Thousands of human beings have died and more have had their lives irrevocably altered by horrific events in Haiti. That this is a tragedy of global proportions is undeniable. No caring human being can deny the suffering or stare unflinching at the devastation. The survivors of Haiti have a decade of recovery and rebuilding ahead of them and most of them are so impoverished that recovery may be beyond their reach without some kind of help. An article on Yahoo pointed out that many celebrities are calling on the administration and the American people to help out.
Fortunately there are international humanitarian organizations in place to offer that aid. The American Red Cross has already mobilized a relief effort and has calculated that more than 1 million people will be affected by the quake. Various Christian missions will render aid as well as the inevitable federal aid that will be offered by the administration and other countries. These efforts always are provided in times of catastrophe where human suffering affects so many and can be counted upon when needed. And you know what? They don’t need the likes of Brad Pitt, Opera Winfrey or Paris Hilton to tell them to do it.
Celebrities have developed a habit of championing causes in recent years to help their image in the media. This is not a bad thing since they do accomplish many good things in many areas of human endeavor. Image consultants started making the celebs do this to offset the media coverage of their indulgences in partying and living to excess with extravagant spending that distanced them from their public. Now the first thing many new, young celebs do is jump on a social issue as a cause to make them seem more socially conscious and less self-centered.
But in reality, it is entirely self-centered. They don’t do it for the altruistic feeling of giving, but for the self-aggrandizement of publicity. They stand on the soap box and call attention to the issue by saying “look at me! I’m important and I think you need to help with this effort.” Now, these celebrities are urging everyone to help with Haiti, as if no one would have thought to do it without their insistence.
These people are artists. They are entertainers. They are performers. They are not officials. They are not politicians. They are not social workers. They have a job they do that gives them the ability to earn more money than the average person could ever spend. But does that qualify them to tell governments and agencies how to do their jobs? How does the act of recording a song, starring in a TV show or movie or getting drunk and partying without panties qualify anyone to issue directives to society as a whole?
Some celebrities even take it upon themselves to approach foreign heads of state as if they had diplomatic status and they actually make demands of these leaders. Being a celebrity is not a title that equates to that of senior statesmen. These celebrities should leave the running of governments and agencies to those who hold those jobs and concentrate on creating their art.
If they want to help in Haiti or support any other social issue by writing a check or giving out meals, then more power to them. They should, however, do so without getting on a soapbox in a spotlight saying “look at what I’m doing. I’m a compassionate millionaire. You should do this too.”