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Does Africa Need Wealthy White Celebs to help her Survive and Prosper?
May 16, 2008 2:54 PM   Subscribe

There is something creepily colonialist in Madonna’s attitude to Africa. First we had the White Man’s Burden -– now we have the White Madonna’s Burden. More and more celebrities are treating Africa as a wide-eyed child that needs a Hollywood hug -– or as a wicked devil that needs a Hollywood hammering.

There is something Kiplingesque in this celebrity swarming of Africa. Kipling branded colonial subjects on the dark continent as “half–devil and half–child” –- and today that old poisonous prejudice finds expression in the celebrity view of Africa as a child that must be adopted (Malawi) or as a devil that must be punished (Sudan). Africans once resisted the armies of colonialism; now they should consider resisting the armies of celebrities, camera crews, make-up artists and hairstylists who are seeking to turn Africa into a stage for celebrity expressions of cheap moral bombast.
Via: A&L Daily NB: Article written by not everyone's favorite, Brendan O'Neill
posted by dawson (81 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I haven't eaten all week, and that sandwich that you'd like to give me sure would stave off the emaciation. But, well, I just don't think your motives are absolutely 100% free of ego, so buzz off, jerk.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:19 PM on May 16, 2008 [19 favorites]


I can kind of see his point, but much of Africa *IS* still pretty much fucked, right? Madonna is probably the least of their problems.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


This has been going on since the 1980s at least (remember "We are the world"?). Whether it has helped or hurt is an open question. I recommend Paul Theroux's Dark Star Safari, which indirectly tackles the question of African aid.
posted by desjardins at 3:25 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it seems like a little opportunistic to suddenly start attacking Madonna since Western pop stars have been trumpeting Africa's need for aid since before she was touched for the very first time.
posted by goatdog at 3:31 PM on May 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Cohen compares David to Pocahontas, “the beautiful Indian girl found in wild America”, and says that for “bringing this boy into her house and giving him everything”, Madonna has got “something in return”: a child who symbolises a wilder, more earthy, gritty way of life, who comes from a time “before machines”.

I could have sworn I saw some machines the last time I was in Africa.
posted by ...possums at 3:31 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


An African baby has become the latest celebrity accessory;

Yes, there's Madonna and Angelina Jolie and -- wait, that's it.
posted by brain_drain at 3:35 PM on May 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't understand what the guy wants, exactly.
posted by Nattie at 3:39 PM on May 16, 2008


I could have sworn I saw some machines the last time I was in Africa.

Nope. Those were elephants.

And the ones that said 'Land Rover'? Just rhinoceros.
posted by quin at 3:43 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


If a celebrity feels the obligation to help others less fortunate, that's a good thing. It can be argued that any form of charity is, at heart, self-serving. Madonna has always been active in worthy causes to which she can lend her name and money, and Angelina Jolie has done a lot in advocating for children in poorer countries. They offer direct support, and their celebrity brings more attention and funding. I couldn't do that much good if I wanted to, and few who have the same resources even bother, so I tend to not criticize them for their actions--nor would I presume to question the moral integrity of their adoptions, any more than I would any other adopting family.

The thing is: when someone does something for others who are less fortunate, when there are plenty of options not to do so (and really, it's not like Madonna or Angelina or Bono have failing careers without these efforts), they earn the benefit of the doubt.
posted by troybob at 3:45 PM on May 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


News flash: otherwise well meaning celebrities can be mildly irritating and even patronzing in their over-zealous attempts to "save" the world.

The real "cheap moral bombast" is O'Neill's "concern," since, and let's be honest, shall we?, O'Neill is not really wound up about this. This ranks about #3,247,812 of things in the world to be concerned about. If anyone is really wound up about this, their priorities are way out of whack, and they need to get out more often.

(psst, here's something, pulled at random from today's headlines, to get wound up about: Alabama sheriffs feed inmates on $1.75 a day)

About halfway through Mr. O'Neill's hack-work, when he writes "In a shocking instance of what I have termed 'celebrity colonialism,'" he not only links to an earlier article he wrote (about Brad & Angelina in Naimbia), but basically re-caps that article. So for O'Neill "celebrity colonialism" is a pet peeve, and a mtter of great concern. He demands, demands, we be more outraged. I don't know, I'm just not feeling it.
posted by ornate insect at 3:48 PM on May 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is the first time I've read a piece by Brendan O'Neill, hopefully it will be the last time I read a piece by Brendan O'Neill.
posted by nola at 3:55 PM on May 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


“He’s the only person I know who’s more self-absorbed than I am….But give Bono credit. He figured out something that I didn’t. One word: Africa. The place is like a miracle worker shrine, a whole continent filled with absolution. Touch it, and you’re healed.”
posted by Kwantsar at 4:03 PM on May 16, 2008


Paul Theroux:
Poor Africa, the happy hunting ground of the mythomaniac, the rock star buffing up his or her image, the missionary with a faith to sell, the child buyer, the retailer of dirty drugs or toxic cigarettes, the editor in search of a scoop, the empire builder, the aid worker, the tycoon wishing to rid himself of his millions, the school builder with a bucket of patronage, the experimenting economist, the diamond merchant, the oil executive, the explorer, the slave trader, the eco-tourist, the adventure traveler, the bird watcher, the travel writer, the escapee, the colonial and his crapulosities, the banker, the busybody, the Mandela-sniffer, the political fantasist, the buccaneer and your cousin the Peace Corps Volunteer. Oh, and the atoner, of whom Thoreau observed in a skeptical essay: “Now, if anything ail a man so that he does not perform his functions ... if he has committed some heinous sin and partially repents, what does he do? He sets about reforming the world.” Thoreau, who had Africa specifically in mind, added, “Do you hear it, ye Wolofs?”
posted by stbalbach at 4:09 PM on May 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


Alabama sheriffs feed inmates on $1.75 a day

"The menu on a recent day in the Limestone County Jail was two pancakes and syrup, sausage and milk for breakfast; peanut butter sandwiches, chips and Kool-Aid for lunch; and white beans, turnip greens, fried squash, cornbread and sweet tea for dinner."

That's better than my kids eat! (Now excuse my while I order a Domino's 5-5-5 deal.)
posted by stargell at 4:11 PM on May 16, 2008


Kwantsar - No one has done more for Africa than George Bush...
posted by Artw at 4:11 PM on May 16, 2008


Well... We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones to make a brighter day, so let's start giving. There's a choice we're making. We're saving our own lives. It's true we make a brighter day, just you and me.

...What?
posted by ZachsMind at 4:14 PM on May 16, 2008


stbalbach--what I dislike about that Paul Theroux quote is the implication is that all those historical archetypes he references are somehow relativized to be equivalent: they are all implie to be more or less the same. But, c'mon, was/is the historical damage, danger, and suffering wrought by slave traders and diamond merchants really the same, on any level, as the naive but well-meaning editor, Peace Corps volunteer, or "Mandela-sniffer" (whatever that is)? It's the same levelizing O'Neill suffers from in his article: to see no historical distinction between the history of colonialism and a handful of celebrity adoptions is just absurd.
posted by ornate insect at 4:18 PM on May 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Madonna is somewhat divorced from reality as most of us know it, or how the people in Africa know it for that matter, so I'm sure there is some naivete in her actions. It looks like her intentions are good, but it looks a bit clumsy and probably is making something of a show of her generosity, but she sort of makes her whole life a show anyway. I don't see any malice in what she did. Oprah at least was a bit smarter about it, but she still ran into serious problems in her efforts to help Africa. Maybe they are trying to buy some absolution or work through some issues, and there is something that smacks of white man's burden in there, but they could be doing worse.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:21 PM on May 16, 2008


Fast Company mag has a interesting, sorta related article in the June issue, China Invades Africa, by Richard Behar, but dern if I can find it on-line.
posted by dawson at 4:24 PM on May 16, 2008


In 200 years, the best and brightest will be called Madonna Scholars, and we'll send them off to Rutgers.
posted by geoff. at 4:28 PM on May 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


I come for the ire, but I reject the dilemma - it's sort of the wrong framing isn't it? Since when was the matter of Africa's welfare a choice between being saved by celebrities or being neglected by celebrities?
posted by doobiedoo at 4:42 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd like to tell this Brendan don't preach -- Africa's in trouble now. Yes, helping Africa may be the vogue right now. But for Madonna that's just how she wants to express herself. And certainly for at least a few, that help is a ray of light. Let's face it, those people aren't exactly having a holiday over there -- lots of them are borderline starving. Sure, some of them are probably totally like, who's that girl? But I'll bet lots of others thank their lucky stars and cherish the attention she brings.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:06 PM on May 16, 2008 [11 favorites]


I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
Shes coming in 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
posted by bwg at 5:10 PM on May 16, 2008


"Madonna is somewhat divorced from reality as most of us know it..."

Madonna is an inexcusable hypocrite and nothing she says or does should be taken as even remotely seriously. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, but not for her children. God forbid her children got exposed to society's ills. She protects them from the same things she thrust into the homes of a generation of twelve year olds who idolized her. Screw her.

Africa doesn't need Madonna any more than it needed Toto.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:24 PM on May 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yes. We want our celebrities 100% vapid, vain and empty. God forbid they should spend a little of that money on anything but cocaine and private jets. And we'd spend more of our time and money helping those poor folks out but... what the fuck I ain't rich... shit I got my own problems. AMIRITE!?!
posted by tkchrist at 5:25 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


People will criticize the government of Sudan are in the wrong now? This is dumb.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:32 PM on May 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Adopting foreign kids is so last year. Now adays celebs just get knocked up.
posted by puke & cry at 5:32 PM on May 16, 2008


what I dislike about that Paul Theroux quote

what I dislike about that Paul Theroux quote is that it's so overwritten and cranky as to be borderline-unreadable. But then, that's all his work.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:34 PM on May 16, 2008


God forbid they should spend a little of that money on anything but cocaine and private jets.

It's one thing for Madonna to send a check to MSF or UNICEF or any other charity of her choice. Or to even roll up her sleeves and go build some houses alongside Habitat or Builders Without Borders. Or to use that private jet to fly some aid workers to Myanmar/Burma.

It's another for celebrities that are often misinformed or who don't always understand the effects of their work to try to promote solutions that don't work. A lot of the frustration comes not from the fact that Madonna (and others) are trying, but from the fact that they are promoting "solutions" that haven't worked in 30 years or that might actually make things worse.

And it's another still to trumpet one's own charity a little too loudly. It's great to do good work, but it's legitimately off-putting to brag about it.

I'm 100% in favor of working to improve the lot of others and I'm glad for those celebrities who have done so. But that doesn't mean that people who go about it in a counter-productive or self-aggrandizing way get a free pass.
posted by Leon-arto at 5:35 PM on May 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Celebrity colonialism" is the least of Africa's problems. I would say that actual historical economic colonialism is right up there.
posted by jokeefe at 5:37 PM on May 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


But that doesn't mean that people who go about it in a counter-productive or self-aggrandizing way get a free pass.

I'd say first you have to prove that what they are doing IS counter-productive and/or self agrandizing. And I'd say the case is far from made. And not only that but millions of people support the same causes. I'd say the onus is you to prove there is a better way.

As for self-aggrandizing? People like Bono, Madonna and Oprah get page one press when they take a shit. If they want it or not. They honestly cannot win.
posted by tkchrist at 5:43 PM on May 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


People like Bono, Madonna and Oprah get page one press when they take a shit. ... They honestly cannot win.

Will nobody think of the celebrities?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:49 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Madonna and Angeline are self serving hypocrites. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for helping the downtrodden of the world. But both of these so call celebrities could take a few notes out of Warren Buffett's book. Guy doesn't even set up foundation in his own name-gives money to Bill Gates because administration and organization is already set up and in working order. Talk about class, this true gentleman is tops in my book and should be idolized by ever right thinking human being on the face of the planet.
posted by brickman at 5:51 PM on May 16, 2008



Will nobody think of the celebrities?

Apparently it's all some of you think about.
posted by tkchrist at 5:52 PM on May 16, 2008


Warren Buffett is an ugly old mother fucker. He doen't make money from his media image. His image isn't his commodity. Nor is it thrust uppon the public by an immense entertainment machine.

If he Brad's cutting jaw line or Angelina's fabulous lips and gravity defying tits things may have gone different for Warren.

Dumb comparison.

What celebs have... all they have IS their media image. That's it. Sure they accumulate money from that, but buy and large they can get more traction with their image than just a dollar alone.

And the fact is the machine is totally beyond their control. When Angelina touches down in Africa there are a thousand paparazzi ready and waiting. Not becuase she wants them there. But because a huge percent of the public — people like just like YOU — do.

Like it or not nobody gives a shit about what Warren Buffet does except a tiny fraction of business savy elites and Wall Street Journal types.
posted by tkchrist at 6:00 PM on May 16, 2008


ooops.

If he Brad's cutting jaw line or Angelina's fabulous lips and gravity defying tits things may have gone different for Warren.

If he "had"
posted by tkchrist at 6:01 PM on May 16, 2008


Guy doesn't even set up foundation in his own name-gives money to Bill Gates because administration and organization is already set up and in working order. Talk about class, this true gentleman is tops in my book and should be idolized by ever right thinking human being on the face of the planet.

Oh. And. yeah. I forgot. YOU know about it. I know about it. Hmmmm. If anonymous giving is soooo classy... well why is that we know Buffet gave a billion dollars?
posted by tkchrist at 6:05 PM on May 16, 2008


em>Warren Buffett is an ugly old mother fucker.

My comparison to "celebrities" and Warren Buffett are reasonable to "all right thinking persons" , obviously some of the not right thinking people will disagree with me. This is your right and I'll not debate your biased opinion. However, calling Warren Buffett "an ugly old mother fucker" and his contributions to charity a non-media event, I'll have to differ with your asinine opinion. Anybody giving away 25 billion dollars to charity should be respected and given his due. Please don't retort, I'm in no mood to cut you down to size tonight.
posted by brickman at 6:17 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


It may be true that "celebrity colonialism" is way down on the list of things that people should worry about, but only if celebrity colonialism and actual colonialism are taken to be separate things. I think there's a good point in saying that celebrity colonialism and actual colonialism are manifestations of the same conceptual framework - for example, the "exoticization" of Africa is still pretty pervasive, and makes it easy to exploit the continent for image-related purposes. How many people still think of Africa as a culturally homogeneous country? How come groups of Africans are referred to as tribes rather than ethnicities? How come Bono can get up in front of the Liberal Party and say, "The Africans have a saying..." as if "the Africans" all share some common cultural thread? It's all part of how the image of Africa doesn't jive with the reality. (Read Edward Said's analysis of Mohammedanism if you want and example of image not jiving with reality.)

Similarly, the term "Mother nature" might not be very high on the list of things to worry about, unless you see a shared conceptual framework in the treatment of women and the treatment of nature.

(Hat tip to karen J. Warren.)
posted by Dr. Send at 7:02 PM on May 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


brickman, I was kidding about him being an ugly old mother fucker. I was taking on the net persona of the Mass Media. No need to get angry or personal. You need to put your humor filter on.

You missed my point.

Do I personally think it's great that Buffet gave 25 Billion dollars to charity? HELL YES.

Buffet IS "ugly and old" in terms of the what the mass media establishment wants. They want sexy. That is what drives mass press. That is why there are thousands of paparazzi where ever Madonna and Brad Pitt go.

So it's dumb to compare pop media celebreties with industry billionaires. Most people hardly know who Buffet even is, you get me? But most people certainly know who Madonna is.

And then there is scale. Madonna is rich. Bono is rich. Oprah is really rich (she has given a coup0le billion dollars). But Buffet is ULTRA-MEGA-rich. He SHOULD be giving it away.

Most of what Celebs do is bring attention to causes with their media image. This is what many charities WANT. They ask the celebs to do photo ops and media events. Because for every dollar Pitt gives his celebrity magnetizes the cause and draws in $1000 more.

People getting upset over this idea of self-aggrandizement is very, very misplaced. Everyone of those celebs I mentioned have saved peoples lives. So what if they get some sort of selfish benefit. Buffet enjoyed some serious positive PR from his very generous contribution. And that wasn't an accident either. And I say good for him.
posted by tkchrist at 8:03 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


PS. Oh my god. I Retorted.


No YOUR retorted!
posted by tkchrist at 8:05 PM on May 16, 2008


You don't think that portraying Africa as cute and backwards and needing of handouts is harmful?

Are all these wonderful charities that celebrities give to held accountable for the results of the work they do?

Brad and Angelina are able to temporarily alter an entire country's press freedom to prevent them from being bothered by paparazzi and O'Neill's an asshole for pointing out how deeply fucked up this is? Or because he suggested that the oversimplification of the Darfur conflict might also be harmful?
posted by pinothefrog at 8:09 PM on May 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


and his contributions to charity a non-media event

BTW. Reading comprehension. I never said it was a "non" media event. It was, in terms of pop press, mush less covered and mush less sexy than Bradgelina in Africa. Which is an observable fact.

I retort again!
posted by tkchrist at 8:09 PM on May 16, 2008


All this talk about 'helping Africa' as if it's a single place seems silly, and it may well be a good thing to get worked up about bad motivations on the part of celebrities, given how simply donating money to nations run by corrupt governments tends to just help keep those governments in power. Perhaps a better approach would be to help Africans help themselves.
posted by noahpoah at 8:16 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


You don't think that portraying Africa as cute and backwards and needing of handouts is harmful?

First off PROVE these celebs are doing this and then prove it actually does something bad. Just because you, or O'neil say it don't make it true. I see zero hard objective data that any of this shit adds up to anything but "I Hate Celebrity X" filter. Frankly it's low hanging fruit and it's boring.

These celebrities are no better educated than the average person. I don't get why everybody expects them to be so on top of it. They are not gods. They are people.

So then go educate them. You all seem to the know the magical path to save the Africans that will both save their precious dignity and protect them from media exploitation. My god. I f had the answers you all seem to have I would be working night and day to implement them. I'd likey spend less time bitching about movie stars.


Or because he suggested that the oversimplification of the Darfur conflict might also be harmful?


Yeah. "Might." Again. PROVE it.
posted by tkchrist at 8:18 PM on May 16, 2008


damn, tk, did you read the entire article? I mean, it's a piece of journalism, not a report, but I think that the last point you address is clear. Celebs, for better or worse (and I think worse, as I do the 'commercialization' of the Tibet situation) grossly simplify Darfur.
I don't see this as Hollywood bashing (O'Neill is known as a "loony lefty hack" among other things, he's no moralistic neo-con) so much as calling bullshit bullshit. Did the British Empire not help the continent to a large degree? Did that make it right? If a celeb needs a ego-boost there days, it's pretty obvious Africa is where they head. If they were Albert Schweitzeresque and dedicated life and talent I'd applaud them, but to just drop in for a photo-op, getaway and career upper is morally repugnant to me.
posted by dawson at 8:31 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Will nobody think of the celebrities?

Stynxno will!
posted by youarenothere at 8:33 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Buffet IS "ugly and old" in terms of the what the mass media establishment wants.

What the mass media wants or what sells? Please distinguish the difference. Madonna and Angeline are self serving (Madonna more than Angeline) because they have to be the focus of the world that thinks their deserving of our attention. Public may want to know all about their activities and "big, big project", but to perfectly honest, little they do has any effect on the plight of the people of Africa, other than a few orphans.

Warren Buffett may not be the media darling your icons are, but he is a man of character and a human being to be respected, and will in the long run, garner more support than the hero worshipping "celebrities" of our pop culture.
posted by brickman at 8:37 PM on May 16, 2008


Madonna is an inexcusable hypocrite and nothing she says or does should be taken as even remotely seriously.

Wow, you really hate Madonna.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:18 PM on May 16, 2008


brendan o neill's says Bring on the Chinese

Oxfam called on British consumers to donate some of their Christmas shopping money to its new campaign to send “funusual” gifts to poor parts of Africa. Alongside the gift of crap, you could also lavish poor Africans with the gift of condoms (”Rubberly jubberly!” said the Oxfam website), five bags of seeds (”We’re sacks maniacs!”) or a goat (”a mobile source of income”).

“Buy someone a gift related to Oxfam’s work and make a real difference to the world,” the charity yelped.

Contrast this “funusual” approach to Third World development with the work of Chinese businessmen and officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last week, BBC TV’s Newsnight revealed that the Chinese have a signed a trade deal with the DRC worth a whopping $9-billion. As part of this package, the Chinese will help to build 2 400 miles of road, 2 000 miles of railway, 32 hospitals, 145 health centres and two universities in the DRC.

Now, if you were (or are) a poor African struggling to make ends meet, who would you prefer to see treading a path to your village? A worthy, well-spoken NGO volunteer from Islington in London laden with the gifts of shit, contraception, goats and seed? Or a Chinese guy in a suit wielding plans to build roads and factories and schools and in the process create thousands of new jobs?

I thought so. Bring on the Chinese.

posted by infini at 10:09 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


...little they do has any effect on the plight of the people of Africa, other than a few orphans.

Yeah, I guess if you can't save them all, you might as well not try.
posted by troybob at 10:14 PM on May 16, 2008


but to just drop in for a photo-op, getaway and career upper is morally repugnant to me.

Then something you might want to consider doing is contacting the charitable organizations that many of these celebs work for and ask them to not hire celebs to highlight their causes. Make sure to give them some advice on how better to bring world wide attention to their charities. Maybe you should consider working for UNICEF as their Goodwill Ambassador! Oh, wait, no one knows who you are, and didn't they already hire Angelina Jolie? Her very public visits are at request, her actual job. So she ended up falling in love with some individual children during her working visits, and now she's an evil self aggrandizing monster who is harming entire nations? This is so ridiculous.

Maybe if she wasn't a really bad actress and former druggie who once kissed her brother in a creepy way she'd get the same kind of respect that Audrey Hepburn got when she held the same position, doing the same drop-in photo-ops, for decades.
posted by zarah at 10:19 PM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


zarah , with due respect, there are a plethora of organizations that provide relief and help for Africa. Personally, I would never give money to the UN or any celeb organization. I'd really rather prefer to give to the Chinese government. I can't be the only one who is turned off by celeb 'causes'. See how they've abandoned aids victims like a hot potato? Cause those red ribbons ain't cool. remember Sally Struthers and Christian Children's Fund? How that just turned most people off? Besides, while not keeping score and so not bitter, I'm convinced I've done more actual good than most celebs anyway, having spend a large part of my life overseas working with missions and charities, but that's really not fair. I'd do what I do if I were as rich as Bill Gates. And I don't really want to be known widely for it. And I'm a terrible actor, previous drunkard and hippie junkie who has kissed god knows what of all 3 sexes. Has nada to do with Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and the Catholic Church. But hey, if stars make you give to worthy causes, cool. And no one I'm aware of has called Ms Jolie evil.
posted by dawson at 10:38 PM on May 16, 2008


MetaFilter: doesn't need Madonna any more than it needs Toto.
posted by bwg at 12:11 AM on May 17, 2008


News flash: otherwise well meaning celebrities people can be mildly irritating and even patronzing in their over-zealous attempts to "save" the world.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:27 AM on May 17, 2008


dawson
Chinese government? I'm guessing you mean in light of its current heavy involvement in Africa. Still, a puzzling statement. If the issue here is the motives of the parties involved, China isn't doing what it's doing out of love. Exxon most certainly might ink deals similar to the ones mentioned in the article linked by infini if it would get them what they want. Is that a bad thing if it means hospitals being built? I don't know, but China's investments make me far more uneasy than anything some silly media personality is doing.

I can't be the only one who is turned off by celeb 'causes'.
I won't say you're the only one, but you really are discounting the value of celebrity PR in these efforts. For instance, this afternoon NPR had an interview with the director of an aid organization who is currently trying to get food and supplies to people in Myanmar. The director noted that in the first 10 days after the cyclone hit, the organization had collected $500,000 in Internet donations. In contrast, in the first 10 days of the 2004 tsunami disaster, they had collected over $7 million in Internet donations.

They then interviewed an economist (and I'm sorry, I'm going from memory and don't recall the names) who has done a study on charity donation levels and found that the amount of donations received is directly correlated to the amount of airtime a disaster story gets. An example he gave was that if you track donations given during the Rwanda genocide in the 90s, they were very high for the first few months, but then dropped steadily as the OJ chase and trial seized the news cycles. Each minute of airtime generates extra donations per day. In addition, the type of story affects donation amounts. One unfortunate side-effect of the Myanmar government's closed-door policy is that almost no information is coming out into the world, and consequently few news stories are being generated, especially human-interest stories that generate the most donations. The director of the organization said they have currently received more donations for the Chinese quake disaster than the Myanmar one, even though Myanmar is far poorer and needs it much more than China does. Yet, the quake has taken the headlines, so it is in people's minds.

The point of all this is that you may, or probably, have done than any celebrity personally has done for Africa and their various causes. But the media attention their involvement brings is enormously beneficial in terms of getting people involved and getting money for projects.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:40 AM on May 17, 2008


One of the things you learn when you make a living in fundraising and advocacy is not to get too self-righteous about or to question people's motives, unless it is to find out what that motive is so you can exploit/harness it to get funding or exposure for your cause or organization.

Maybe one-fifth of any given group of people is inclined to give-- time, money, knowledge, whatever. 1/5. That's all. The other 80% of people have no charitable inclination whatsoever. It is a fact of life in fundraising. Of those 20% a very very small percentage will step up without any obvious personal gain, and of those a vanishingly small number will do it without being asked.

So maybe these celebrities are motivitating some percentage of the 20% whose motivation is "I give to the same cause as my favorite celeb." Who gives a shit why people help, as long as they help?
posted by nax at 1:49 AM on May 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Warren Buffett is an ugly old mother fucker. He doen't make money from his media image. His image isn't his commodity. Nor is it thrust uppon the public by an immense entertainment machine.

You don't think so? Warren Buffett was able to start a municipal bond insurance company in the middle of the of the sub-prime crisis, and got something like a half billion dollars in revenue right away (from what I understand). He was able to do that partly because of his name and the name of his company (Berkshire Hathaway). Buffett's celebrity in the finance world has got to be a huge asset for him, although that reputation was hard-earned, obviously.

Anyway, I think all this celebrity stuff is a little distasteful, but there's a whole world of people out there who really do care about whatever crap these people do. Hopefully they'll have smart people working on their solutions and not parasites like Holden Karnofsky.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 AM on May 17, 2008


Ah, well, they'll always be some journalist criticizing someone for something somewhere. There's something to be said about glass houses and doing something and - aw fuck, who cares.
posted by iamck at 8:15 AM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


People who complain about celebrities' charity work (or adoptions) care more about taking said celebrities down a notch than about helping anybody. They just can't stand that Madonna and Angelina get credit for their good works.
posted by callmejay at 10:22 AM on May 17, 2008


the Chinese will help to build 2 400 miles of road, 2 000 miles of railway, 32 hospitals, 145 health centres and two universities in the DRC.


This is really only helpful to the people of the Congo if the roads are maintained, hospitals are staffed and stocked, and universities are staffed, attended. Infrastructure alone is generally a great big money pit.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:29 AM on May 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


This thread lost me somewhere back there with all the retorts. I think I got whiplash.

ZachsMind: "Madonna is an inexcusable hypocrite and nothing she says or does should be taken as even remotely seriously."

EthnoMethodologist: "Wow, you really hate Madonna."

Hate is such a harsh word.

I prefer to think of it this way. My life is more rewarding and enjoyable when her faux name doesn't reach my senses.

I enjoy life more when I am allowed to forget about her existence. Whenever a *laugh* news report mentions her, or she appears on tv or in the paper or a magazine I happen to be reading, I notice myself actually wincing. It's involuntary. Sometimes her existence even makes my eyes roll.

In her youth she responded to the conservative restrictions of human society and flipped it all the bird repeatedly. She told them all they could suck her left one and she made a fortune marketing that to anyone who'd shell out some money. Anyone from 12 to 92 was free game far as she was concerned. Let the pinkos worry about censoring her later - she'd just get it out there and make her millions.

I could have applauded that. In fact a few times I think I did. ..maybe a couple.

Then she had children, and all the sudden the restrictions and limitations that conservative fundamentalists tried to place upon people like her made sense to her. They were trying to protect their children from people like her. Now she had children. She wanted to protect them from people who were doing the same kinda shit she'd been doing for twenty years.

She found it completely acceptable behavior to thrust decadence and depravity into the eyes of anyone who would pay for it, but she doesn't want that for her own children.

She's gone on record as to say she coddles them and keeps them from exposure to any media. They're her children. That's her right. However, through much of the latter half of the twentieth century, she was the living embodiment of those same things from which other parents wanted to protect their children. In her youth she wanted freedoms for herself but damned if her children gets to experience them - she cashed in their freedoms in return for an illusion of security.

That action of protecting her own from sin she once heralded should negate anything that comes out of her mouth. It's like being a dirty cop. They pretend to uphold justice and protect the innocent but then when no one's looking they break the law or help others break the law for a percentage of the profits.

Madonna's change of heart isn't part of the solution - she IS representative of the problem.

I say no one should be able to have it both ways. Either those children don't need coddling and protecting from life, or the conservatives are right and none of us should want to do anything, even in private, that a two year old MIGHT accidentally see, for fear it could scar their minds.

Madonna says you can have it both ways, but only if you're Madonna. Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy here?

Do I hate Madonna? Hate is such a harsh word.

Madonna is a typical example of what fuels conservative xenophobes who tell us to think of the children. She's not THE reason, but she's a drop in the ocean. A very loud and annoying drop. I wish people would shut up about her. My average day is much more enjoyable when I can spend it without dwelling on how she's helped encourage the conservative swing of American morality and stupidity.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:17 AM on May 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


well put, ZachsMind. Bravo and cheers.
posted by dawson at 12:08 PM on May 17, 2008


ZachsMind -your words are more eloquent and intelligent than I could ever compose. Thank you for writing my opinions for me. I owe you buddy.
posted by brickman at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2008


Tkchrist seems to think dignity is overrated. OK, how about I feed a few homeless people in return for them performing degrading acts for me? Who cares, if they're being fed?

Interesting how no one is asking what organizations these celebs are giving to, what these organizations have done or are going to do, what their rate of success is, etc. It's just assumed that if it's a charity, it's doing good, worthwhile work. In the past, in Somalia aid has been implicated in sustaining the civil war, in Kenya "charity" work has lead to starvation of certain nomadic people. In my Peace Corps experience I've had the pleasure of witnessing useless and wasteful projects from the likes of World Vision (the people your bracelet money goes to!) and Sida 3, and heard of projects almost sabotaged by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation because they didn't cost enough money.

Maybe I don't have a smoking gun that shows that simplistic thinking actively harms, but do you think that if we thought less simplistically about charity work, we'd hold these people more accountable?
posted by pinothefrog at 3:16 PM on May 17, 2008


What the mass media wants or what sells? Please distinguish the difference. Madonna and Angeline are self serving (Madonna more than Angeline) because they have to be the focus of the world that thinks their deserving of our attention. Public may want to know all about their activities and "big, big project", but to perfectly honest, little they do has any effect on the plight of the people of Africa, other than a few orphans.


Before I go on let me clear up one misconception you seem to have right off the bat. These people are not MY icons. If you spent five second going over my posting history you can see fairly consistent history of being highly critical of the elevation of celebrities to demi-gods ( I have a theory about this deification I once talked about here). In fact there are few Mefites a LESS plugged in to pop culture than. I'm not bragging. It's rather pathetic, really. I like a lot of pop culture. I just don't have time for it. Half the time I have to look up pop culture references on Wikipedia. I didn't even have cable TV until about two years ago. I am the proverbial get off my lawn guy.

And I guess I should not have channeled my Samuel L. Jackson vernacular right out of the gate. But it's better than channeling Hillary Clinton and speaking to you guys like your five years old.

Now that we got that out of the way— what you seem to be hung up on, still, is this comparison between the level and sophistication of a the philanthropic abilities of a guy like Buffet and the the dabbling in charity of celebrities like Madonna. LIKE:

Warren Buffett may not be the media darling your icons are, but he is a man of character and a human being to be respected, and will in the long run, garner more support than the hero worshipping "celebrities" of our pop culture.

Okay. Of course 25 BILLION FRIGG'N DOLLARS (and more) is gonna have more long term impact. Brickman THAT was my entire point.

Madonna, Bradjolina, and Bono in order to have any kind of lasting effect on the charities they endorse so they HAVE to use their media presence. Because they don't HAVE mega-wealth and that is what charities want from them.

The "media" don't care about Buffet because the average American can't possibly understand what he does or how he does it. But the Average American DOES understand how hot Angelina is. Accuse her, or Madonna, of self aggrandizement is utterly misplaced. It is their very celebrity that effect the causes they embrace in the first place. You can't blame them for that. You may question their motives. But then you have to question Buffet's, too. But you know what? That's all idiotic. They are TRYING to help. And they don't have to. Most people don't help anybody at all. Even superficially.

One is not "superior" to the other in terms of each having a desire to "do" good. I will at least assume that much. Because neither Buffet or Jolie HAVE to do shit. We can debate if they SHOULD. And I would argue that Buffet has a much stronger obligation due to his position and financial stature. Not to mention that he accumulated a great deal of his wealth exploiting the same people he is now helping. But that's water under the bridge. Yes. Both celebs and Buffet SHOULD be helping. But they don't HAVE to. With me so far?

As for HOW they're trying to help? It is counter productive? This case has not been made. Sorry. But O'Neil NEVER proved shit. It was all opinion. And one we have heard from him before. And what does he offer as a better alternative? Not much. In fact by his metric ALL famine relief is counter productive. Feeding people just encourages them to breed, after all. It certainly is no long term solution. But as matter of MORAL OBLIGATION we can't stand by and let people starve. In the case of Darfur it's absolutely 100% clear the biggest source of the conflict is the GOVERNMENT there. It's hardly counter productive to point that out.

And then he (and somebody here) say it would be more "effective" to give money to China? What? So give money to a totalitarian state that's only interest in Africa is to exploit the shit out it's resources. Okay. Sure. Give them money. Just know that a significant portion of that money is going to Chinese made land mines, Chinese made AK-47's and Chinese made RPGs and is going to fuel the already outrageous violence there. It's better to send money to the Chinese than UNICEF? Seriously. That is one fucked up and idiotic statement. It's impossible to take anybody that says stupid shit like that seriously. Fuck O'Neil.

I applaud Buffet. yes I respect the man (though it sounds like some people have a bit too much invested in him here.... almost like he is, dare I say, a celebrity?). But it's awesome he is doing what he is doing. BTW some of that money is going ( the Gates foundation works with the UN) to some of the same Charities (OXFAM and UNICEF and other UN charities) that Madonna and Bradjolina support.

AND. I also applaud ANYBODY who donates their money and most of all their precious limited TIME on these charities. And so should ALL of you. Are they the "right" charities? Oh. Fuck that. If you don't think so then go MAKE these people donate to the right ones. Expending all this bullshit hyperbole and hate at them sure as shit won't do that.

Celeb bashing is every bit as tiresome as celeb worship. And that is what that article was. Easy celeb bashing.

She found it completely acceptable behavior to thrust decadence and depravity into the eyes of anyone who would pay for it...

...Madonna is a typical example of what fuels conservative xenophobes who tell us to think of the children. She's not THE reason, but she's a drop in the ocean.

Zachsmind here you are, along with O'Neil, clearly blaming Madonna, this drop in the ocean, for the rise of the right wing? Seriously? You have to be pulling our leg.

So I guess you must really hate homosexuals. After all nobody "thrusts decadence and depravity" into the consciousness of Betty and Bob Sixpack more than the sight of two gay men kissing, right? And video games. God video games are evil. AMIRITE!

You know who is to blame for the rise of the right wing? The fucking right wing. That's who.

Your argument is retarded. Somebody else take that nonsense apart. I got no time for that kind of goofy sloppy thinking.

ZachsMind -your words are more eloquent and intelligent than I could ever compose.

That made me laugh. I hate to tell you this but, in this case, that's not compliment on you OR him.
posted by tkchrist at 3:37 PM on May 17, 2008


YOU know about it. I know about it. Hmmmm. If anonymous giving is soooo classy... well why is that we know Buffet gave a billion dollars?

Blame Ted Danson.
posted by rokusan at 3:45 PM on May 17, 2008



Tkchrist seems to think dignity is overrated.
OK, how about I feed a few homeless people in return for them performing degrading acts for me? Who cares, if they're being fed?


Oh c'mon. Quit putting words in my mouth... er brain. Nice strawman, though. Maybe you can ship it to Africa.

What I said is that some of you seem to think you have some magic formula for success that keeps "Africa's precious dignity" intact. But not one of you has spelled out what the fuck that is. The onus is on YOU, not Madonna or me, to make that case and convince people to do things the "right" way. And first you need to PROVE it's the right way and the other way is the wrong way. And none of you in the Madonna hate-fest has done that.

Interesting how no one is asking what organizations these celebs are giving to, what these organizations have done or are going to do

Exactly. How do you know that these people don't give to these other charities you speak of? You don't.
posted by tkchrist at 3:45 PM on May 17, 2008


You don't think so? Warren Buffett was able to start a municipal bond insurance company in the middle of the of the sub-prime crisis, and got something like a half billion dollars in revenue right away (from what I understand). He was able to do that partly because of his name and the name of his company (Berkshire Hathaway).

Buffet's IMAGE is not a commodity. His reputation as a smart capitalist IS. And the media bandwidth Buffet eats up pales in comparison to Bradjolina. The issue was Bradjolina and Madonna self aggrandizing by affiliating their image with a charity - while guys like Buffet are not self-aggrandizing. And The comparison is silly.
posted by tkchrist at 3:54 PM on May 17, 2008


I'm beginning to understand you now. Using words and phrases like retarded, and "So I guess you must really hate homosexuals. After all nobody "thrusts decadence and depravity" into the consciousness of Betty and Bob Sixpack more than the sight of two gay men kissing, right? And video games. God video games are evil. AMIRITE!" Opinion contrary to your are fodder for your shit cannon. Well get ready to load your firearm. Your opinion are right of of the McGovern era with your liberal bias. You fail to see the hypocrisy of these two individuals for the sole purpose of self promotion. They don't give a shit about the African populace and if anybody questions the great Oz behind the curtain no wishes are granted. Well I know this for certain- he sure the fuck didn't give you a brain if you fail to see the truth and irony of ZachsMind comments on these two idiots.

Nobody said Madonna was the cause of "thrusts decadence and depravity", no more than global warming is the fault of some Joe out in the woods around a campfire, however almost all serious problems are sum of it parts. That's what you fail to see through your star struck glasses.
posted by brickman at 4:07 PM on May 17, 2008


TKChrist: "You know who is to blame for the rise of the right wing? The fucking right wing. That's who."

o.0

And you called MY argument retarded? ROTFLMAO.

Thanks to Dawson and Brickman for the kind words. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 8:55 PM on May 17, 2008


Madonna says you can have it both ways, but only if you're Madonna. Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy here?

Only because you're trying so hard to find it. Madonna says she protects her kids from exposure to mass media. She does not say that the media should change itself for the well-being of her kids; she accepts and exercises that responsibility. (And really, aren't adults generally getting stupider because of the constant demands that every media entity be kid-friendly?) You are trying to blame Madonna because other parents don't do the same. So, no, her actions here are not inconsistent at all.

I respect Madonna because she has continued to succeed at what she does despite all the dismissals and criticisms, and because she's someone who clearly has always worked way harder to get where she is than pretty much anyone who puts her down. She has attempted over the years--not always successfully, sometimes clumsily--to base her work on some form of artistic vision. I remain fascinated by the variety of negative reactions to her, in part because those who dislike her so much remain, mysteriously, intimately familiar with details of her life and career that I, a casual admirer, have no clue about. I think those who dislike Madonna the most are the ones who have the irresistible need to feed such reaction by hanging on her every word. I find it is not difficult at all in my life--and I even watch TV, unashamedly!--to not be immersed in details about celebrities I have no interest in; in fact, I don't recognize most of the names on the celebrity scene I heard tossed around these days and--strangely enough--I don't tend to have discussions or debates about them.
posted by troybob at 6:26 AM on May 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bricksman I don't understand you. I know you have found a little cabal of bias confirmation with Zachsmind but the alliance is not based on any sort of logic or facts. It's purely an emotional bias. Essentially Zachsmind said this:

"Oh ma GAWD! Madonna is such a slut!"

Really. That's his argument. Which is no different than any of the other absurd culture warrior arguments.

And he DID say, and I quote:

"She found it completely acceptable behavior to thrust decadence and depravity into the eyes of anyone who would pay for it..."

That, my friend, is PURELY a value judgment. Not any statement of fact.

I question your reading comprehension. Read his comment again. It is all emotional.

And then he goes on justifying why he doesn't like Madonna with some bullshit about how that contributes to motivating the right wing. Blah blah blah. So what? EVERYTHING motivates the right wing. Just say you don't like her. But investing so much into the over reaching argument only illustrated a near stalker like mentality. Having so much near conspiratorial effort invested in why Madonna is so awful— It's no better than somebody who expends all his or her energy worshiping a celebrity.

Okay. In terms of the context of this POST. The article by O’Neil. The point you all are busy ignoring. Let's say then Madonna changes her support to a LESS (so called) "counter productive" charitable cause.

According to Zachsminds argument above even THAT won't absolve her. She committed some uber-sin of... of... what? Depravity? Hypocrisy? What? I'm not really sure. But anyway in this scenario even her actually DOING the right thing would still attract the ire of the right wing and fuel them to defeat the righteous cause out of spite or something. There for she can’t even do that. Not according to Zachsminds argument. She is condemned by her past for some reason. And it's all BULLSHIT.

And if Madonna’s depravity and decadence stokes this flame... well there are certainly other things that do MORE. In fact we can see them, as they are OFFICIAL platforms stated in black and white on the conservative agenda. Gays. Specifically gay marriage "Mobilizes the base of the right wing." So then gay people should be shunned for wanting to get married now Zachsmind?

THAT is the logical extension of this specious emotional drivel. It's an idiotic line of reasoning one that is well beneath all of you of you sat and thought about for five seconds. But no. Your too busy high five-ing each other over your mutual irrational hatred on an inconsequential Pop Star. Maddona is not responsible for George Bush, or the neocons, or Rush Limbaugh or any of the other regressive movements. Not even a little bit. Yes. To think so is goddamned retarded. To borrow a phrase :No “right thinking person” could conclude such a grossly prejudicial thing.

Look Zachsmind is smart and highly creative individual. He does have this penchant for getting kooky, and like a pit bull won't let loose on an idea once his jaws are set. Even idiotic ideas. He has done it before and attracts some fairly intensive pile-on’s. Which I think is unfair. The dude has to learn to admit when he is being kooky. Hitching your wagon to this particular argument of his is big mistake. It doesn't strengthen what you were saying.

Maybe because you think I denigrated some hero thing you have for Buffet. You are wasting your time. I'm sorry I came on strong. Truly it's only a net persona I leverage for humorous effect. See beyond that for a second.

Look. Buffet is a good guy (for a billionaire). The point you all are steadfastly failing to grasp is that Celebs like Madonna and billionaires like Buffet are not in the same league and can't be held to the same standards. Okay. And. Hate’n on these celebs for essentially attempting to put their compassion into action, even IF that action is "wrong" in your opinion, is a complete waste of energy. In fact charitably giving should be encouraged. You all only make it harder for these people come forward and do good things. If you feel they are placing their resources in the wrong efforts then convince THEM there are better ways. PROVE there are better ways. The guy in this article didn’t.

If you guys can’t see even a little sense what I’m saying then I give up. I do. Keep on keeping on with the hate’n. But. Know this. It won’t do a lick of good for anybody.
posted by tkchrist at 11:24 AM on May 18, 2008


That, my friend, is PURELY a value judgment. Not any statement of fact.

Are you kidding me, 75% or more of all judgements are based on values. Look at the Constitution, and it will not take you to long to realize that most of this document is directly or indirectly based on the Ten Commandments. Moral judgement is what I base all my decisions on. Madonna and Angeline are not basing their decisions on moral or ethical grounds, but what promotes them the most ,and in the long run adds to their bank account. If there are any peripheral advantages to the African people with their dog and pony show, their contributions are marginal at best . Now I'm not against making a buck (as I run a business), however doing it on the backs of poor and downtrodden people of the world is outrageous and lower than a snakes belly. If you can't see the point I'm making, I give up.
posted by brickman at 2:06 PM on May 18, 2008


It's more like 75% or more of all judgments are made by assholes. Your idea of moral integrity might be curling up in front of the fire at the Promise Keepers Lodge with your well-worn copy of Prayer of Jabez and dreaming of sucking Warren Buffet's golden dick. Angelina Jolie's idea of integrity is giving time, effort, and money--and attracting more attention by others (within the UN, for fuck's sake!)--to something she believes in that is beyond herself. This is kind of tradition--or have you also condemned Mary Tyler Moore's work for diabetes research? Tippi Hedren's wildlife preserve? Betty White's animal rights work? Audrey Hepburn with UNICEF?

You're neither qualified nor worthy to assess the integrity of charitable efforts of any other person. It sounds more like you have a problem with women you find morally inferior who have done more for others than your own self-righteous, self-involved, self-serving values will allow.
posted by troybob at 3:01 PM on May 18, 2008


I would like to applaud and commend TKChrist for debating my argument rather than just denigrating me or calling me a retard or an asshole. It makes it more difficult for me to defend my opinion when it's my opinion that's actually challenged as opposed to my ego. I mean, I know I'm a retard. I know I'm an asshole. Let's not attack my character, in here. It's a dead horse. With that said:

TKChrist: Essentially Zachsmind said this: "Oh ma GAWD! Madonna is such a slut!"

Nowhere in my previous diatribe did I utilize the word "slut." I'm tempted to quote Dan Ackroyd when he responded to Jane Curtain, but I fear the obscurity of the reference would date me.

"he DID say, and I quote: 'She found it completely acceptable behavior to thrust decadence and depravity into the eyes of anyone who would pay for it...' That, my friend, is PURELY a value judgment. Not any statement of fact."

Before she wrote children's books, Madonna published this. So I do have published evidence to back up my previous statement. Now, I ain't judging this as bad or good. On the contrary, I applaud decadence and depravity! I think it's nice! I think TKChrist may have me backwards and thinks I'm upset with Madonna when she was being Madonna. I'm upset that Madonna stopped being Madonna.

Let me try it this way. Several years ago there was this guy named Jimmy Swaggart who claimed to be a preacher and claimed to live a saintly life, and he did go on record in public condemning others who didn't live up to the standards of a fundamental Christian ideal. That's all well and good. Free country. He can make his living convincing others he's got an inline track to God. Peddle his snake oil. I'm not questioning that. Then some papparazzi asshole found him in bed with a stripper. Now I ain't defining Swaggart a saint OR a sinner. I ain't condemning him. In fact I'm happy the boy got some! I'd describe him as a hypocrite, and I mean that in the nicest of ways. He advertised himself one way, but was obviously another. So this isn't a value judgment. I'm just pointing out the false advertising. I don't know Madonna from a hole in the wall, nor do I care to know her. In her youth she celebrated free expression and liberal ideals, then became a turtle in her shell as she got older and went all Kaballah-y. TKChrist went on to attempt to paint me as a Madonna cyberstalker. Believe me, I've dwelled on Madonna's existence more in this thread in the last day or two than I have in years, and I hope to go back soon to not giving a shit about her one way or the other.

"Maddona is not responsible for George Bush, or the neocons, or Rush Limbaugh or any of the other regressive movements."

I never said she was. I described her as representative of the symptom. A drop in the ocean, or words to that effect. She's one of many examples that conservative fundamentalists use to scare each other into circling the wagons and handcuffing their children to the bedposts for fear that their young might behave in the way that God intended: as human beings. Madonna paraded herself once as a harlot, and rightfully so! Then when the shoe was on the other foot and she had children of her own, suddenly she got religion, and left the rest of us who applaud decadence and depravity holding our dicks in the wind. I'm pissed off at the false advertising. That's all. I describe her as a hypocrite just as I would Swaggart. Just in the opposite direction. The old adage goes if it walks like a duck and acts like a duck and sounds like a duck chances are it's a duck, right?

If you're gonna be a duck, stop mooing. That's what I'm trying to say.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:26 PM on May 18, 2008


Jesus Christ. Zachsmind your all over the place here. False advertising? Swaggart? What?

Congratulations you have conflated no less than five wholly separate and unrelated contradictory topics into one amorphous blob of crazy talk.

You went for attributing Madonna as small but somehow representative part of a vast pervert conspiracy, one that you now are eager to be a part of, that contributed to motivating the rise of the Right Wing to... I don't even understand what.

Zachsmind you have no right to criticize how Madonna, or anybody else ftm, chooses to raise their child. And. Why the fuck should you care?

Guess what 99% of the people out there who smoked pot, or snorted coke, or posed NUDE in god damned books, don't want their children to that until they are adults themselves. So what. So she can't try to change herself because you can't whack off to her anymore?

So what if she is a hypocrite.

Let's see. Contributed millions of dollars worth of her time to various causes. Gives money. Adopts poor kids. But, on the other hand that naughty minx used to fuck Warren Beatty and wear pointy titted bra's. Why she can't just DO that can she? Has this woman no shame!

She is over fifty years old. She isn't entitled to change?

And least of all what the hell has any of that has to with this thread? It's all some vague justification for your over the top investment in hating a pop star who doesn't matter. It's all about your rather bizzare idea of what Madonna is, and not what she has done, in the sense of her charitable giving. I know you imagined it was all just a throw away comment that was cute. But pull the cord now, bro. Get out while you can. The plane is going down.
posted by tkchrist at 3:49 PM on May 18, 2008


Moral judgement is what I base all my decisions on,

There is a word of difference between a reasoned moral judgment and an irrational emotional one.

But I salute you sir. You clearly made moral judgment here. In hitching your moral wagon to Zachsmind's crazy parade of vociferous condemnation of Madonna's deviant ways you have set the stage for a brighter tomorrow. In fact no less than 12 Somali children didn't starve today based solely on your condemnation of Madonna. You're a hero, sir. A hero.

Now if you'll excuse me as president of the Madonna Fan Club I must alert the rest of my coven that our mistress is finally under the assault which we all knew would come once her evil was revealed. We will be wearing our pointy bras to charge casting a hex upon Warren Buffet and those African orphans — who won't just lose their dignity by themselves. It takes time to get the choreography just right.
posted by tkchrist at 4:02 PM on May 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


There is a word of difference between a reasoned moral judgment and an irrational emotional one.

Irrational is in the eye of the beholder. Your a staunch defender of the Madonna and think it will make a difference-I applaud you, but I think your delusional and welcome to the Madonna train ride to hell. Angeline was getting a lot of attention with the adoption of orphans from Africa, and Madonna in her infinite wisdom, decided to join the media gravy train to promote her own self interest. Think about the chronological sequence leading up to her involvement and how much attention she was garnering until the fated day of adopting a child from Africa. She's a savvy one, knowing how to manipulate the press and naive blogger on Internet sites. You are getting sucked in and what hysterical you don't even know the difference between what real and perception.

It's more like 75% or more of all judgments are made by assholes

Well you just made a judgement about me, physician heal thyself. Your an not idiot, but classless and clueless.


This is kind of tradition--or have you also condemned Mary Tyler Moore's work for diabetes research? Tippi Hedren's wildlife preserve? Betty White's animal rights work? Audrey Hepburn with UNICEF?


Any reasonable person would not in the same breath mention these fine individuals with Madonna or Angeline. Of course a person that tells me to suck somebody dick or calls me a asshole, is in my book not only unreasonable, but perhaps has some serious issues with sexual identity and how to cope with the turmoil your obviously going through.
posted by brickman at 5:08 PM on May 18, 2008


Often arguments on Metafilter can be illuminating and, even when the vehemence and 'no-you're-a-doodyhead' back and forth can get a bit much, are useful grist in testing how well-considered one's own beliefs are on a given issue.

This is not one of those times.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:32 PM on May 18, 2008


Those 'fine individuals' are celebrities who have identified themselves with particular charitable causes, and who could as unjustifiably be (and perhaps have been) accused of using such work to enhance their celebrity. You cannot state that the efforts of Madonna and Angelina Jolie are less appropriate or effective or sincere except on the basis that you just don't like them.

And thanks for the concern for my sexual identity, but when I was kid and heard those first notes of Madonna's Borderline emerge from my cheap radio, I turned gay instantly and have never turned back. The 'Madonna train ride to hell' has been a lot more honest and uplifting than the train you seem to be riding, on which no doubt the men's restrooms are seeing a lot more action than you'll admit.
posted by troybob at 10:51 PM on May 18, 2008


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