The Altruism Of Celebrities – Is That A Fallacy?

Posted: January 28, 2010 in Entertainment, World News
Tags: , , ,

You may or may not have heard, in the wake of the Haiti earthquake whick has left thousands dead and millions more homeless, that Simon Cowell has decided to get a few of his musical friends together to do a cover version of a song to be released in order to raise funds for charities. All well and good, you may think, people using their power to raise necessary funds for worthy causes. And it is all well and good. But there’s always things that rankle me about celebrities doing things like this for charities.

With most high-profile charity events, the biggest acts appearing will be doing it just as much for their own publicity as for the benefit of the charity. You will often see some famous people working with whichever charity will get them the most time in the limelight. There are many celebs who do many, many wonderful things for charities, including going to undeveloped and badly damaged areas to get their hands dirty and help out. I’d love to see Mariah Carey or Mika go out to Haiti and actually do something a bit more worthwhile. All these celebrities recording this single, I presume they will be donating their own money and clothes and food to be flown out to Haiti, will they? That’s the first part of my rant on this issue.

Next up…the choice of song. Everybody Hurts. Seems like a nice idea, the title fits with what the world is feeling towards the Haitian people. But did whoever picked the song research exactly what the song is about? Written by REM for their Automatic For The People album in 1992, it deals with the issue of lonely teenagers contemplating suicide. Basically the message of the song is “chin up, you’re not the only one feeling down, everyone else gets depressed at times too”. Is that really the kind of message to be sending to Haiti? “Chin up, Haiti, other places have earthquakes too”. It just strikes me as being completely wrong, wrong, wrong. But it’s a nice soothing lilting song that will gain lots of airtime and will sell by the absolute bucketload. And again, I’m not against them making money for charities, because they have a lot of influence and can harness their power to raise funds. I only hope that the people who have got involved in this project won’t think their work done with half an hour in a studio singing a couple of lines of a song. Let’s see them getting in and donating their own money. Let’s see them donating food, clothing, building supplies, that sort of thing. The sort of thing the Haitians need right at this very moment.

Come on, Cowell, lead the way with this as well. Donate some of that huge fortune. You won’t miss it, but it might make you a more popular man. After all, altruism is a great form of publicity, isn’t it?

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