trendy causes and morality losses

Do any of you have Product (Red) stuff?

I do.

I have a Gap shirt, and I love it. It’s a great shirt, and I feel good every time I wear it. It’s very Oprah, very Bono, very trendy celebrity cause, but that kinda thing doesn’t bother me, so I wear my shirt proudly.

There are a lot of people who get annoyed at celebrities who take up charitable causes simply because they’re trendy and because they’ll look good if they get involved. While I agree with the fact that it’s not cool just to take up any cause just ’cause, I don’t have an issue with the fact that celebrities can add their name to certain causes and therefore generate interest in regular Jo-schmoes contributing to the greater good. It’s okay to be a charity whore – as long as your heart (and your money) is in the right place.

I used to give a damn whether a celebrity knew about the cause that they were supposedly supporting; I’d complain that “they just do it to look good”, too. The simple truth of it is – it doesn’t matter! Since I’ve mentioned Oprah and Bono, and the whole world knows who they are, let’s stick with the AIDS pandemic in Africa as our pet cause; in Africa, do you think it matters how the drugs get there? Does it matter that the latest and greatest Hollywood bimbo doesn’t know sh*t about the pandemic, but she’s generated so much interest in it that 500,000 more Africans are getting the medication they need so desperately? An emergency of that scale needs funds to help solve it, and if someone can generate those funds – even though they know nothing about it – then more power to them, and more drugs to the people.

I completely agree, of course, that people should both know about it, care about it, and do something about it.

The real problem with celebrity causes is that when that celebrity changes causes, their fan base often changes with them, leaving their previous pet cause high and dry. This is the unfortunate result of celebrities taking up causes and their popularity being so tied into the current Hollywood system of who’s hot and who’s not. But, then again, it’s better to be attached to a cause a help it out for a short time than not at all.

My biggest annoyance when it comes to celebrities and charitable causes is when someone says, “I wish they would just shut up and play music!” How many times have I heard that one? Especially when it comes to Bono.

Since I am a U2 fan, people often bring it up around me, and it drives me nuts. Is it not rock’n’roll enough to want to save the world? Is that such a bad thing? If you’ve got the power to move people, move them! Yeah, sure, rock’n’roll is supposed to be largely anti-authority, and seeing Bono kissing up to dirty politicians is certainly annoying, especially because he seems to have made some kind of revolting relationship with this generation’s world village idiot, but isn’t the ultimate in anti-authority being able to manipulate authority? I figure it’s a pretty amazing thing to be able to command such a presence in an arena that is so corrupt in order to make a difference in a situation where it’s desperately needed. Seriously: if being rock’n’roll involves not giving a damn about millions of people dying each year, I certainly don’t wanna be rock’n’roll.

If the day ever comes when Bono runs for office, I will be completely annoyed and probably write him a very long letter about how he should forget that nonsense, and that his connection with the world as he is now is much stronger than if he became a politician; but, until that day, I’m 100% behind the guy, and anyone else who chooses to make their celebrity a good thing by making a difference.

So there: you know how I feel. I will not make any apologies for that, either (and now I feel like I should stick my tongue out and everyone out there in the internet abyss, but I won’t).

Here’s an interesting fact to leave you with: the term rock’n’roll is actually an African American slang term for sexual intercourse. How’s that for rock’n’rolls relationship to Africa?

Food for thought.

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