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The Wachowski Brothers killed the spotted owls!

[Thanks to reader Carey for sending this along and spiking my morning blood pressure]

Meet Jennifer Horton. Jennifer is an idealist and college student in Georgia. Jennifer would like us all to stop going to movies and feed the world's hungry instead.

Rather than going to see "The Matrix Reloaded," "Daddy Day Care," "Down with Love" or one of the other many movies playing, people could instead donate their money to charity and make a huge impact.

See, Jennifer is upset that movies cost so much to make. She thinks the money could be better spent by feeding starving children in Africa or saving the rainforests or keeping the spotted horny owl from extinction.

While I feel bad about the trees and the kids and the owls and the homeless, I don't feel bad enough to forego entertainment in order to save the world.

I work hard for my money. Unlike that guy who sits in front of 7-11 every day, bumming cigarettes and asking for handouts, I go to work. I earn my living. I pay my taxes and contribute to society. I'll be damned if I am going to give up a night of escape in a movie theater so that guy can eat his next meal.

My eight bucks is not going to save the rainforest. I'm sorry for the butterflies that flap their wings and make the world go round, but rather than give my money to the Exotic Species of South America foundation, I am saving it for Terminator 3 and its special effects that probably cost millions of dollars to create. I will thank the makers of the movie for their fine product that enabled me to sit in a darkened theater for a while and not think about the Middle East.

Now, I'm not some anti-entertainment prude; I enjoy watching a well-made movie as much as the next person, but it does disturb me to see so much money invested in crashing a few cars just right when there are children all over the world who go to bed hungry, impoverished Africans without clean water and a multitude of people in Third-World countries suffering from disease.

Jen's idealism, charming in an "I'm so naive" kind of way, is also shortsighted. The hungry and impoverished in third world countries are that way because they have corrupt leaders. No matter how many movies you give up, no matter how many dollar bills you crumble into a ball and throw at those countries, those people will still be impoverished because their leaders will eat the money before they let it get to hands that will feed the poor.

See, it's not really Jen's idea to bring the world to greener pastures that bothers me. It's the fact that, like a true socialist, she wants to take away from those who have and spend it on those who don't.

Here is the most revealing passage, the way you can tell Jen is on the road to true moonbat stardom:

So the next time you head out to the movies, donate a few dollars to an important cause. That way, when you're sitting in the theater, hand in a bucket of buttered popcorn, eyes glued to the screen, you can rest easy and lose yourself in the state-of-the-art surround sound because you know you've done your small part to offset all the useless two-mile-loop freeways in the world.

Oh, I get it now! It's all about appeasing your own sense of guilt for having more than other people. In stunning leftish fashion, Jen gets to the heart of what her kind are all about: Self. They don't care about anyone's freedom or a country's food shortage. They just care about making themselves feel good.

Stage a protest and you can go home and rest in peace.
Stage a sit-in and you can read that book without your guilt haunting you.
Make a protest sign and you can go to bed with a smile on your face.

Nevermind if all your protests and idealism and petty donations don't amount to a hill of beans in the long run. As long as you did your part, no matter how small, you have appeased the flames of guilt in your soul with the sacrifice of your virgin humanitarianism.

I think I'll go see two movies this weeknd. Just to spite her.

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» Almost like kicking puppies from Silent Running
Michele takes to task Jennifer, an idealistic La Grange College student who thinks we should all stop going to movies, and spend it to save the owls. Some might think that raining on Jennifer's high ideals might be tantamount to... [Read More]

» Charity Begins At The MultiPlex from Late Final
A teen-ager in Georgia wants the world to forego movies and use the ticket money, instead, to feed the world's hungry. Michele at A Small Victory isn't in the mood for idealism: "Jen's idealism, charming in an 'I'm so naive'... [Read More]

» Die, spotted owls, die! from Inoperable Terran
Some lefty whinges that all the money spent making movies should be dropped on starving Africans instead. Michele ain't down with that.... [Read More]

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Comments

Darwin was right!!!

Wow, thats almost like kicking puppies...

Here, wait, I want a turn...

Oh, and did I mention that I think I'll go take in some movies this weekend for FREE.

Nice to be tied in to the vast Hollywood-Industro-Entertainment-conspiracy-network.

That's how a justify my guilt feelings - not tossing my bucks to cover the admin overhead for the lefties that print the protest signs for the Jennifer's of the world, nor to the bubbleheaded deep thinking entertainers that get up in front of them and egg them on...

aaahhhh.

Feh. Fishing in a barrel. She's a COLLEGE student, Michele.

Can't you at least pick on grad students? They're slightly more of a challenge.

Michelle you may be wrong saying that all their leaders are corrupt. Some may just be incompetent.

Aw, cripes! Have i mentioned lately that the moonbat journalism of the AJC does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions (and intelligence) of the citizens of Atlanta? Mind you, some here actually read that rag, but personally, I am more of a sadist than masochist, and therefore don't touch the thrice-damned thing.

I have another scoop for everyone, if you stop buying new clothing and learn how to cobble your own shoes, you could donate all that money you would have spent to charity. You can also cut down to two means a day, just brunch and lupper. Think of the CHILLLLLDDRENNNN!

moron.

ugh, that should be "meal" not "mean", preview is my friend, preview is my friend

Hmm... isn't it "unfair" that some people get to go to college, while children in many parts of the world don't even reach basic literacy?

I think Jennifer should drop out and donate her tuition money to third world education programs.

Maybe she should give up her car (if she has one) and her computer, too. It isn't "fair" that she should have those things when so many people don't.

And I strongly suspect that she's not eating plain rice for three meals a day.

Tell Little Miss Horton that if the government didn't take so much of my pay in taxes I would have a lot more to give to charity. Or better yet, I would have enough that I could give some bum a job.

True story from Insanity Cruz: There was a proposal to require able-bodied single people to work for the city 20 hours a month at minimum wage to maintain eligibility for food stamps. One of the council members went off on the proposal because "people who really need food stamps might leave the program".

This is just one of many reasons I can no longer be guilted by people like Little Miss Horton.

It's My money. I worked for it. I produced a product that other people wanted to spend Their money on. I will spend it on what I damn well please.

If you want to protect a thing, put an economic benefit on a thing. For example, if it was decided that spotted owls were good to eat, things would be done by the consumer to make sure there were plenty of them.

In general, I have no problems with Jennifer's idea. It's her money, she should be able to choose to spend it as she sees fit. Don't begrudge liberals spending their money this way. She isn't calling for a tax on movies, she's using her 1st amendment rights to argue how people should spend their own money. In fact, it doesn't appear she is even picking a favorite charity, but just mentioning her favorites. Do it or don't do it, but be glad it's persuation rather than taxation she's using.

Jennifer’s letter has also inspired me to see two movies – and to buy extra popcorn.

I never finish those oversized bags of popcorn, or the huge sodas. People throw a lot of that food away. I wonder how many dumpster divers would starve if we stopped going to the movies…

Perry – LOL – that would probably work.

Neal Boortz had a few choice words about young Miss Horton on his radio show this morning. In fact he composed a Letter to her which you can view at the following URL. Sorry, no permalink, you'll just have to scroll down

http://www.boortz.com/nealznuz.htm

I saw the artice in yesterday's AJC and didn't know whether to feel sorry for the silly little girl or recommend vigorous application of the ClueBat. She' young enough that maybe she isn't beyond hope yet.

I've gotta go with Harry on this one. To me, the girl is doing nothing different than what the Wachowski brothers do when they pay a couple million for TV ads. She is simply using a free (to her) venue to try and convince me to spend my money here, not there. I'm not gonna do it, but then, the Wachowski brothers haven't gotten any of my money yet either.

I don't think anyone is implying that she shouldn't have the right to express herself, but I think it's perfectly within everyone else's rights to think that she needs to be educated in the finer points of life.

Further, let's go easy on the college kids, ok? Not all of us are clueless.

I've always believed in helping one's fellow man. I also always believed Sally Struthers got that big from eating the children she kept yammering about. If a charity is corporately run, chances are a large percentage of donations goes to the people who run it. I'll give my money to the small places, locally, thank you, Ms. Horton.
Oh, and I saw "Finding Nemo" twice... it was great... I wonder if that makes the baby jeebus cry?

i saw matrix reloaded 4 times. jen... you can go cram it with walnuts.

I don't think it's a bad thing for college kids to be somewhat naive and idealistic. The point is not that this girl sees overly simplistic solutions to complex problems - it's that she's concerned about those problems and believes things can get better. There's nothing wrong with urging people to donate to causes they believe in.

If this girl were to say exactly the same things ten or twenty years from now, it'd be OK to rip into her. But for a kid in college who's not even saying anything particularly objectionable, it seems like an over-reaction to me.

Lord almighty, how idiotic. (Jennifer, not Michele.) I've got tons and tons to say about this, but I have to teach in ten minutes, so for now, let me just say that there's a difference between "naive" and "idealistic", but chicks like this really blur that line.

Looking down on materialistic Western society and bloviating about how we should feed the Children™ or save the spotted owls instead of indulging our selfless needs is the modern age's version of wearing a hairshirt and flagellating yourself in public. Back in the Middle Ages that was supposed to show your piety. The modern version serves much the same purpose. And there's more than a bit of misanthropy involved.

On the other hand, receiving an education from other people, about what might be flawed (or accurate) with her argument is part of the reason for attending college. Or, at least, before education became more about becoming an offensive-free zone for PC indoctrination.

Can I donate $8 to the 'Pimp-slap Whiny Little Bitch Jennifer Horton to Death' fund? Just doing my bit to make the world a better place.

Anyway, seeing a movie here in Costa RIca costs more like $3, so I'm going to have to cut down some rainforest or shoot something endangered to compensate.

I'm not sure that the passage itself warrants the vicious personally-directed fury it's been receiving here.

It's only a suggestion, people. And not a totally hateful one at that. While this suggestion has people surging forward in crimson-faced waves against her, i don't doubt that proposing that less money should be paid to company directors (or 'fat cats' as they're so imaginatively and repetitively called) would receive a far less vitriolic response. And yet both are examples of the freedom of privately owned companies to do whatever the fuck they want with their money, a decision which 'the people' have no influence on. which is fair enough really...

No one's TAKING from anyone, folks. No one's going to trample over neatly manicured lawns to steal from the rich to feed corrupt dictators. Much as the 'feed the world' philosophy cloys on the 'realist' palate, it really doesn't deserve the sort of bitterness this simple comment has received.

I'm all for point and counterpoint, but statements like 'her kind' and 'moron' reeks of a preference for name-calling as opposed to intelligent discussion. Sorry...

No one is forcing you to do anything here. Free speech is alive and kicking, for all points of view. The red menace is still far from the door, so no need to load the shotguns yet, folks.

I get it now. Money solves everything! Throw enough money at the problem and it will go away.
So where is the fund that proposes (and has a good chance) to castrate the EU so we can import more food to Africa, gets rid of murderous thugs like Mugabe that use food as a weapon, and allows an international organization like the U.N. to have a spine transplant? I'll donate to that, miss a movie, and just skip to the part where I stick my hand in some warm gelatinous butter-like product...

CC, the point is that she doesn't give a damn about anything than relieveing her guilt that so many horrible things go on in the world. This is the standard cause-head approach that, for my money, causes more problems than they fix since they only try to fix symptoms, not the problems. And as was said in the piece, it is only about self.

The problem with that argument, justified as it may be, is that it's opposite view is motivated by the same principle - self-interest.

Much of the anger, and i suspect the protestations for 'realism' (always a little disconcerting since they usually mask selfish motives), comes as people consider money they have earned in gruelling jobs being syphoned off to pay for distant problems. Many of these people have families to support, and, although that definitely doesn't give them any more right to money than single earners, it's nevertheless an expense which is right in their faces.

And that's perfectly understandable. Which is why she mentioned leisure funds, and not taxes. It's non-essential funds, and it's only discretionary.

It may be a little unfair to reduce the gal's belief with that tag. None of us are aware of the strength of her beliefs. The personal line used strikes me as an attempt to reach the reader one-to-one...kind of a standard sales patter for empathy.

The problem that many charities face is that many expect short-term success on their donations, and they're working on a tight deadline. Sure, we'd all want a long term plan and infrastructure change, but who's gonna give to a charity who lost thousands of people to starvation in the meantime? It's a constant battle, and there are far more hateful people out there than Ms Horton...

I think Jennifer has a rigourously narrow view about where that money came from and where its going to.

First, let's consider where the money spent on making the Matrix came from. Some no doubt came from private investors and producers in the hopes of making a profit. Some was financed by the studio or distributer. A great deal of this money became available because of movies existing in the first place.

Secondly, that money just doesn't disappear into space. Stick around, see the credits, and realize that there are people who feed their families off of these movies. Graphic designers who have work because of movies. Artists who get to see their visions come to life AND make a living doing it. Actors, some of whom turn right back around and donate that money to many many charities. (Angelina Jolie, for example, who is currently donating money to help preserve Cambodian rainforests and conserve the historical treasures at Angkor Wat and who adopted a Cambodian child and is raising him.) Say goodbye to "big budget" movies or video games or whatever, and watch an entire industry suffer economically. There are people who have jobs in that industry--does she want them to starve? You don't create economic parity for all by removing an industry, but by creating new ones.

Thirdly, how do you know that those folks who went and saw the movie aren't donating to charities themselves?

That said, Jennifer can spend her money however she wants to. She can even try to convince other people to spend as she does--but she should probably be aware that the real world isn't so simple.

Crimson Cow - From the biography of an aid worker in the Sudan:

http://www.salon.com/books/review/2002/12/11/scroggins/index1.html

“When you see starving Rwandans or Somalis or Bosnians staring out of your television screens with solemn dignity, you get the idea that such places must be like mass hospitals in the dust. You think they must be entirely populated by emaciated children lining up for food handed out by heroic aid workers. Television leaves out the manic excitement of the camps. Power is naked in such places. It comes down to who has food and who doesn't. The aid workers try to cover it up, to make the men with guns at least pretend to deny themselves in favor of the children and the women. The men play along for a while, but then the mask falls away. The strong always eat first ... ."

From an article in the Telegraph:

“Why is it taking so long to get humanitarian agencies working inside Baghdad? Clearly the lawlessness has aggravated the situation and charities rightly do not want to put their staff at unreasonable risk. But many of those to whom I have spoken admit that they are uncomfortable about the background to this war - which probably explains the poor co-ordination between military and aid workers. Most are signed up to the Red Cross code of conduct, which stipulates that they must not allow themselves to be used as an instrument of foreign policy.”

"When Bush came out and said if you are not with us, you are against us, it made us all stop and think," one director told me. "If he forced us to make the choice, then we would be against him, because we are not for or against anyone - we are a global family. I think there is a feeling out there that 'you made the mess, you clear it up'.

These aid workers describe starving Iraqis as a ‘mess’. NGOs that are committed to UN involvement, who are opposed to military action allow despots like Saddam, Mugabe and those crazies in the Sudan and the Congo to do as they please. Their political bias often does nothing to aid human rights, and it often fails to feed the starving.

If you visit Greenpeace’s site, you’d believe that they were all about helping the people of the third world achieve a self-sufficiency. If you read actual newspapers in the third world, or spoke to some local African-American activists, you’d realize that Greenpeace is hated by many of the people they are supposedly helping.

http://www.core-online.org/news/release_4.htm

I gave to some charities - the more I read about them, the more I believe that movies and popcorn do more to improve the lives of people around the world than some of those charities do. I'm not surprised that they're having a hard time lately.

Actually, I'm fond of pointing out that spending $X dollars on luxuries means letting N residents of the third world starve to death, or otherwise die of easily-treated ailments.

But I only do it when talking to people who berate me for not giving money to Greenpeace, or whatever the left-wing cause du jour is. So far as I'm concerned, the only people in a position to accuse anyone of "not caring about the plight of ______" are the people who live spartan, barren lives so their every penny can be spend to help those in need. And there aren't any of those people in the United States (because really, the very act of living in the United States is a luxury -- you could live in Uganda much more cheaply, and be a lot closer to those in need).

I wonder if dear Jennifer is aware of the negative correlation between developmental aid and development?

If you really want to give the Jennifers of the world the heart attack they so richly deserve, try explaining to them that the best way to help people is often to overthrow their totalitarian oppressors, just like we did in Iraq
1. for the most part DON'T collapse. It takes violence to free people - they make sure of that.
2. you can not make peace with a totalitarian state - as Orwell pointed out, totalitarian states NEED enemies to keep their people paranoid and focused outward instead of being focused on their own lives. The middle east is a lost cause until there are no more totalitarian states there, and terrorism will continue forever until then.
3. It's not just rulers that are totalitarians. Entire populations can be indoctrinated into supporting opression and eternal hatred - just as happened with a large portion of the German public during the lead into WWII, the public in many totalitarian states is itself a weapon. Some countries stockpile hatred instead of bombs - it the world's cheapest WMD.

Mary, although i respect your argumentative skill, the point you made is much the same as saying that no one should ever go and see a movie again because 'Maid in Manhattan' sucked...

I've done work for UNICEF, Help the Aged and Mencap in the past, and i've talked to people (no, not including me) whose commitment to working to end world problems goes way beyond self-interest and displays the generous empathy for fellow humans that many will never comprehend, never mind achieve for themselves.

And, c'mon, we should be at least a little grateful for the help that these charities provided, despite their 'political bias', in bailing out the coalition after their partisan campaign this year in which no evident provision was made for the non-military aftermath of the 'liberation'.

I'm not gonna pull this back to the Iraq war, because frankly I'm tired of the rhetoric on both sides. But I'll just say, that in a world consumed by jingoism, selfishness and hatred, it's a little sad that we pin the blame of failing the third world on those who are at least trying.

It's like damning the farmer who only grows enough free food for 11 of your 12 kids really...

Oh, and Dan...

Try not to drop the word 'left' or 'right' into every argument you make, ok? I'm sure you're smarter than that...

A charity is not a left-wing organisation, unless you associate generosity exclusively with a political belief, which is frankly as ridiculous as associating brunettes with a predeliction for Dr Pepper.

Just because you're in similarly politically-orientated company, it doesn't mean you should relax the ol' grey matter there, bud...

I have to agree with Crimson Cow. Folks, this kid hasn't done anything wrong; I think you're projecting onto her what others have done, because she seems to talk the way they do. But don't blame her for what she hasn't done yet.

I forget who said this -- "Anyone under the age of forty who is not liberal, has no heart. Anyone over the age of forty who is not conservative, has no brain." -- but the older I get, the more it makes sense to me.

So I don't begrudge Jennifer her idealism. Yes, she may become one of the unpragmatic "useful idiots" that stand in the way of genuine progress. But I'd say the jury is still out on that one.

One last thought. Remember that social progress, when it happens, needs idealists -- people not unlike Jennifer. She may yet manage to accomplish something positive and idealistic, something most of us can appreciate. But that'll never happen if we collectively beat the ideals out of her.

So ridicule the dream if you must. But don't ridicule the dreamer. She may yet dream something that would appeal to you... and find the fortitude to make it happen.

Daniel

Crimson - You could say the same about ‘Maid in Manhattan’ Yes, it was bad, and yes, it was a waste of money, but at least they tried.

Industry learns from its mistakes. If they don’t, they run out of money. Politically biased NGOs depend on our money for their survival. They’re not giving us anything for free, we’re giving it to them. When these groups deliberately attack the US and the UK because we’re easier targets…

http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde140412003

(“Much of the example of past practice focuses on US or UK armed forces. This should not be taken to imply that the actions of Iraqi forces cause less concern – on the contrary. The greater attention to US and UK forces reflects the fact that both have shown, as far as AI is aware, more willingness to respect IHL commitments and to engage in discussing their legal position.”)

…when they stand around and peacefully watch people in the third world starve, when organizations like Greenpeace wind up being responsible for thousands of deaths in South America and Africa, we have to ask - why are we paying for this?

Either they change their tactics or they run out of money. That seems fair enough.

In the context of the passage, the report you quoted simply said that they were focusing on US and UK forces because they agreed, to their credit, to IHL commitments, and then perpetrated certain offences anyway.

It's not saying that the US and UK were worse than the Iraqis, merely that, as states cooperating with such investigative committees, that they would be more receptive to discussion about their behaviour, whereas Iraq, who hadn't taken a blind bit of notice in the past, wasn't likely to return many of their calls...

?when they stand around and peacefully watch people in the third world starve, when organizations like Greenpeace wind up being responsible for thousands of deaths in South America...

I'm gonna need context here, so I can gauge the tone and background to that statement.

The difference between Industry and Charity as stated here is that Industry (such as the Movie one) attracts investment with a view to eventual profit, generally financial. Charity attracts investment with no promise of repayment or profit, only with the promise of improvement. Of course, if that improvement is not immediately apparent, discontent emerges. In that climate, how is infrastructure to be redeveloped? How are charitable tactics to be reformed?

A human life is short, and it takes longer for a child to starve than for a charity to debit an account. Charities, however much they may be let down by bad apples, still run an actual campaign against poverty, disease and hunger, and yet receive funding almost exclusively from the fruits of idealism. When these clash, charities are viewed as having failed. Its a losing battle, fought often against leaders of the given country as well as the elements, and it takes a lot of courage not to give up hope in the midst of all that...

Iraq didn’t take a blind bit of notice to Amnesty’s tactics in the past because Amnesty’s letter-writing tactics are ineffective against homicidal despotic regimes. The war (which Amnesty did not support) did more to stop political torture and imprisonment in Iraq than the letters and complaints Amnesty generated. Instead of changing their tactics, and realizing that it is necessary to use force, even when it is not sanctioned by the UN, they continue to attack the US and the UK because the light is better there. How is this helping human rights?

When have aid workers stood around and peacefully watched people die? From the quote above "The aid workers try to cover it up, to make the men with guns at least pretend to deny themselves in favor of the children and the women. The men play along for a while, but then the mask falls away. The strong always eat first.."

That’s what they did in Afghanistan - the Taliban took the food and the people starved. This happened for years, but some NGOs loudly protested the war and claimed that millions would die as a result of it. People would have continued to starve, and more would have been killed by the Taliban if the NGOs had their way.

Before calling starving Iraqis a ‘mess’ and saying that they’re against Bush,
one aid worker said "we are not for or against anyone - we are a global family"
Greenpeace claims that they’re humanitarians helping the poor and unfortunate.

This is fiction (see links below) more make-believe than Matrix Reloaded. Charities are biased - they’ve been making that very clear lately. I guess the only solution is to fund the charities that support your own particular bias. If you belive that convincing Peruvians to stop chlorinating their water during a cholera epidemic and allowing thousands to die is a good idea, then give to Greenpeace. If you believe that aid workers should stand around and peacefully watch people die, follow Ted Turner and give to the UN. If you want to give to a charity that helps the poor without taking much money for themselves, then give to the Salvation Army. And if the whole mess gives you a headache, go see a movie.

India Times

The Atlantic

Core/Greenpeace

I wonder if Miss Jen knows bout this page...esp this rant....heh....would looooooooovvvvveee to hear from her. heh

I think Jen is just learning and feels very passionate about helping people. She didn't ask to feel this way however, this is how she felt at that time. I think her point has relevance though, or at least should to people of older age and experience. If you help another in any way that you do the things you do yourself then things get done and if money is something you created you spend it on things you feel you should at the time you feel it. As one learns more one should just take time to think about what they may say because if you feel it then you should be doing it and working with people who feel the same way.