Catholic commentary on culture, media, and politics.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Dumb, dumber, Chris Martin

Live8 seems to have given suffering Africans the chance to revive sagging rock careers. Resident genius Chris Martin of Coldplay verifies my suspicion about Sir Bob Geldof's extravaganza: It was all about them.

I know we're supposed to get teary-eyed with appreciation toward the altrusim shown by these multi-millionaires toward poor Nigerians with cholera, but it's tempting to conclude that, for instance, Sir Elton John wanted to make fun of their plight with his celeb-studded party featuring men walking around dressed up as gorillas. Sir Paul McCartney injected a note of refreshing candor as to how important the suffering Africans are to him.

And don't get me started on the uselessness of Third World debt "forgiveness."

One thing's for sure. Live8 was the beginning of television's demise as the world's medium of choice. The Internet is killing not the radio star, but the TV star.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW ! what a line-up they had for this concert. All that was missing was Jack Jones standing in the background singing " THe Liiiivve Eiiight..something for everyone.." and then Larry King lining up to interview them...

11:55 AM

Anonymous Patrick said...

Sad that I know who Jack Jones is.

12:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post and the two comments that precede mine seem awfully self-satisfied. While it's easy to take potshots at pop stars, it's harder to accept responsibility for what's happening in the poverty-stricken corners of the globe. True, Live8 seemed a bit unnecessary, but let's not sidetrack ourselves from the need to understand the roots and causes of the world's evils, whether those evils be disease, starvation, oppression, or terrorism. Social psychologists refer to "dispositional" and "situational" views of evil. If we focus too much on the former, that is, assert that Africa's problems or a terrorist bombing are the result of "bad dispositions" mucking things up for the rest of us, we run the risk of underestimating, even ignoring, the "bad situations"--often actively or passively encouraged by those of us with such "good situations" as relative wealth, freedom of choice, security--that allow evil to thrive. And I think there is a moral imperative that demands we recognize that disposition in each of us, and band (sorry for the pun) together to provide good situations that do not encourage bad dispositions. Whenever I pray, "lead us not into temptation," I'm simply acknowledging that any of us could find ourselves holding the gun--or withholding the grain--and hoping that He "delivers me from evil." So a little less smugness seems in order, "lest we forget."

11:20 PM

Anonymous Patrick said...


"Self-satisfied" -- that's the term I was looking for re: an adjective for Live8. Thank you. Getting at the root of the evils and difficulties suffered by Africans? How about giving spoiled, potty-mouthed rock stars a few more romps in the spot light? Did you even read what I linked to?

First World millionaire musicians raising millions of other peoples' dollars at very complex Third World problems serves the former far more than the latter. Thats sums up my point. I'll have to post a cost-benefit analysis of "debt reduction" events like Live8, based on economic facts, not rhetorical flourish. Not enough time or space here.

I know, Live8 is supposed to make us feel good about ourselves, our precious celebrities -- and, oh yeah, the Africans, too, God bless 'em -- for a few moments before we go back to Paris Hilton or Anna Nicole are doing. On the face of it, Live8 sounds like a good idea. At least someone is doing something, right?

It's just that the longterm net result makes the whole effort dubious at best. Live Aid in 1985 is a prime example. Most African governments are corrupt to the core; throwing a huge pile of cash at local problems a real solution does not make. Then there's the embarrassing hyperbole of Sir Geldof's claim, among others, about the constant flow of the bodies of African kids washing up on Italian shores. Rubbish.

1:16 AM


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