies citing freedom of speech issues.

Now the thing about celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson is that, well, their fame and their general heroic nature makes their calls more effective.

Allegedly, when Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice was used in a robocall, the total recall was so pulsating that people stayed on the line hoping for an encore.

Which creates a huge moral dilemma. There are those who would wish that people should be able simply to opt in. That is, to choose to take the robocalls or not.

However, there is a more equitable and human solution.

Those who are couch-sunken at home, desperate for a little respite, should be able to choose precisely which celebrity is allowed to call them.

We should all be able to register online and ensure that, for example, Chuck Norris, was not allowed to call us. Unless he gives us free karate lessons. We should be able to banish Barbra Streisand from our homes. Unless she sings. We should be able to veto Danny DeVito. And say no to DiCaprio.

Equally, if Ted Danson, the Dixie Chicks or our favorite Muppet or Teletubby are voices that we would love to hear under any circumstance, we should be given the right to say so.

Of course, I am not saying that all these celebrities choose to be politically active in this way. But we should state our preferences clearly and unequivocally. Just in case.

You never know, the use of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears in a John McCain ad might make these two hitherto neutral celebrities as active politically as they are socially.

We should be able to decide in advance whether we want them to be active in our house.