Nov 14, 2005

A little tirade

Children in Need soon.


There are few sites more repulsive than a well fed (or indeed, in the case of most acresses and models, horrifically underfed) celebrity sweeping serenely through a wasteland of poverty, famine, disease and war, staring earnestly to camera and imploring us to give our money to help these people.

In itself I do not object to such acts of charity.

Charity itself I object to as a liberal salve, a few measely crumbs thrown from the carriage to the horses; always just enough to keep them heaving onwards. But it is a necessary evil. Pragmatism must win out.

I object to the people. The vile, pampered, patronising celebrities and the shameless, blindly hypocritical bile that they spew out to camera on cue whenever someone points a malnourished Romanian in their direction.

Even more disgusting is when they air drop a black celebrity into Africa, or an Asian celebrity into Pakistan, and they squeal emotionally as if there is some deeper racial connection based on the irrelevant and arbitrary similarity in their pigmentation.

If a generation of freed slaves who returned to Africa, to their 'spiritual home', found the continent a vast alienating unknown, what the flaming fuck does Lenny Henry think he knows about that the place? His blackness doesn't give him any better idea about what its like to walk 10 miles to get water than the ignorant white fucker they would have sent in his place.

Its performance. Superficiality.

He looks like them and that's enough. Because these people are never there long enough to know what they're talking about. So it's theatre. And that is repulsive.

Do these people think their personal wealth exists entirely in isolation to the poverty they see around them? Do they not realise that the twenty million dollars they claimed for their last film was not plucked, note by note, from the studio exec's ass? That (all the complexities of finance considered) almost every you penny you make is a penny taken from somewhere else?

How do you sit amongst huts made of straw and justify even one mansion, let alone three? How do you justify the decadence of that life? To live so far beyond what is necessary, to live so far beyond what is even luxury while explaining that people are starving. A gutteral rage starts bubbling in me just thinking about it.

When it comes down to it, there's no way you can justify such hypocrisy in a manner that shows genuine care for the people you are pleading for.

Acting/singing/being at parties is not hard. Ive done it and yes the hours can be long but it's easy as fuck. Bill Murray can be filmed doing nothing but staring at camera and be considered a master. Admittedly he at least has enough sense to consider this embarassing.

You begin as an unknown, arbitrarily get a couple of memorable roles/songs and you've got it made. Gravitas is guaranteed by longevity. Even if you're embarassingly awful you will eventually come back into fashion.

There is no balance. Talent and toil do not equal success. Success is the product of an abritrary series of fortunate events that you happened to be at the sharp end of. And as plaudits and money compete to rain on you harder, you invariably will be forced to question this.

And as far as I can see you have three options. You can believe your own hype. You can ignore any pangs of conscience and drown yourself in hedonism. Or you can relieve that guilty imbalance by 'giving something back'.

The last is by far the safest option. Shuffle a about 2% of your obscene wealth into a charity, take a couple of days out a month (or a year) to be shot touching sick kids or wandering through a deserted village and suddenly you feel a lot better about yourself. You are using your fortunate position to help the needy.

Except you're not. You're running 10 paces forward and skipping back an inch. You might as well wait till the camera's finished rolling and take a couple of the smaller one's out yourself. You, individually a still an obscene, grotesque bulging locus of wealth that at the end of the line ends up draining out of this barren wasteland you're standing in.

The real benefitiary of such charity are the celebrities themselves. Sleeping a little easier in their very large beds.


Ithika said...

I think it's the bear, myself. Pudsy. There's something slightly disturbing about that eye patch. It's a mascot made cute for cuteness's sake. Or it might be the detestable presence of Terry Wogan and others. There's just something particularly sickening about the whole CiN experience that doesn't apply to any other charity event.

My fist of flounce said...

"We are the children/ We are in need/ If you want to help/Help Children in Need"

Why should those lines course through my brain like cyanide; vast chourses in kiddies similarly plucked not from an orphanage/hospital but St.Thomas on the Bourne's award winning choir.

Tonight YOU have helped us raise £60m!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now go buy everything you see on Big Brother.

The Real World said...

There is one sight more sickening, and it's the sight of a complacent prick sneering at society's complacency without ever quite cottoning on that he's a symptom of it, just a different type of tumour.

Since being rich precludes you from giving a fuck about anything, or indeed being a human being at all, let's just never do anything for anyone ever again but sit and sneer at poverty and despair simply because a famous person is telling us about it.

Of course charity drives are essentially palliatives, band-aids over wounds caused by a greater sickness endemic to society itself, a sickness which can't be combatted with money but with education, understanding and work. But only a genuine simpleton would attack the painkillers; they don't cure the disease but they still help in the short term. You don't jump up and down on paracetamol just because it's a treatment and not a cure. You take the treatment and hope for a cure. You attempt to educate the public on the root causes of poverty and injustice. You don't sneer at them for trying to help, even if they don't understand how small that scale is.

And you certainly don't throw a paddy just because some rich people care about stuff.

In conclusion, for all your superiority, your ability to see the artifice in celebrity endorsements of charitable causes for God's sake, and your fantastically unique view of the wider issues at play, you're still contributing less to the world than Fiona Bruce, or Bono, or Terry Wogan. You're part of the problem. Get out of the road.