Saturday, March 17, 2007

today : I do a lot of work for charidee

Well done to all the people who stage the Red Nose Day telethon. They are, apparently, sincere, giving people whose generosity cannot be called into question. I put what I could in a collection bucket to support the cause.

Just don't expect me to actually watch the show. The problem is that is Red Nose Day (and pretty much all) telethons are so predictable that there is no point wasting time actually watching them. The format never changes. And seeing newsreaders in sparkly costumes, sports presenters performing karaoke, pop stars doing videos with mugging comedians in the background, 'celebrity' guest stars appearing in sketch show sketches and all the other telethon staples is just not interesting or entertaining anymore. In the 20 years since Live Aid the power of watching celebs hugging aids babies in Africa ("this was the most life-changing thing I've ever done" - even more life changing than the Barclays Bank ad that paid off my mortgage), visiting well-digging projects and doling up porridge in homeless shelters to the backing of 'sensitive' acoustic music and sincere imploring voice-overs has diminished almost to zero. Not that these aren't supremely worthy causes, but I know what close up shots of undernourished African children with flies landing on their faces looks like. They've been on my TV screen for as long as I can remember. I know the world is a nasty, unfair place because it's on the news for 24 hours every day.

In total Comic Relief day raises roughly £1 for every person in the country. Defence spending per person per year from tax is £520. In fact, collectively in the UK we pay £70 per person per year on Overseas Aid anyway. This sum is pretty small compared to most countries but still three times more then the US gives (as a percentage of GDP - the UK gives about 0.3%, the US 0.1%, the Netherlands gives 0.8%). Anyone can look up these figures, and what they suggest is that, worthy as it is, a bi-yearly telethon is literally a drop in the ocean attached to a pretty unoriginal show. To make any real change needs a bigger and more attention grabbing gesture than Kate Moss saying three lines in a comedy sketch.

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