Celebrity Charity – Cashing in on the suffering of others?

Celebrity Charity – Cashing in on the suffering of others?

 

In an article called  The Hipocrisy of “Humanitarian Activists”, Evelyn Gordon wrote in 09.14.2011 for Commentary Magazine:

“It’s now been two months since the UN officially declared a famine in Somalia; last week, it said the famine had spread to a sixth region of the country, and without aid, as many as 750,000 people are facing “imminent” death. Strangely, there have been no reports of  humanitarian aid flotillas mobilizing to answer the call. Yet just two months ago, 10 boats from all over the world mobilized to try to relieve the  “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, where the UN has never declared a famine or warned that anyone risks dying of hunger; indeed, on key measures of  humanitarian wellbeing like life expectancy and infant mortality, Gazans surpass  even some OECD countries, not to mention much of the developing world. ”

He does not believe who does not live according to his belief. ~Thomas Fuller

It begs the question though , when is a charity actually a charity? You know, an organization that gives aid to deserving causes – rather than being an ego boost to “celebthropists” or a vehicle to launder money from a gullible congregation.

guess the question is- how much money do you have to give before you can be considered to be genuinely compassionate? What do you have to say/do before you are considered a ‘genuine’ campaigner? One can argue that he should give more, but ultimately it should be up to governments and the relevant organizations to put the money in.

 

The problem here is that ‘Government’ doesn’t have any money – that money is all our money, taken in taxes.

In The Guardian article of 2010:”Bono: the celebrity who just keeps giving”

U2 singer Bono and the rise of the celebrity humanitarian
Bono at the 2010 Atlantic Council awards dinner

Bono: the U2 singer at the 2010 Atlantic Council awards, where he was given the Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership award in April 2010. Photograph: Kris Connor/Getty Images

Forgive the reheating of old chestnuts, but it seems appropriate to begin with a classic urban myth starring Bono, recently described with due reverence by Viz as “the little twat with a big heart”. The apocryphal story finds our hero on stage between songs, intriguing his audience by repeatedly clapping his hands together. “Every time I clap my hands,” he finally intones, “a child in Africa dies.”

At which point someone in the crowd shouts: “Then stop fucking clapping!”

As I say, it’s an old favourite, but it was called to mind this week by news that Bono’s ONE campaign had blitzed the New York media with fancy gift boxes. These contained several items, from designer water bottles to $15 bags of Starbucks coffee, as well as information explaining that poverty-stricken African children live on less than $1.25 a day – “about the cost of the cookie in this box”.

To which the only reasonable rejoinder would seem to be: “Then stop spending your money on biscuits for journalists.”

Some comments:

Taxes which Bono tries to avoid paying, quite legally, but expects us poorer people to continue to pay (as we cannot avoid them) so that ‘Governments should do something’. He could give half of his money away to his good cause and not notice it was gone. Can you, I or the Irish Government do the same – no.

And yet, he doesn’t.

He doesn’t care – he just wants to seem to care.

 

Celebrity Charity – Cashing in on the suffering of others?

It often seems to be the case these days that if someone asks you to name a celebrity that is deeply ‘involved’ in charity work, you will pretty much pull a name out of the hat very quickly.

There has been for example, such famous people as Bono from U2 with his charity ONE, Bob Geldof with LiveAid/Live8, Madonna with Make a Wish Foundation, to name but a few.

But what do we think of this ‘kind’ of charity, this celebrity charity? Is it another noble step in the quest to rid mankind of all the major ills in this world?

OR

Is it the highest form of hypocrisy, with many of these rich celebrities asking you to give more money to such-and-such-a-cause while they live lavishly?

Is this actually advancing the many causes of charity work, or is it slowly killing it?

What do we think of the desire to do good on the part of the celebrity? Is it genuine, or is it just so that they can sleep well at night and use it to justify their life style? What would you say and do if you were a celebrity looking to get involved in charity, i.e. would you put your money where your mouth is?

Your thoughts please peoples

p.s. I’m sure we all have a celebrity that we despise, but let’s try and keep the comments clean, after all we are all philosophers here.

Proximo wrote:But what do we think of this ‘kind’ of charity, this celebrity charity? Is it another noble step in the quest to rid mankind of all the major ills in this world?

OR

Is it the highest form of hypocrisy, with many of these rich celebrities asking you to give more money to such-and-such-a-cause while they live lavishly?

It’s sort of both. Doubtless the chief motive tends to be publicity, and they don’t exactly tend to fall over themselves to give all their money away; nonetheless, it may be doing some good. The road to heaven is paved with bad intentions?

Proximo wrote:Is this actually advancing the many causes of charity work, or is it slowly killing it?

Very good question.

I’m sure we all know people who drone the fatuous mantra “we’ve given enough, and they’re still hungry!” or whatever. I don’t know exactly how cheaply and easily these people were expecting to drag billions of people out of poverty, but I’m willing to wager that a fiver every Red Nose Day isn’t going to cut it.

The economist Jeffrey Sachs estimates that the”big 8″ countries would need to give 0.8% of their GNP to foreign aid, annually, for the next twenty years in order to completely solve world poverty. (This figure isn’t uncontroversial, by the way, and it overlooks the potency of obstacles like Kim Jong Il and Robert Mugabe). Just to put this into context, the UK spends 3% of its GDP on alcohol. Since the multinational agreement, Great Britain has done the most admirably of the 8 countries, with a colossal…0.32%. The US has managed 0.15%.

So, given our pathetic efforts, drawn out over the many years, and the fact that everybody seems to think we’ve emptied our pockets, I wonder if these ineffectual campaigns are having a negative effect; by never coming close to the criteria, they undermine the sense of hope.

Proximo wrote:What do we think of the desire to do good on the part of the celebrity? Is it genuine, or is it just so that they can sleep well at night and use it to justify their life style?

Well, I know you didn’t want us picking on individuals, but one never passes up an opportunity for iconoclasm, so: let’s discuss Mother Theresa. Frequently cited a friend of the poor, but rather, best friend o’ poverty. This saint accepted money from Reagan (during his funding of the Nicaraguan Junta, terrorism in Guatemala, and a matter of months after the Mayan slaughters) and from her friends, the Duvalier family of despots of Haiti.

For all of the charitable funding which Mother Theresa, no audit has ever been published; but we do know that nothing was invested in her dilapidated Calcutta hospice; there is rich testimony from many of her missionaries and nurses, that she was using – and having them use – not just less-than-awesome equipment and methods, but actually substandard to the point of being deadly ones. We also know that 500 new proselytizing Christian convents were opened up in her name across a wide region; one gets the feeling this is not what the charity money had been intended, by its donators, for.

One of Mother Teresa’s many profound messages was that she needed the poor, because they helped bring her closer to God. This is not the profile of somebody who wanted to end poverty. And this is a saint we’re talking about, so I don’t think we should presume too much of Hollywood’s philanthropic community.

Lomax

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As in

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/09/14/aid-flotilla-gaza-syria/

http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=18436

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/lostinshowbiz/2010/sep/23/bono-one-millennium-development-goals?commentpage=2

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