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.