Shopping for Justice: “I think I know I mean, er, yes but it’s all wrong” edition

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So I saw this commercial on the TV for the new Farm Aid-esque Pop Stars Singing John Lennon Songs For Darfur. Sponsored, somehow, by American Express.

And my first, typical, cynical instinct was to be disgusted by this latest example of the American trend of commercializing humanitarianism — convincing people that if they’re concerned about a social/political issue, the thing to do is go out and BUY this bracelet/t-shirt/cd! (A portion of the proceeds, we’re always assured, will go toward ending breast cancer/saving the children/stopping evil in its tracks!!) I have thought about this a lot, and I am conflicted about it, because I’m as into a good benefit concert as the next guy, provided I like the bands. But I recognize the perversity in it, and in general, when I choose to take action with my wallet, I send my dollars straight to the organization I’m into helping. But if a person wouldn’t be otherwise inclined to do something about an issue, the only harm I see in the whole thing is the fact that some corporation, inevitably, is profiting from the whole transaction. But what else is new?

So I googled this “Instant Karma” project, and found Amnesty’s press release, which statesthat “proceeds” would support the Save Darfur campaign, and gave a track listing. Although it might be nice to hear that ALL proceeds were going to Save Darfur, and might be even nicer to hear that all of these artists were personally donating a couple of their millions to the campaign, and not just their sweet voices, the track listing made me kind of want to hear this record. I mean, Xtina Aguilera singing “Mother?” I heartily approve of that.

So I guess I am a hypocrite, is what I’m saying.

2 Responses to “Shopping for Justice: “I think I know I mean, er, yes but it’s all wrong” edition”

  1. cold4thestreets Says:

    Charity for charity’s sake is so 20th century; charity for hipness’ sake is now. And why not? The noblesse obliges issues aside, isn’t it societal progress that this season the number one arm accessory is an African baby, and not a Birkin bag?

  2. jeanmeanie Says:

    You remind me of a Saturday Night Live sketch about adopting crack babies being the new hot trend among celebrities. Must have been in the early 90’s. Does anyone else remember that one, or am I imagining it?

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