Clever title for this post, uh?
Come on, let’s get it over with…
I was watching TV last week when I saw a commercial that I first mistook for the latest GAP ad.
Well, it looked like a GAP ad.
Eventually the penny dropped and I realised it was something to do with global poverty relief…
Every three seconds a child dies
I’m going to say something negative about this aren’t I? I’m one of those people who is nauseated by millionaire celebrities, and Emma Thompson, baring their tortured virtue on the global television, urging us to be as saintly as they are, aren’t I?
Yes, yes I am.
As an exercise in self-indulgent, fatuous cynicism this ad really takes the biscuit. Apparently, the ad was put together in the belief that people who aren’t moved by the thought of needless death WILL be moved by actors, fashion models and pop singers posturing and pouting as if they’re advertising designer T shirts.
I was so ‘moved’ by the ad that I visited the Make Poverty History web site to see what I could do to alleviate global poverty. Their call to action consisted of…
- Read their blog
- Send an email to Tony Blair
F*ck me, the forces of global exploitation must be quaking in their boots.
As an exercise in commoditising compassion, packaging it and serving it up for dumb, passive consumption this is cutting edge stuff.
It’s either that or a massive parody.
Mmmmm, make people aware of the impact of the unequal distribution of wealth and globalisation by showing an ad featuring people who are disproportionately wealthy, made in the style of a globalised corporate ad campaign...
Rib-tickling stuff indeed.
Let’s not f*ck about here. Celebrities and corporations get involved in these things as much for publicity as for any other reason.
A friend of mine sent me an extract from an intra-office email he received at work last week…
"......employees will receive the MAKE POVERTY HISTORY official booklet and wrist band. They will also be eligible to enter a contest in order to win prizes related to ending global poverty."
He works for a company that sells cable TV porn.
That quote is now up there with my previous favourite example of heartfelt corporate emailed compassion that a friend sent me after the Tsunami (Tsunami? What Tsunami?) six months ago…
Happy New Year! We start off each new year by inviting all of you to give us direct feedback on your market research needs ... This year we will be making a contribution to the American Red Cross for the victims of the tsunami for each completed survey...
There is the argument that motivations are irrelevant when it comes to campaigns such as this one. Only the ends are important.
Campaigns like ‘Make Poverty History’ subvert and misdirect the debate. They act as a salve to our collective conscience. Their message is that the solutions to the World’s ills are simple and non-threatening. They help people kid themselves that the World can be saved without a fundamental change to their own lifestyles.
And, as I said a couple of days ago, the big companies just fucking love them.
And then, yesterday, we had the concerts.
Oh dear. Oh dear Oh dear Oh dear.
The BBC estimated that 5.5bn people watched them. That’s 85% of every man, woman and child on this Earth.
Hmmm, no bullshit there then.
I was one of the 15% of the global population who didn’t watch the concerts. The prospect of viewing a succession of celebrities giving each other hand jobs on stage and preaching to the World was just too much to bear.
I did however encounter the occasional highlight on news programmes. From those fragments I managed to learn several things:
Given the deafening silence from South America, I must conclude that there are no longer any poor people or corporate exploitation going on there. Presumably the populace of Rio’s former slums were sitting in front of their plasma screen TVs, tucking into their filet mignon and rocking away with the rest of the developed world.
Bob Geldof scored a notable double, and followed on from his gushing endorsement of Tony Blair’s divinity on MTV last week, by shaking Bill Gates’ hand in front of 5.5bn people and saying what a good bloke he was. Nice one Bob.
The Moscow concert didn’t exactly go down a storm. Not surprising in a country where a quarter of its population is living at, or below, subsistence levels. Not much coverage of that concert dying on its knees from the BBC.
Paul McCartney has spent enough money on laughable plastic surgery to supply a medium-sized African state with antivirals for quite a long time.
I reached musical maturity in the late 1970’s/ early 1980’s. So forgive me for being appalled at the bland, asinine, and insincere state of music today. Lyrics like…
You choose your leaders and place your trust
As their lies wash you down and their promises rust
You'll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns
And the public wants what the public gets
But I don't get what this society wants
… have even more edge and relevance than they did back then. And nobody’s coming up with any new ones.
The bands I idolised as a teenager would have spat on millionaires and politicians, not licked their arses on global television. And for God’s sake, Paul McCartney was an irrelevant, old, rich bastard back in 1980. What does that make him 25 years later?
OK, I’m being a cynical, negative old scrotum but surely some of the people in the crowd yesterday must have felt uncomfortable at the sight of a smug, self-satisfied Bill Gates and thought…
‘Hang on a minute. That’s the richest man in the World up there telling me what I should do to relieve World poverty. What kind of a stupid c*nt does he think I am?’
Quite a large one actually.
And the irony of all of this, of the whole global poverty issue, is this…
We don’t need our ‘wealth’; quite the opposite.
We’re choking on our own effluent. Our food is giving us brain tumours and heart disease. We have material comfort but we’re lonely. We’re brainwashed into wanting more yet never being satisfied. The developed world, particularly the US and the UK, is fat, flatulent, spiritually dead and depressed.
Give it to the Africans. Please. It's killing us
But can our self-appointed, saintly spokespeople bring themselves to say this?
How can they? They’re suffering from the same sickness as the rest of us. Only worse.
Every three seconds Bill Gates, U2 and Paul McCartney earn a shit load of money
And they’re mad for it
On top of that, aside from the fact that we’re all insanely suicidal consumption junkies, there’s also the small wee issue that, collectively, we don’t really give that much of a shit. Not really. We still live in a World where the fate of one White Boy is much more important than a couple of thousand brown people.
Too harsh? Just wait a few days for the next big disaster, wherever it may be, and watch the coverage on the same channels that were uncritically pumping out yesterday’s offal. Listen out for that old favourite line...
‘The total death toll has now reached 3,000, including four Britons’
That one always cracks me up
Remember, the UK spends £1m on ‘defence’ every 13 minutes. This country is home to people who’ll spend three quid on a cup of coffee without blinking and treat their dogs to ‘something a little bit special’ that two thirds of the World’s human population could only dream of getting down their necks.
The good ship Global Fuckup is still well and truly on course to its final destination and this week’s nonsense hasn’t changed things one little bit. No, on second thoughts, it might have made things slightly worse.