Sunday, January 9, 2005

That's The Ticket
Ben Rayner helps us understand why we're sorta uncomfortable with the rush on tsunami relief - because it's turned into a trendy dick-measuring contest. Well, all right, that's not entirely his point. And he's far more concerned about, like, the future of our species. But still. To wit:

Giving is all the rage. Charitable donations to relief agencies have reached unprecedented sums to match the unimaginable scale of the catastrophe. Pledges of aid from foreign governments keep creeping up and up. New benefit concerts, charity drives and fundraising events are being announced on the hour.

The massive outpouring of support is noble, understandable and, above all, absolutely necessary to hasten the afflicted region's recovery. But the scorekeeping mentality and almost hectoring tone ("What can you do?") of the coverage of this "tidal wave of generosity" — as numerous, decidedly insensitive media outlets have been putting it — will, in all likelihood, ultimately sour the public on its own benevolent spirit...

This isn't to deride the recent, rather heartening display of global solidarity brought on by the Asian tsunami's terrible brunt. This is just a gentle reminder that we are allowed to care for all the other human beings with whom we share this tiny rock even when disasters, newscasters and washed-up rock stars aren't dictating that we should. It's the only way, in fact, that our species is likely to survive.

In other news, our column this week will ask why Celine Dion took so long to announce her plans for tsunami relief and why she remains in Vegas, refusing to return to Canada to deal with the urgent matter.

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