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May 7, 2009 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Mia Farrow has been vlogging her 11 day (and counting) hunger strike.
posted by hermitosis (97 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
She was doing that compulsive adoption of "unplaceable" children thing long before Angelina Jolie.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:48 AM on May 7, 2009


She always struck me as a little odd.

Hunger strikes aren't going to accomplish anything. Regime overturn in the region will.
posted by kldickson at 9:49 AM on May 7, 2009


She was great in Rosemary's Baby.

Oh, and here are a couple links.
posted by box at 9:52 AM on May 7, 2009


I bet when she stops the hunger strike, one thing she won't have is the Choc. Mousse.
posted by Senator at 9:52 AM on May 7, 2009


Hunger strikes aren't going to accomplish anything.

Except make you younger.

"Age: 42
Country: United States"
posted by gman at 9:53 AM on May 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Coincidentally this is my 11th day of not giving a toss what Mia Farrow does.
posted by rhymer at 9:53 AM on May 7, 2009 [13 favorites]


If more Americans were like her you could kill three birds with one stone - cure the obesity crisis, free up large quantities of food for starving Africans and raise Darfur's profile.

Seriously, though - I also think this is misplaced effort: I mean, hunger strikes are a powerful tool where someone is incarcerated and the political cost of them being seen to waste away or dying is high.

But Mia Farrow, starving in the luxury of her own home (I presume that's where it is as I can't have the sound on at work)? Undoubtedly worthy, but not noteworthy enough to create the kind of political pressure needed to get someone high up to change things.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:56 AM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Being that I'm me and I'm a horrible person, I can just see these videos showing up on "Thinspiration" sites for anorexics. Her first name doesn't help.

( that being said, I always liked Ms. Farrow's acting. Plus she was married to Frank Sinatra and then broke up the marriage of Dory and Andre' Previn. Dory, so upset over the betrayl of her close friend, wrote a few songs about it and ended up playing Carnegie Hall)
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 AM on May 7, 2009


Typically for this stunt, er, protest to work one would have to have some weight to lose for dramatic effect.
posted by Gungho at 10:00 AM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wonder if it would make any difference in the snark level if anyone seen generally to be less of a celebrity airhead/head case than Mia Farrow were engaging in the hunger strike? Pick your saintly public figure of choice. Interesting thought exercise.
posted by blucevalo at 10:00 AM on May 7, 2009


perhaps those of you who choose to beat up mia farrow would please scrape the bits of hamburger meat and french fries off your teeth first.
posted by kitchenrat at 10:01 AM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


that being said, I always liked Ms. Farrow's acting. Plus she was married to Frank Sinatra

Marrying a man who's in his fifties when you're just twenty doesn't give you a plus mark in my book.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:02 AM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's not so much a plus as a "Wow, her life has been a great big basket of crazy since the beginning, huh?"
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on May 7, 2009


Can we starve Bono to death next?
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on May 7, 2009 [19 favorites]


I like her as an actress, and I think her heart is in the right place. That said, I think it's pretty clear that she's got issues.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:08 AM on May 7, 2009


Its not a hunger strike. Its a 21 day water-only fast. Typically a real hunger strike has power because the idea of someone (generally a prisoner) starving themselves to death (often in custody) and thereby becoming a martyr to the cause is seen as very embarrassing to the people in power.

The Wikipedia article on hunger strikes is quite good, actually.

But this ain't one, and I honestly think that while she's well intentioned, she's kind of doing a disservice to the memory of people like Mary Clarke, Gandhi, Terence MacSwiney, and the dozens of others who have endured force-feeding and who have often died for their causes.
posted by anastasiav at 10:10 AM on May 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


When I saw this post, I wanted to snark so much. After having watched a couple of the videos I don't think I can. Sure, we can call the pretense of celebrities who do 'good causes' and 'help the poor', and word knows some people deserve it because of the exploitativeness of it all. But how can we condemn a celebrity-obsessed and woefully inconstant media while at the same time condemning those celebrities who are just trying to work that system to gain profile for a cause?

I would like to see a better media, but until then, hey! Mia Farrow is getting people talking about genocide. Thank fuck for Mia Farrow.
posted by Sova at 10:11 AM on May 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


I recall when Susan Sarandon tried to make an appeal to Jiang Zemin, and Jiang said something along the lines of "I have no idea who that woman is, and I don't care." I imagine that if al-Bashir is aware of this hunger strike at all, unless he's unexpectedly a huge Woody Allen fan, is probably saying something similar
posted by 1adam12 at 10:12 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


So... to be clear... the Sudanese government and other world leaders don't care that actual Darfuris are starving, but they're going to care that Mia Farrow is starving?
posted by lullaby at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2009 [16 favorites]


Marrying a man who's in his fifties when you're just twenty doesn't give you a plus mark in my book.

Obviously a comment not written by a man in his 50s.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2009 [21 favorites]


blucevalo: "I wonder if it would make any difference in the snark level if anyone seen generally to be less of a celebrity airhead/head case than Mia Farrow were engaging in the hunger strike? Pick your saintly public figure of choice. Interesting thought exercise."

George Clooney - as univerally liked a celebrity as I can think of - has spoken about Darfur, I believe. If he started a hunger strike, I'd still think it was foolish, unproductive grandstanding... but I suppose I'd be a little more sympathetic while pointing it out.

I read Farrow's (not necessarily unwarranted) hatchet job on Woody Allen and she struck me as being not demonstrably more intelligent than, say, Tori Spelling. [Just to pick someone else who grew up in the biz.] Chillingly, she also described trying to adopt her n-th "unplaceable" child even as the Soon-Yi business was playing out. To me that indicates a messiah complex disturbing enough that I'd rather not hear her views on Darfur - however legitimate they may be.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:17 AM on May 7, 2009


When it comes to actorly attention-whoring, "going on a hunger strike" beats the holy hell out of "checking into rehab".
posted by Optamystic at 10:20 AM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wonder if it would make any difference in the snark level if anyone seen generally to be less of a celebrity airhead/head case than Mia Farrow were engaging in the hunger strike? Pick your saintly public figure of choice.

If Bruce Schneier threatened a hunger strike, I'd be on the phone to my representatives right now.

Seriously; we need him!
posted by Afroblanco at 10:21 AM on May 7, 2009


kldickson: Hunger strikes aren't going to accomplish anything.

gman: Except make you younger.

"Age: 42
Country: United States"


Holy crap, gman, you're right.

Do you realize what this means? Woody Allen is even more of a pervert than we thought: I mean, if she's 42 now, that would make Mia Farrow 13 years old when she first started seeing Allen in 1980!
posted by koeselitz at 10:27 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


It'd also mean she married Frank Sinatra when she was a year old.

That Mia...
posted by Spatch at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2009


IMHO anything done by anybody that raises awareness - without offense is good, but don't let me interfere with UR judgmental, non-productive snark.

Carry on.
posted by HyperBlue at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


...wait a minute. She'd have been NEGATIVE ONE!

GASP!
posted by Spatch at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2009


She better watch out or she's going to get dangerously thin with stringy hair and kind of a breathless, piercing voice.
posted by DU at 10:31 AM on May 7, 2009


She better watch out or she's going to get dangerously thin with stringy hair and kind of a breathless, piercing voice.

Wow, that's low. Really, most of the ad homs here may/may not be justified on her actions. But her appearance?

Is it so difficult to accept that publicity is free, but priceless?
posted by Sova at 10:38 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


...and I have to say, even though I'm certain someone like her doesn't sit there setting up her own Youtube profile or anything like that, I really do like to believe that Mia Farrow was sitting there staring at the 'Age?' question and thought to herself, “you know what? I look about 42. I should say that I'm 42 years old—I'll bet people won't know the difference.”
posted by koeselitz at 10:39 AM on May 7, 2009


I know, I'm definitely hell-bound.
posted by DU at 10:43 AM on May 7, 2009


anything done by anybody that raises awareness - without offense is good

Pfft. Raising awareness is what you do when you can't do anything effective.

Everyone is already aware, the problem is that nobody cares enough to actually do anything about it.
posted by aramaic at 10:43 AM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


There was a New York Times magazine story about Turkish hunger striker (who were protesting special prisons for political prisoners.) These strikers conditioned their bodies for a very long death by fasting:

There is no medical literature to describe the journey the strikers are making; they are pioneers in the field of human starvation. Before the death fasts in Turkey, the record for surviving on a hunger strike was 72 days. The Armutlu strikers, by preparing their bodies ahead of time through the feast-and-famine regimen, and then by taking carefully calibrated daily doses of sugar and salt, have managed to last up to four times as long.
posted by vespabelle at 10:44 AM on May 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Don't be jealous just because she's still capable of feeling emotions and you aren't, you snarky nasty keyboard monkeys.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:45 AM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


For the record, Ms. Farrow is 64. And it sure looks like she's had work done.

When Gwyneth Paltrow - another biz-kid with a vastly inflated sense of the importance of her opinions - hits 64, she'll probably be in denial too.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:45 AM on May 7, 2009


I know, I'm definitely hell-bound.

I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.
posted by gman at 10:46 AM on May 7, 2009


Marrying a man who's in his fifties when you're just twenty doesn't give you a plus mark in my book.

Eh, makes good financial sense.

But how can we condemn a celebrity-obsessed and woefully inconstant media while at the same time condemning those celebrities who are just trying to work that system to gain profile for a cause?

I'm an American, I'll think of something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:48 AM on May 7, 2009


For the record, Ms. Farrow is 64

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?
posted by MuffinMan at 10:49 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"you snarky nasty keyboard monkeys"

I bear witness with the best of them.
posted by bardic at 10:54 AM on May 7, 2009


I recall when Susan Sarandon tried to make an appeal to Jiang Zemin, and Jiang said something along the lines of "I have no idea who that woman is, and I don't care." I imagine that if al-Bashir is aware of this hunger strike at all, unless he's unexpectedly a huge Woody Allen fan, is probably saying something similar

If he was a huge Woody Allen fan, wouldn't that just make him like her even less?
posted by delmoi at 11:00 AM on May 7, 2009


I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

False dichotomy!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:01 AM on May 7, 2009


Hunger strikes aren't going to accomplish anything. Regime overturn in the region will.

Not to feed the troll here, but regime change to what? A dictatorship? An even more stricked and whacked out theocracy? Despite what Paul Wolfawitz may have lead you to believe in 1992 "regime change," (aka bombing) sure as hell isn't going to lead to some blossoming Jeffersonian democracy.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:13 AM on May 7, 2009


strict, strict, strict
posted by Pollomacho at 11:14 AM on May 7, 2009


I recall when Susan Sarandon tried to make an appeal to Jiang Zemin, and Jiang said something along the lines of "I have no idea who that woman is, and I don't care." I imagine that if al-Bashir is aware of this hunger strike at all, unless he's unexpectedly a huge Woody Allen fan, is probably saying something similar

I think, think because some of the actors I've known, well, it would not be far fetched the intended target of the pressure being exerted is our administration, not the 'other.'

That said I can't begin to imagine what provoked her to do this now, but it does way more good than bad and so Go Mia, go, put down that bagel! Spit out that carpaccio! Let your shadow not cross Balducci's doorstep for at least a month!
posted by From Bklyn at 11:16 AM on May 7, 2009


I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

If one of the sinners is Billy Joel, I'd rather cry with the saints.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:22 AM on May 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wow, vespabelle, that's one horrifying story.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:30 AM on May 7, 2009


I don't particularly get the supercharged level of vitriol, given that Mia Farrow is no demonstrably worse or no demonstrably better than any other narcissistic celebrity (or politician, for that matter) out there who makes a stab at doing something publicly and/or socially redeeming. I kind of suspect that Omar al-Bashir would be laughing his ass off as much as anything George Clooney did as he would at anything Mia Farrow did. For that matter, Jiang Zemin probably didn't know or care about most of the vaunted public figures who spoke out against him, either, whether they were Susan Sarandon, Richard Gere, or Yosemite Sam.
posted by blucevalo at 11:34 AM on May 7, 2009


Woody Allen is even more of a pervert than we thought: I mean, if she's 42 now, that would make Mia Farrow 13 years old when she first started seeing Allen in 1980!

You need to watch Manhatten.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:36 AM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


When Gwyneth Paltrow - another biz-kid with a vastly inflated sense of the importance of her opinions...

I imagine conversations between her and her husband are always very anguished and sincere.

"Darling, what's for breakfast?"
"Cereal"
"Doesn't it make you think, though, of all the starving children out there? All those without the benefit of our first world society? And, I mean, nobody cares. Nobody. Only the other day I read in the paper that obesity in the US is hitting endemic levels, yet children in Africa are starving."
"Eat your fucking cereal"
"I should call Bono. Maybe Bob Geldof."
posted by djgh at 11:38 AM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I need to do this until I lose about ten pounds
posted by poppo at 11:42 AM on May 7, 2009


You need to watch Manhatten.

3 FPPs down from this one.
posted by gman at 11:45 AM on May 7, 2009


djgh: "yet children in Africa are starving"

Oh, but Gwyneth Paltrow is African.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:46 AM on May 7, 2009


I watched Hunger last week... the film about IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands. One of the best films I've seen for a while, but it's a grueling watch.

I don't think Mia, good intentions or self-publicity, really compares
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:51 AM on May 7, 2009


I don't mind stealing bread from the mouths of decadence, but I can't feed on the powerless when my cup's already overfilled.
posted by owtytrof at 11:57 AM on May 7, 2009


A friend of mine started fasting but allowed herself a concoction of water, maple syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper. It squelched her hunger so well that after a week or so she felt like she never needed to pay for food again. Imagine all the money she'd save! and time! She could rent an apartment without a kitchen!

Then she'd climb on her motorcycle to visit a friend, start wandering about the countryside, forget where she was supposed to be and how to get home... and decided to put food back on the menu before someone got hurt.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:59 AM on May 7, 2009


That URL at the top is wrong - I think you meant to link here.
posted by w0mbat at 12:02 PM on May 7, 2009


Warning: You will experience cravings, aches, pains, mental irritability and fatigue. These are symptoms of your body's detoxification.

No -- these are symptoms of your body saying, "What in holy hell are you doing? STOP NOW!"
posted by blucevalo at 12:08 PM on May 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hey you nasty keyboard monkeys - you might want to check out the actual mother-site, Darfur Fast for Life. It's a fast, not a hunger strike, so there's no need to snark on the terminology.

There's plenty of other things to snark on, my brother and sister monkeys. You can follow the fast on twitter. Or you can read about people are being so inspired by Mia being surrounded by all those starving children. Or how Mia spends hours with those courageous people helping to create community. Or how we need the ancient knowledge of all those beautiful people to save the planet, and how Mia risks her life to visit the camps ...

Really. There's so much to snark on. I'm trying to be good, I really am. I want to say that anything to bring attention to any world tragedy is a good thing. But, Hey! Look how brave Mia is!
posted by kanewai at 12:12 PM on May 7, 2009


To hell with the anti-snarking. I'm still trying to figure out on what authority actors, musicians, et. al feel they have the right to do anything but act and make music.

The latest nauseating example: Elizabeth Hasselbeck who became famous after appearing on the 1st Survivor for Chrissakes (!!!) is endorsing Brittany (or whatever the hell her name is) Palin speaking out against teen pregnancy.

Stick to fucking acting/singing, please. Enough already with your myriad causes about which you know nothing, thanks.
posted by eggman at 12:27 PM on May 7, 2009


Can we starve Bono to death next?

Sure. Just remember he doesn't actually eat human food, because he's not human.

Apparently he derives his nutrients from sunglasses. They dissolve into his face or something.
posted by loquacious at 12:33 PM on May 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Regime change and political interferance in other areas always leaves me confused.

I've met people that would rail endlessly about the Iraq war. Until they became contractors at $45k+ a year. The anti-war T-shirt turns into a sell out suit. Outstanding. Domestic brilliance at the finest point.

So, we're supposed to invade Darfur? And then what? Prepare for the domestic onslaught of Darfur protestors? Create rain so the country can feed itself? There are some very liberal humanities professors; even to some of these people, ... "If you feed them, they will multiply; and there will be more to feed."

There is no amusement nor solution in any of this issue.
posted by buzzman at 12:34 PM on May 7, 2009


Ok, she was much younger when she was married to Frank Sinatra, but look at it this way, if Frank was still around she could have asked him to send some guys over to break Sudan's legs and straighten those guys out, see? Knock off this genocide bunk or it's ring-a-ding for you bozos. (stolen from here)

Yeah, it's a fast. I don't know about self-righteous or martyr complex - maybe. But she's a celebrity. I don't think anyone would give a damn if I did this or my buddies. I'm not famous or hell, even likable (publicly).
I think it's a worthwhile expression of outrage (in contrast to my preferred form of expression of breaking stuff and stomping people).
Plenty of folks doing it in solidarity. If it moves the cause an inch - so be it. There is the 'me' thing, ego. But I suppose that's the cost of getting a celebrity involved. Double edged sword.
But were it me spearheading this, I'd shake hands with the devil if it meant making that much more of a difference.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:35 PM on May 7, 2009


Do you think she is sneaking sandwiches?
posted by Mojojojo at 12:38 PM on May 7, 2009


I'm still trying to figure out on what authority actors, musicians, et. al feel they have the right to do anything but act and make music.

Funny, that. I ask the same question you do about politicians every day of my life, and their pretense that they have the authority to do anything other than pontificate, stonewall, and raise money for their campaigns has far more impact on most people's everyday lives than the mewling of a handful of celebrities.
posted by blucevalo at 1:15 PM on May 7, 2009


She's sneaking fucking hoagies. Fucking eggplant parm. Knishes by the bushel.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:34 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to figure out on what authority actors, musicians, et. al feel they have the right to do anything but act and make music.

boring.

on what authority do we do anything?
cuz mommy and dada said we could?
cuz the fawning public gives us credence?

why can't our sense of responsibility give us the urge to do it and the mandate?

there's some chicken heads in here and i hope the wolf doesn't catch you.
hell, you go eat a sandwich.
posted by artof.mulata at 1:36 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


artof.mulata--speaking of chicken heads, thank you for making my point. She's pandering to the "fawning public" and that's the only reason she's doing it or at least feels the need to speak out about it.

And I do love sandwiches--I just don't feel the need to call CNN when I'm not eating one because I'm fasting to protest Manny Ramirez 50-game suspension, genocide in Darfur, or whatever. You'll notice that the most noble among us do their good deeds anonymously, or quietly, sans attention . . .

Oh but "boring" is no good, I guess.
posted by eggman at 1:58 PM on May 7, 2009


eggman, chickenhead to chickenhead, i don't think you can back up that statement that "the most noble among us..." without theology or philosophy as your basis. and so we can toss it as a platitude. (into the pickle jar)

i'm pragmatic. i don't care who tries to assist in these efforts. if people would rather less attention be paid to certain issues (gross word, i know) than allow a certain class of people attempt to raise their visibility then... well shit, dude; what is the point? (of all this dressing on my fucking taboule)

insulting people for trying is boring. booooooreeeeeng. everybody has to start somewhere, right? (maybe with a hot appetizer or the soup sampler)
posted by artof.mulata at 2:11 PM on May 7, 2009


But were it me spearheading this, I'd shake hands with the devil if it meant making that much more of a difference.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:35 PM on May 7 [+] [!]


Ack. Intentional allusion?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:22 PM on May 7, 2009


al-Bashir: Right, I expect these orders to be followed without a hint of mercy! Have the men stop every truck, I do not want one crumb getting through the blockade. Am I understood?

Taha: Indeed, it will be done. I will speak to the generals immediately.

al-Bashir: And that job I needed done, what was his name, that journalist...

Taha: Asif? Yes, your excellence, it has been taken care of. Food for the dogs now.

al-Bashir: You are a good man, Ali. Any other business?

Taha: Well, there is one more bit of news, Mia Farrow has launched a hunger strike.

al-Bashir: Who is Mia Farrow?

Taha: She is an American. An actress.

al-Bashir: Is she a Jew?

Taha: I am not sure. You've never heard of Mia Farrow? Are you serious? Broadway Danny Rose? Hannah and Her Sisters?

al-Bashir: Ah, yeah, I think I know the one... with the funny hats? Dressed like a man, in that Woody Allen film?

Taha: You're thinking of Diane Keaton. No, not her, the blonde one, she was Hannah in Hannah and Her Sisters...

al-Bashir: OK... the one Michael Caine was having an affair with? Or the older sister, his wife?

Taha: His wife, yes sir, she's the one.

al-Bashir: Man, what an irritating character she was! Such a martyr! I could totally feel for Caine, I'd have gone for the sister too, she was so much more full of life, a woman like that could make a man happy...

Taha: Indeed. Anyway, she is on a hunger strike.

al-Bashir: The younger one?

Taha: No, the older one. Hannah.

posted by Meatbomb at 2:52 PM on May 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

About a minute into her Day 10 video I was laughing pretty damn hard when her(?) kid got in front of the camera and started waving her(his?) hands around while she was talking about the Darfur. It was funny.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:59 PM on May 7, 2009


Oh crap. I just said the Darfur...crap
posted by P.o.B. at 3:00 PM on May 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mia Farrow's gesture hadn't triggered a strong reaction in me... but all the sarcastic, callous, kneejerk humour on here has really made me think about the subject of the drollery.

I can't imagine what it must feel like to watch your children starve. And then to think that the rich people on another part of this planet, the people who could change everything and share everything if they wanted, that they think it's funny when so many families die in slow agony...

That really does my head in.
posted by MinPin at 3:14 PM on May 7, 2009


Just watched the tenth one, but I think it's great youtube, her kids are a hoot.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:37 PM on May 7, 2009


You'll notice that the most noble among us do their good deeds anonymously, or quietly, sans attention . . .

Well, except for people like Gandhi and MLK and... you know, people who actually changed stuff.

(I'm not saying Mia Farrow is in their league, but your statement seems absurd --- often you have to be visible to make a difference)
posted by wildcrdj at 3:53 PM on May 7, 2009


Back in the early 1990's, other celebrities performed a hunger strike, and later ended up involved in a tube feeding.
posted by Tube at 4:44 PM on May 7, 2009


When one of you can tell me what you're doing that's more effective than this effort, I'll listen to you...

Really, I'll pay attention, I'll learn, I'll emulate if it seems useful and important..

until then.... well, you know....
posted by HuronBob at 5:39 PM on May 7, 2009


I'm still trying to figure out on what authority actors, musicians, et. al feel they have the right to do anything but act and make music.
I have to say I think there's something pretty fucked-up about your worldview if you think people need a grant from some sort of authority to step outside the rĂ´le you've assigned to them and act on what is presumably a strongly-felt belief. What are they supposed to so, submit a form to the Department of Political Expression? Do they need your permission to do other things other than acting and making music, like if they want to adopt a puppy or redecorate their living room?
posted by hattifattener at 5:52 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Durn Bronzefist: nice grab.

"You'll notice that the most noble among us do their good deeds anonymously, or quietly, sans attention . . ."

Well, no. There's a lot of folks who posted their names to that fasting for Darfur site. While I think there's an argument to be made in terms of shallow efforts by celebrities over facile causes, I think Farrow is in earnest. And certainly one can criticize her character on a number of fronts.
But narrowing the scope down to just this issue - many people are putting their names out there in support, and fasting, so why is that necessarily pandering or grubbing for attention when a celebrity does it? Or are they grubbing for attention as well?
The point being - certain things require name recognition. It's great if you can accomplish good deeds in anonymity. But this is, by design, something requiring names and lists, etc. in order to show how many people want a solution and care about the people in Darfur.
Farrow can bring a hell of a lot more money and recognition to bear than I can or any number of people can. I'd be happy to have her on something like this.
If she was sticking her nose in and making noise on something that wasn't doing that by design, different story. This seems otherwise though.
I mean, point taken on where nobility lay, but Gandhi would have appreciated Chaplain being behind him on the salt march (or perhaps in front of and slightly to the left of him on January 30, 1948).
posted by Smedleyman at 5:58 PM on May 7, 2009


I can't imagine what it must feel like to watch your children starve. And then to think that the rich people on another part of this planet, the people who could change everything and share everything if they wanted, that they think it's funny when so many families die in slow agony...

No one's making fun of anyone who's actually starving for lack of access to food. We're making fun of a narcissistic, famous twit who's deliberately going without food because it's a meaningless and ineffective gesture. Can you really not tell the difference?

Damn, with the money and leisure and media attention Mia Farrow has, all she can think of to do with it is to go on a hunger strike? For God's sake. Plan and organize. Mobilize people. Donate/raise money. Do something useful. I can't think of a greater sign of self-absorption and narcissism than this, as though what one American celebrity eats or doesn't eat could really be of world changing significance to anyone.
posted by orange swan at 8:40 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to figure out on what authority actors, musicians, et. al feel they have the right to do anything but act and make music.

You get that you live in a free country, right?
posted by orange swan at 8:42 PM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


When one of you can tell me what you're doing that's more effective than this effort, I'll listen to you...

i know what would be more effective than this effort - a "coalition of the willing" that would invade sudan and enforce our wishes upon this country - that means more american sons and daughters sent off to war, if you're not clear upon that

that's the only thing that's going to fix this - nothing else but brute force is going to change this situation

what's that? you don't want to do that? then quit being so santimonious about half-assed, feel-good-about-yourself measures like mia farrow's that solve nothing

let's have an honest realistic discussion here - it's not going to change unless someone sends some troops, period

frankly, i don't think the u s a should do that - but if you want "effectiveness" then that's what you need to be advocating
posted by pyramid termite at 9:14 PM on May 7, 2009


let's have an honest realistic discussion here - it's not going to change unless someone sends some troops, period

Oh, I don't know. There doesn't have to be an absolute, all or nothing style approach here. Farrow is one person and can protest and raise awareness as she wishes. Maybe she'll inspire some people to give to the Red Cross, and maybe those funds will actually reach needy people within Sudan. It won't be the overarching solution by any means, but a bit of suffering may be alleviated by her intentional suffering. So, that's something, yes?

The bile in this thread is rather ridiculous.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:19 PM on May 7, 2009


This podcast series from the Introduction to Nonviolence course at Berkeley includes a lecture or two that describe when a hunger fast is and is not effective. The general message, and I'm very vaguely remembering it here, was that when someone fasts, it is not to change the mind of the opposition power. Rather, it is to make the general population realize the hurt that is being caused and to act on it. So when Gandhi fasted, he was effective not because he upset the authorities, but because he awakened pain in his fellow Indians.

In that sense, Mia Farrow's actions are not likely to move people to demand action, not the least of which the understanding that this is something that she will probably back down from when and if her health completely deteriorates. Furthermore, there isn't a clear target group that this fast is going to affect.

People have been talking about the situation in Darfur for years and years. There's been no action. Fasting is an action but it still falls under rhetoric. Most countries can agree on the rhetoric -- that people are dying in Darfur, and that this is bad. What is harder to come to a concensus on is the fundamental nature of the problem, what steps will solve the problem, and how these steps will be carried out. I don't know anything about the political situation there, but it seems that there is always this tendency to focus on who is the bad guy so we can just take them out and solve the problem. Now, maybe there is a bad guy, and maybe there isn't, but clearly that consensus isn't there completely otherwise the international community probably would have stepped in by now and stopped the bad guy. So perhaps the first step in solving the problem is to let go identifying the bad guy, and focusing on what concrete steps can be taken to prevent further bloodshed.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:45 PM on May 7, 2009


Furthermore, there isn't a clear target group that this fast is going to affect.

Exactly. The Western cultural elite is already on Mia's side, and is powerless. If this was done by some very well known and loved Muslim Sudanese actor, that might be something.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:46 AM on May 8, 2009


I once broke a two week water-only fast with a biggish bucket of KFC.

It was an error.
posted by flabdablet at 2:23 AM on May 8, 2009


So, we're supposed to invade Darfur?

that's the only thing that's going to fix this - nothing else but brute force is going to change this situation


I know the US has defined it's foreign policy as military intervention and/or covert military intervention for a long time, but this does not mean that it is the only way to interact with the rest of the world. At least acting multilaterally through the UN might show some level of cooperation. Sadly, as China now owns the US, they are even less likely to do this than their usual level of apathy on human rights.

There are many ways to put pressure on the Sundanese regime which do not involve invading the country. Perhaps reading the Fast for Life website might help to understand what their ideas are on this subject.
posted by asok at 6:08 AM on May 8, 2009


Invasion, how droll.

Nobody is going to be invading Sudan. Why? Cheap DVD players, knockoff textiles, and vast quantities of knick-knacks, to say nothing of gigantic financial empires, are more important than any number of dead Darfuri.

France or the UK (to say nothing of the combined EU) could walk in any time they wanted to, and the Sudanese couldn't do squat to stop them. Yet they haven't. They won't.

The reason is not because they're opposed to invading people (France gets their hands dirty all the damn time in Africa), it's because nobody wants to mess with the Chinese gravy train. Nobody.

You want to save Darfur? Find a way to make China care what you think. Here's a hint: fasting won't do it.

Does anyone seriously think they care if Mia Farrow were to actually starve herself to death? Seriously? How many people have died so far? The idea that a few westerners could go hungry, and that would be what changes things is just profoundly offensive.

What, one westerner is worth ten thousand Darfuri maybe? A million? What kind of equivalence are we talking about here?

Fast for life my ass. Stop buying anything made in China first; it'll be a hell of a lot more effective.

And it still won't be truly effective.
posted by aramaic at 7:05 AM on May 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I really appreciate that every time she gets asked about herself or her kids, she responds but very quickly turns it around and says "I'm fine, what we need to talk about is Darfur." This really doesn't seem like attention-whoring at all. She's fasting for something she believes in, and vlogging about it. How is that different from how a non-famous person might act?
posted by arcticwoman at 7:40 AM on May 8, 2009


What makes you think that the Chinese actually give a shit about the current Sudanese regime, aramaic? It's not like a regime change would alter the flow of weapons and cheap plastic shit into Sudan. Even with Chinese investment, Sudan is just barely an oil and gas exporter, using about two thirds of what it produces. Stability would only mean that they could spend more on infrastructure and thus use more (because supply is not on the rise there).

The only thing that motivates the Chinese in this regard would be that a new regime might be up for someone other than the Chinese doing further oil and gas exploration in South Sudan (which could or could not be exploitable). So long as there is instability in the South and a friendly regime China gets monopoly status. A new regime could be just as friendly with the Chinese if they play their cards right.

On the other hand, the EU and NATO powers also have motivations for continued instability, it helps their position vis-a-vis the Chinese. The more the Chinese have to commit to al Bashir, the more they get tied to him. The instability serves to lock them together, then once regime change occurs, which eventually it will, so goes control of the oil fields. Whoever throws Bashir our on his ass (or headless corpse as my be more likely) will also throw his Chinese handlers out along with him, that is if the West play their cards right.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:05 AM on May 8, 2009


Stop buying anything made in China first; it'll be a hell of a lot more effective.

This could help improve a lot of things.
posted by buzzman at 9:10 AM on May 8, 2009


What makes you think that the Chinese actually give a shit about the current Sudanese regime, aramaic?

That's the whole point: they don't.

The only thing they care about is CNPC. Whatever happens in Sudan, or happens to the Sudanese, is relevant only insofar as it may affect CNPC. Stability = good. Bashir = stability. He could rape babies on live TV and nothing would happen as long as nobody cared enough to mess with CNPC.

Job Number One for Bashir is to keep CNPC happy. Everything else is secondary. If I were Bashir, I'd have a picture of Diem in the back of that APC by my bedside, so it'd be the last thing I see before sleep, and the first thing I see every morning. Right next to it I'd put photos of the Shah of Iran & Mossadeq

If you really want to change the situation in Darfur, you find a way to fuck up CNPC or otherwise make Sudan so expensive that it's no longer worth the effort for China to stay involved. Media-savvy fasting achieves nothing.

Remember all those pointless UN resolutions? There's a reason why they got watered down, and it sits on the Security Council surrounded by sycophants. But hey, feel free to raise awareness. Maybe sponsor a few more petitions; if you get really lucky maybe you'll get another UN resolution!
posted by aramaic at 10:43 AM on May 8, 2009


"a "coalition of the willing" that would invade sudan and enforce our wishes upon this country"
Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.
Much of this could be alleviated by policy change. To change policy you need public support. For public support you need publicity.
Not that I'm saying this is or will work, but you have to try a lot of things to figure out what will work. Farrows doing this. Ok. Meantime we can try something else. Look at other means.
I'd be more than happy to go in and kick over someone's tea wagon were it that simple.
In Somalia, they went from multi-sector development to being primarily driven by the export of labor in the mid/late-80s as a result of our (U.S.) policies and their manufacturing infrastructure declined (hmmm...) so you had a lot of out of work people, Aidid came in, threw out the guy supporting our policies there and there was a power vacuum. And since there was no grassroot support system - e.g. jobs, a local company, schools, etc. - that was supported by a central authority, those disparate elements fell back on their own support (mostly local clan alliances).
Hell, out here in Cook County you have some collar towns taking such a beating on taxes, while not getting services, they want to secede and form their own county. That's without gunplay being an element of negotiation. So it's easy to see how this happens.

So, clan warfare, blah de blah - but at the heart of the matter lay policy decisions by the international community (I'm focused on the U.S. here, but it is a larger matter) which brought Somalia in a couple decades from a fairly homogenous, poor but working country, albeit one created by colonialism (Britain, France, fascist Italy,) to a corrupt, aid addicted failed state. In part because of the cold war, but later polices encouraged nationalism and the war with Ethiopia (to keep dependence on aid) so when famine struck - they couldn't feed themselves and the place collapsed.
This is not to say that bringing in humanitarian aid to try to feed people was a bad move. It was altruistic, but again, giving the fish instead of teaching how to fish sort of thing.

I guess what I'm saying is, at least part of the struggle here IS within our own countries in terms of setting policy agenda; it's not just a matter of foreign affairs where they don't care that Farrow is starving. What's needed is to underscore how domestic decisions impact foreign policy. If one doesn't care that people in other countries are starving, disrupted, etc., that's a whole other thing.
The problem is, right now, there's a civil war going on in that province (Darfur). No one is going to take al-Bashir's side of course, but Powell went before the U.N. and they (the U.N. Security Council) didn't buy going in there and taking him out.
On the other hand, the Bush administration was so full of B.S....
Plus the plan was to impose sanctions (hell, Bashir expelled aid workers himself - what threat are sanctions?) and go in with peacekeepers. So, with Iraq in mind, I can see what they were thinking.

And right now Sudan doesn't produce or export much oil and gas because of sanctions in place.
They have a lot of uranium deposits, etc, et.al.. So U.S. policy (through international companies) has been to support separatist movements, I'm not going to argue from the neo-imperialism perspectivet, but I will say that's the practical upshot. But then, the rebel groups are fighting, in part, because of their political marginalization (yes, you have 500 years of history there, but not a whole lot we can do about that); short primer on the rebels.
So is it about self-governance and autonomy without interference by neo-colonialist forces or is about democracy and political empowerment or is it over ego and ethnic pride more than anything substantive?

I dunno.

But I'm not going to blame Mia Farrow for anything when the international community has allowed the people in Darfur to suffer because it can't generate the political will to mount an effective diplomatic strategy and can't deal with one loudmouth jagoff who brings up the past and short circuits humanitarian aid. And hell, maybe al-Bashir's got a point (doesn't mean he's not an evil bastard who should be taken in and tried), if anyone really cared beyond exploitation of the mineral wealth, maybe there would be more pressure to generate a credible peace process.
I don't know that I'd be just so thrilled to hear someone is not eating on my behalf if I'm in a refugee camp somewhere. But it'd be nice to hear someone gave a shit that I was starving.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:50 AM on May 8, 2009


(And yeah, China, but this stuff all goes back a ways, so it's a bit hypocritical to call them on it without addressing that. But others made those points, so...)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:51 AM on May 8, 2009


Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.

and we decided that it just wasn't worth seeing americans killed over - it's pretty obvious to me that the world doesn't want to be all that involved in what's happening there - and i might point out that darfur is hardly the only area in africa that has seen vicious fighting in the last 10 or 15 years - come to think of it, there's a hell of a lot going on in asia right now ...

it's easy to say that the international community has "allowed" this kind of suffering, but look what happens when we try to stop it - our troops become targets, and for what? - a safer world? - a better world? - looking over the record of american involvement recently, i'm just not seeing it - and we would literally have to reinstate the draft to pacify every part of the world where this stuff is going on

the political will isn't there to do that and we both know it - nor should it be

what we really need to do is to have regional powers that are willing to step up to the plate and ensure regional peace - the usa can't do it and neither can europe

if we want world peace, then we have to have countries all over the world who are willing to work for it and enforce if necessary - that's not happening and the usa simply cannot fill the vacuum

i'm afraid that a lot of sheer nastiness is going to happen in the next decade and nothing's going to stop it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:29 PM on May 8, 2009


Farrow ends fast after 12 days. Richard Branson will be taking over for her, but only for three days.
posted by vespabelle at 9:56 PM on May 8, 2009


Another Hollywood ending. "That was Fast", coming to a theatre near you in SP 2010.
posted by buzzman at 4:27 AM on May 9, 2009


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