« You look too happy—here’s “the suicide song” | Main | Malaria in Palawan: what they don’t tell you »

June 01, 2005



Well, if they do give money and publicize it, we criticize them for being show-offs or using the issues to gain good PR. If they choose to give silently and stay low-profile, we suspect them of not giving enough or anything at all. I just think it's good that they've exposed kids to issues they would never have been exposed to otherwise, like third world debt/poverty, Aids, etc somthing which most politicians have failed to do. AS the for the crappy cheesy music, well...


OK, I know you think I'm being cynical, but just a few additional points. First, your comment assumes that the stars DO give money to charity whereas I doubt that that is the case. It is us, the cannon fodder in the Live Aid crusade, who are are expected to actually pay up for these things. Second, if my idea of a sur title broadcasting a particular pop star's donations were applied to ALL Live Aid performers there would be no question of anyone being accused of being a show-off. Third, your comment also assumes that the eventual outcome of Live Aid will be beneficial, with the end justifying the means and the awful music. However, that is not necessarily the case. Right about the time of the first Live Aid in the UK there appeared a similarly self congratulatory event called "Comic relief". This meant that if you donated 30p to charity you got to put a "red nose" on your car proclaiming your generosity to the world. Other similar events mushroomed, allowing people to boast of their generosity by wearing ribbons and suchlike. Again, you might think "well so what, so long as it did some good", but in fact "the spread of ribbon-wearing has not been accompanied by a growth in charitable giving. Between 1995-99, as ribbons flourished, donations to good causes dropped 31 per cent." That quote comes from a brochure on "conspicuous grieving and donating" published by Civitas last year. I think the author's summing up is right on the money: "To today's collective 'carers', the fate of the homeless, starving Africans or dead celebrities is not actually of principal importance ... what really drives their behaviour is the need to be seen to care. And they want to be seen displaying compassion because they want to be loved themselves."


My beef with Live Aid and similar ventures is that they somewhat assume that cash thrown at Africa and other distressed "Third World" countries will solve the problems. Surely they don't think Africa got like that simply because of famines and AIDS? Here's X million pounds, go buy yourselves some mosquito nets, condoms and seedlings seems to be the approach.

What of the failed structural adjustment plans rammed down the throats of fragile economies, the tyrants supported by Western governments, etc? Money is welcome but as the cliche goes, it's not everything. In this case, it's not even the main point.


Good point. Live Aid is just another example of the simplistic "bumper sticker" approach that passes for thinking in the digital world (see post above). Go to a concert, have a good time, cough up 50p, feel good about myself, problem solved. Even if it DOES bring some short-term relief, I don't think it is the way to go, even if it does sensitize some young people to these issues.


What about almost all of the governments in Africa who are already corrupt to the core? Yeah letting them have more money will definitely bring happiness to the already insatiable 1% of the aristocracy there. What a joke this guy Bob Geldorf is! Is he high on crack? Cuz he sure looks like shit.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad