It was only a matter of time before the self-anointed pop stars, legends and entertainment kings and queens came out of the woodwork to show an outpouring of love, sympathy and a willingness to chip in to the tsunami-ravaged lands.
I don't mean to sound cynical (wait, yes I do), but the stars and their benefits are just a bit tiresome, not to mention unnecessary.
My first thought upon hearing that there would be telethons, albums and concerts all in the name of tsunami relief was where were these people last year when 40,000* lay dead in Bam, Iran?
Plenty of Iranian entertainers
came through, but I don't recall the head honcho of NBC planning a telethon
to help out.
Why the difference in humanitarian aid? I don't know. When you think about it, the amount of people and organizations rushing to donate money and goods to the hard hit regions seems overwhelmingly good, altruistic and heart warming on first glance, but perhaps on further reflection you might say to yourself - imagine if Amazon just randomly put up a front page link one day during the year for people to donate to AIDS awareness or starving kids in America? How much money could they raise for other causes? And hey, where is the telethon/album for the people who have lost their homes and businesses in hurricanes and wildfires?
It's so easy to be cynical. Mega stars stumping for a cause just gives my cynicism that bitter twinge. I get a bad taste in my mouth every time a group of celebrities (or psuedo celebrities
) get together to try to get you, their fans, to donate to a cause. I think, instead of spending time getting all these people together, renting a studio, writing a song, recording the song, putting the album in stores, waiting for the constant airplay to kick in and, in essence, begging their public to send money to whatever they are singing about - why don't they all just reach into their pockets and donate a cool million each? Sondra did it. Leonardo did it.
It seems a hell of lot more sensible, logistically and monetarily, to just cut a check and get the money where it's going. But, no. Rather than donate out of their own bank accounts, they'd rather reach out to you - you who buys their albums and t-shirts, you who probably has $24 in your bank account at the moment and no gas in your car - to put the dollars in the coffer because, hey, they are donating their time
, man. They are donating their talents
. And that should be enough. Right?
Any moment now Bruce Springsteen will hold a press conference, with Bono on one side and Sting on the other. They'll announce a huge show at some vast stadium, maybe two stadiums - one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. Bob Geldof will come out of obscurity to smile for the cameras and remind people that he was at the forefront of the pop-star-as-philanthropist movement. Tickets will be $50 and up. There will be t-shirts, water and food for sale at the show, as well as frisbees and beach balls imprinted with the TsunamiAid logo, which will be copyrighted and trademarked and perhaps drawn by a famous artists. The shows will be simulcast on Pay-per-View. The second the concert is over and the now broke fans have gone home, the DVD and CD will be for sale. Millions and millions of dollars will be raised. By the fans of these stars. Yet the stars will get the credit for raising the money.
We don't need overripe pop stars to get us to donate. How much has Amazon raised already? How much in private donations have been given? How many people have already volunteered to go over and help with the recovery efforts? We did this all without the benefit of some guy with a hit record telling us to.
Instead of putting together a big show with overhead costs, instead of dragging has been stars out of the B-movie retirement home to answer phones on a telethon, instead of cajoling, pleading and guilting their fans into coughing up more (in the guise of pop culture paraphernalia) than they already gave - why don't they all just reach into their pockets and say, here, here's a million to the cause. I don't even care if they stage a press conference where they are holding up a huge, fake check and presenting it to that scarred super model who got stuck in the tree. Give the media your best smile. Boast about how much you gave. Feel smug. As long as you're not putting on this act like you raised shitloads of money when all you did beg the people who afford you your million dollar homes to give it up for the TsunamiAid©) fund.
I give it less than 24 hours before either Springsteen or Sting, flanked by the members of a reunited-minus-one Queen, announces a huge concert. And less than 24 hours after that before the website and subsequent store go up.
You may commence with flaming my blatant cynicism
AHA! LiveAid 2, coming soon to a stadium near you!