Celebrity do-gooders - heroes or hypocrites?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

1 Comment

Written by Reilly Scott

U2 band member Bono recently attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York. His goal was to encourage world leaders to join his ONE campaign in order to help the fight against disease, poverty and world hunger.

In an interview with CNN's John Robers Bono was asked whether he thought there was too much focus on the American economy rather than the financial and political situations of developing nations. His response was one of pride for the success of his campaign:

" 3,000 African kids die every day of mosquito bites. Sounds mad, but it's true. And people have committed and it looks like the funds are on the table so that that disease will be no more by 2015. That makes people like me punch the air and everyone who wears a ONE T-shirt and all our white band campaigners on college campuses all over the country -- it was a great day for them yesterday so we're celebrating that... We had both [presidential] candidates make very powerful statements about the necessity for nonmilitary tools, for instance, in foreign policy. This is an America that both candidates want to show to the rest of the world -- the greatness of America" (cnn.com).

The ONE campaign's website describes it as being "an advocacy and campaigning organization supported by more than 2 million people and growing, from all walks of life all around the world, uniting as one against extreme poverty" (one.org). The organization's promise is that the voices of ONE's supporters "will be echoed by millions of others through ONE’s coordinated campaigns, will be heard by world leaders and will encourage them to adopt policies to save millions of lives" (one.org).

Outwardly, ONE's so-called ambitions seem courageous, considerate and extremely beneficial; regardless, one can't help but wonder: is there an underlying focus on the promotion of American pride and superiority?

'Heroic' acts by celebrities to aid those in need (in Western and developing nations) seems to have become somewhat of a fad. Everyone from Angelina Joli and Brad Pitt to Drew Barrymore and Madonna are adopting children from third world countries, assisting with contruction projects, or simply visiting countries to gain exposure and spread the word about poverty. The question is: are these acts of selfless assistance, or are they the unrealistic ideas of wealthy, hypocritical entertainers created in order to promote their 'art' as well as American cultural dominance?

"what's important is that people want to change the world" says Bono. "[Americans] want to see their country, they see it as a patriotic act to show the world innovation of America, technology of America, pharmacology of America" (cnn.com). Really Bono? Is that what's most important? I thought it was to reduce povery. Oh well... at least you look good on the ONE campaign poster.

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  1. Posted by: Kris on Oct 5, 2008 @ 7:22pm

    With great power (though I would like to swap the word power with fame) comes great responsibility. I think its good that some *and I stress SOME* celebrities are trying to bring attention to much needed issues, a lot of it is in vain. Some of these people make millions of dollars, just for batting an eyelash, all because they act or sing? Give me a break. They do not deserve more money simply because they entertain the rest of the world.
    If they truly wanted to make an impact on the world, they'd donate a massive part of their income back into society instead of botoxing themselves to kingdom come and back.
    I'm sorry, did anyone take George Clooney seriously when he was talking about Darfur? I sure as hell didn't.
    Sometimes you wonder if these celebrities really get the whole story and not just a convenient side of it to push.
    And as thoughtful as some of these acts of giving are from some celebs like Angie and Bono (see above) maybe it's time to care for the problems on the home-front FIRST. Feed our poverty stricken kids first, you jackasses.

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