What is it about rock stars and charity events that brings out the cynic in me? Well lets be fair, not just rock stars but any so-called celebrity gathering to raise money for “a worthy cause” has a tendency to leave me less them impressed. Their voices drip with sincerity while their glistening white teeth gleam out from behind perfect faces under perfect hair in expressions of perfect sympathy.
It’s all just a little too perfect for my tastes. None of these people look like they have much more to worry about then whether their cuticles are perfect. How can they even begin to understand anything of the reality that the people they are talking about experience. To hear people who obsess about excess fat on their thighs describe the horrors of famine makes me choke on my food.
Maybe its the heat and humidity that’s making me so cranky but I look at the people they have lined up to perform at the Canadian Live 8 concert and something doesn’t feel right. With a couple of exceptions, the recently added Neil Young and Bruce Cockburn, the line up reads like a list of the vacuous and the vain. How the organizers can think that an anorexic Celine Dione performing in a concert to raise awareness about poverty and hunger is anything other then obscene I don’t know?
The irony of having someone who makes their living from working in one of the more horrendous examples of conspicuous consumption in the Western world, Las Vegas, headline a concert to raise awareness about poverty would be laughable if it wasn’t so nauseating. More money is probably spent on the gaming tables there in a year then the Gross National Product of the countries who will supposedly benefit by this concert.
The organizers and participants say they are trying to raise awareness of the issues surrounding debt relief for developing nations through these concerts. Have they ever been to big rock concert? How many people in the audience can remember the names of the groups they are seeing let alone absorb any political message given out during that time?
At the Canadian concert they are talking about having twenty to twenty one groups performing. The continuous bombardment upon the senses that is assured by that number of performers is not conducive to information retention. What is the chance of anyone walking away from that concert with more understanding of the complexities of international trade and third world debt?