Friday, April 27, 2007

Extreme Malaise

This week, American Idol presented “Idol gives back”: a star-packed extravaganza with montage-galore footing of Simon & co. touring impoverished areas of Africa, Los Angeles & New Orleans. The intent, we’re to understand, was to raise funds for various caritative initiatives. Excuse my skepticism despite the reported 30 million dollars raised.

It’s difficult to criticize humanitarian efforts but surprisingly, I will. Allow me to set up a scene for you: Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest visit an AIDS ravaged area of Africa. As they enter a hut where a woman is visibly on her last breaths, Simon declares: “this is no way to die” (but apparently pointing a TV camera in her face is). He then instructs his driver to take the woman to the closest hospital while struggling to get her in a comfortable position on the SUV’s back seat. Mission accomplished, Simon. Now take your rich-man-guilt-ridden ass back to Hollywood.

I applaud all efforts for improvement of conditions in the Third World. Many have been doing it for decades without the applauses and fanfares. We should help the Third World because as rich nations, it’s our responsibility and because in reality, we are at the root of problems crippling many of the World’s aching regions: Africa, New Orleans and Haïti, for example. What we shouldn’t do is suddenly feel compelled because Oprah, Madonna and Angelina Jolie do.

Idol has turned bravado and responsibility into gross arrogance.

One wonders also, how Native Americans felt while watching this display of impulsive generosity.

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