Saturday, January 23, 2010

Overemotional Rescue


Alright, sure I'm probably gonna catch hell, but I can't be the only one who feels this way: How painful was that "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon last night?

Jesus -- the pretentious melodrama, the obvious celebrity self-satisfaction, the ironically bombastic solemnity; the whole thing played out like a South Park parody. Kid Rock? He gives a crap about Haiti? I'm not sure he could find the place on a map. Madonna? Really? Can't she just adopt all those kids Anderson Cooper is apparently single-handedly saving? Justin Timberlake doing Hallelujah? And of course, Wyclef Jean's insufferable preening. The only thing missing was Kanye interrupting everything so he could break down crying.

By the time the thing was over I wanted to know if there was a number I could text to get my donation back.

Look, I'm obviously not going to slam the cause and the end certainly justifies the means -- if it raised money for the people of Haiti, then it was inarguably a good thing -- but why did the whole show feel like it was mostly an excuse for a lot of the celebrities taking part in it to prove they had souls?

Go ahead. You can start bitching me out now.

57 comments:

oscar said...

Telethons remind me of an old Faith No More song called "We Care A Lot"

Fred said...

Not to diminish what can still be considered overall a good thing but how come these assbags wont get together and start a movement to stand up to all the crap going on in D.C.? Maybe its not fashionable.

Benoît from Ottawa said...

Not gonna take you down. Very few mercan artists know how to not be self-conscious, anymore. The few who do aren't very popular, there's the price.

What I want to know is: how much money was raised in this telethon? Anyone happen to know?

Benoît from Ottawa said...

O.k., one bitch, but unrelated: WHAT, NO SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON???

Boohooohoohoo! ;)

Lady Entropy said...

My only question is why you're even surprised by all this? I mean, sanctimonious celebrities turning cruel human tragedy into an opportunity for self-aggrandizement, -gratification, and let's face it, profit? What else is new? (see: Band-Aid, We Are the World, Live Aid, etc.)

Chez, honey, this is no way to start a perfectly good Saturday morning. Go get some coffee and a nice big bowl of Cocoa Puffs.

Anonymous said...

Ditto. A thousand times, ditto.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I don't understand the point of either making or watching such a thing. Do people actually sit at home and say, "Preddy good show. Maybes we should send sumptin"? A concert or CD brings in revenue. This just seems like a way for folks to feel better about themselves on both sides of the screen.

And to the celebs participating get to count their time as a tax deductible donation?

Che Grovera said...

There was a telethon?! I'm really not pretending to be out of the country, and this is what's going on in my absence? A Republican Senator gets elected in Massachusetts and Haiti gets a freakin' telethon? That actually sounds about right. I had to step over a quadraplegic beggar on my way to the hotel in Bangkok, in front of the Gucci store. No shit.

C Riedel-de Haen said...

No bitching from me. I think you're absolutely correct.

Michael J. West said...

What I'm bitching you out for is for watching the damn thing at all. I mean I get the whole media-critic angle, but really...even with it on all the networks you still have so much cable to choose from...

Rick Berger said...

Na. Major kudos in order for cutting through that self-congratulatory bullshit. By the way, I think you're giving Kid Rock too much credit. He fucking killed "Werewolves of London," man, he killed it. That can never be forgiven.

PhilDS said...

It's funny that you mentioned Hallelujah in the telethon.

Here it's sung in the Belgian telethon for Haiti.
I think it's a good rendition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU3RUH3l5Xw

toastie said...

I think the telethon was a smashing success in the flyover states:

@katiehenry Sadly, I didn't get to talk to Jennifer Aniston but I still made a donation! #hopeforhaiti

@Cafe_mommy How cute does Taylor Swift look! My kids calling now...donating for kids and wanting to talk to Taylor cutie #HopeForHaiti DONATE NOW!!

@dblomqu1 I want to talk to Reese Witherspoon!! #HopeForHaiti

hannah said...

I can't figure out why it took this long - maybe they all just woke up and said, "Hey, ten days ago there was an earthquake, we better do something!!" but what can you expect from anything Larry King is pimping...

littlebitoffiesty said...

I saw only a little bit of it - Kid Rock, Cheryl Crow and Keith Urban then Justin singing Hallelujah - and then switched over to Aliens. I fully support the cause, but I couldn’t handle the sappiness (is that a word?) of the whole fiasco. I know the situation over there must be totally devastating, but if you are going to have a show to raise funds, make it something fun to watch so that everyone will feel glad about giving instead of feeling sad and/or guilted in to it.

Tabitha said...

...and this is why you're my favorite misanthrope.

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

And WHY did the darned thing have to be on EVERY channel? Sheesh.

hilz said...

You're brave for watching it. I, personally couldn't do it. Spent my money getting my face rocked off at the Nico Vega Haiti Benefit instead.



Sidebar: Chez, if you haven't heard of them you should check them out. I think you'd dig.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah? Celin Dion was on the Canadian version of the telethon. Haven't Haitians suffered enough already?

Greg Smith said...

Plus it was on every freaking channel including PBS so you couldn't get away from it if you wanted.

Hellbilly said...

I'm not sure I'd be that harsh, but none of the celebrity performances produced one-half of the emotional response for me as Conan's farewell show did an hour later.

On second thought, the U2-Rihanna-Jay-Z number was positively wince-inducing.

Deacon Blue said...

I didn't see it, so I'm not in a position to back you up nor criticize your critique.

But in general, I find these things annoying and ridiculous. It's a disaster. You don't have to play dirges, but damn let's have a show with things understated and NOT self-promoting.

Perform. Use your talent to entertain and your celebrity to encourage people to give. And let the event be something dignified that doesn't overshadow a shitload of grief, mourning and despair that an entire island nation is still sifting through.

Anonymous said...

no bitching from me. i didn't watch one minute for all the reasons you have just cited. i did contribute directly to the cause by giving money to the red cross. if all those celebrities really cared, they would be sending a good portion of their year's earnings to Haiti.

Anonymous said...

No bitching here because you took the words right out of my mouth and said them so much better than I could have.

My son and I counted the channels that this was being played on last night, from my cable company, and the grand total was "30".

Ethnic Redneck said...

I heard an excellent point yesterday - instead of performing one song for a charity concert, if each of these celebrities would just cut a check for $10,000, the amount of money raised would end up being a lot higher. This tells me exactly how charitable they are being.

Alanna said...

"heal the world...make it a better plaaaace"

Strategic PR - but I think, deep down, their hearts are in the right place.

Benoît from Ottawa said...

Dear Anon @ 12:58:

Nonono, Haitians don't have any operational t.v's (or stations), I'll wager.

So you see, those in the audience joined them in suffering.

Anonymous said...

They ought to be down there lifting the rubble or stitching up the bloody kids with Anderson and Sanjay. Yes, this is about conceited stars getting the attention they think they deserve like s*itbag Madonna, a spoiled, anorexic whore who sounds awful. Washed-up Bono looked like a douche next to Rihanna, who was utterly pathetic without trousers. Neil Young looks like death warmed over and Bruce ends up @ every one of these things to show off his ridiculous plastic surgery, peck implants and overpriced workingman's outfits. Puh-leeze Bruce, you totally forgot your roots. Yes, give me my money back is what they should have called that sorry yuck/cheezefest! And what up w/ little arrogant Alicia Keys? Suddenly you think you're the hottest diva today? Shut up, Alicia and stop over producing/over-screaming your rotten music!

Winston Smith said...

So bloody awful. Can I get a rehearsal and mic check please..."Who wants to go back out...?" "I need 2..."

And that bit w/Spielberg..? Yeah, I liked E.T. and I'm down w/Indy but c'mon! I've defecated w/more entertainment than that!

Haven't seen H'wood pat themselves on the back like that since I saw Oceans 11.

Anonymous said...

But Bono was there! Bono is Christ. Not Christ-like; he IS Jesuse incarnate.
He already saved Africa. Saving Haiti will only take him an hour or two.

Capt Aclow said...

To the people whining that the celebs should be giving money instead of participation in the telethon, Clooney and DiCaprio are both on record for having donated $1,000,000 apiece, so fuck off.

I don't know how much money was directly raised from the telethon, but it was automatically a net-positive outcome.

A long time ago, Rush Limbaugh tried to donate money to a Children With AIDS foundation, and they refused his money because he wasn't supportive of the fight against AIDS for adults.

-Talk about missing the forest for the trees.

So yeah, some douchey, self-absorbed celebrities participated in the telethon mostly for their own egos and to get face-time on TV, no surprise there.

But again, the net outcome was positive. I've donated money for Haiti relief. I'm guessing the majority of the people posting these comments did NOT donate any money. (I said the majority, not all) So if the celebs who participated in the telethon suck... what does that make YOU?

Brandy said...

Just another reason I'm so happy I don't have a television.

I'm glad you posted this. I've been shaking my head this whole time. Why does it take a disaster for people to give a s@#%. We have people suffering in our own backyards and most choose to look the other way.

The "Hope for Hati Now" telethon is just another gigantic waste of money. If you have things you want to donate; money, time, resources just do it. Don't wait for Bono to tell you to.

CNNfan said...

I'll also never forget my reaction, having watched the "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon with all my friends, to the comments about the telethon made by Chez Pazienza on the Deus Ex Malcontent blog.

"Piss off, hipster."

Jeremy said...

omg... They let Kid Rock do a Warren Zevon song? Tell me you're joking!

So glad I didn't bother to tune in to this (instead I bought video games that contributed their profits to Haiti. Thanks Pop Cap! Peggle rocks!)

Chez said...

Hey, at least you're paying attention, Tom.

Anonymous said...

Capt Aclow:
I love it when someone in the right manages to be such a flaming asshole they piss away their moral authority. Stop being such a star-fucker. Some did give a lot and deserve credit for having done so. That being said, nothing else in the post or comments was off-target. This is about ego. Sorry to burst your little celebrity worshipping bubble.
Talk about missing the forest for the trees.
As for you case study involving the drug addicted sex-tourist, the charity was absolutely correct in refusing his money. I would explain to you, but why waste my time with a celebrity/money worshippig dimwit?

Adam said...

Yes it was a bunch of preening celebrities competing for the title of best 'humanitarian'. Yes the whole thing had a slightly sickening feel to it. Yes Kid Rock is a moron and JT singing Hallelujah is a travesty.

But ultimately, the telethon was a great thing as it raised a shit load of money for people who desperately need it. As you said Chez the end justifies the extremely irritating and embarrassing means.

What I wonder is why is anyone surprised that celebrities will use any conceivable excuse to boost their image? We have created a culture where these people depend on how the public views them for both their livelihood and self worth. So of course they are going to shamelessly self promote at any opportunity. Look at Kanye, this guy craves attention so much he's willing to do the most idiotic things for publicity. He's acting like a neglected infant aged 32, how sad is that?

em said...

Not gonna bitch you out--didn't see it, so I will take you word for the awfulness of it--but yeah, I see what you're saying. I don't have much of an opinion on whether or not these types of things are "good" or "bad", since mostly I just find them irritating, but I do kinda like the route that Angelina Jolie (regardless of your opinion of her, she at least doesn't kidnap her fucking kids) takes--she writes a check for a million bucks and stays the fuck away from the telethons.

Anonymous said...

Nobody forced any of you to watch the broadcast. Why not skip it if all it's going to do is irritate you?

For the record, Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" was what they call a "mash-up" and the writers of both "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama" gave permission, are credited on the record and receive royalties.

As for whether Kid Rock actually has a heart or not, he spent two weeks right before Christmas doing a USO gig, touring military bases in Iran, Afghanistan, and Europe. USO supplied the transport, he covered the payroll for his band and crew out of his own pocket. You'll have to do some searching to find that info as he didn't publicize it. You don't see many celebrities doing that... ask any soldiers you know and they'll tell you, themselves.

Che Grovera said...

Well, this seems as good a post as any on which to drop a rather narcissistic and only nominally related comment...

It took me almost fifty years, but I saw my first leper up close and personal today begging on the streets of Bangkok. Having already slowed simply to ascertain exactly what it was that I was seeing, I couldn't help but toss my available change in his cup. In spite of it seeming to be reflexive here, I was still struck that he responded (from his position slumped against a wall on the sidewalk) with the traditional palms-together Thai bow.

Add leprosy to the long list of things I'm exceedingly grateful to have not had to endure (yet) in this life.

P.S. I also wish I didn't feel obligated to announce that I (lazily) contributed to the Red Cross, because in actuality it contributes nothing to any moral authority associated with commenting on the asshattery (ass-haberdashery, anyone?) of telethons in general. Oh well. It might be good for keeping a troll or two at bay, and maybe that's reason enough.

Capt Aclow said...

Anonymous said: Nothing useful.

Kind of funny having someone posting anonymously talk about moral "authority".

I'm going to assume you're the same "Anonymous" who earlier said the celebs should have gone to Haiti to stitch up kids instead, as if that's the only actual way to help.

Good call on refusing some people's money too, you make lots and lots and lots of sense. Being Anonymous is awesome...

Vermillion said...

Yeah, not gonna yell at you (like Deacon, I didn't watch), but I gotta say, I don't see the venom in this one. Just don't.

1) Wyclef should get some leeway, seeing as how he is Haitian, not to mention the bogus fraud charges he had to put up with. Plus, better him that Will. I. Am.

2) Like some have said, the celebs can preen all they want. That is what they do. If it means an extra buck or two are getting to those who need it, then it is a win. Plain and simple.

3) I do find it interesting that the people here who profess hating this sort of thing watching at least some of the telethon, but those like me who didn't really put much thought into it did not. Huh.

4) I had a another point, but I forgot it.

5) Um....

6) So, how are you today?

Shannon from Saskatoon said...

Here in Canada (Saskatchewan) we have a yearly 2-day telethon called Telemiracle. It started in 1978, I think. Most of us in the province had no cable and two channels. It was my first exposure to the kind of people who LIKE telethons and who get downright riled at any criticism. But man, let me just say the event and the "ring those phones" and the entertainment was not my cup of tea.

However, the event raises money and really does great work for people with disabilities. Not everyone shares my sensibilities or that particular event wouldn't raise a dollar. It seems that as long as nobody gets hurt, I can continue to ignore the entire event.

Chez said...

Wait a minute, Anon 12:14. You're saying Kid Rock did a big "Support the Troops" type tour? Man, I never would've expected that from him. Very daring considering who his primary demographic is.

Julie The Vintage Goddess said...

I did not watch the show (telethon?) because I just find them "cheesy" for lack of a better word.
They annoy me.
But I guess I'm glad that celebtards are willing to take a break from their oh, so, important lives to help out.

Kudos to Kid Rock and all of the folks who are willing to visit the troops via the USO...that is not cheesy at all and done in an almost anonymous non-preening way.
Well most of the time.

Stephen said...

I'm with you...I turned it off almost immediately. Just awful.

angrymonkey said...

you are absolutely right. Also, I'm wondering if any of those preening narcissists would give up a slice of their privilege to ensure Haiti actually became a working, functioning society.

kanye said...

I can understand Rihanna getting tired of sporting "the look" that she lifted wholesale from Fefe Dobson.

Still, if she's going to revamp, you'd think she could find better inspiration than Alannah Currie of Thompson Twins, circa 1984.

james said...

Justin Timberlake's phoniness made me sick. He and whoever his dbag boyfriend singing the song with him couldn't shave their playoff beards or take off their hats because they were much more concerned with how they looked than anything else. Neil Young took his frigging hat off.

Chez said...

Actually, the guy singing with Timberlake was Charlie Sexton -- who was this Elvis-like teen idol singer from the 80s but who's gone on to release some really good material (very under the radar) since. I like Sexton a lot, and I think Justin's an incredibly talented guy all the way around -- but yeah, something about that performance of Hallelujah made me want to throw my remote through the TV. Maybe they felt like Sexton would add some kind of Buckley-like cred to the whole thing, since that's the version of the song they were doing.

Pea said...

Huh. I skipped both the Canadian and US versions in favour of a documentary on Leonard Cohen. I probably saw the best versions of Hallelujah of anyone that night... both the original Cohen version (swoon) and a stunning version by Rufus and Martha Wainwright. I'll lazily do an online donation to Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.

Jeremy S. said...

watched college hockey myself...good game between michigan and ferris state...better use of my time...

Anonymous said...

So does this mean that NOLA is completed and everyone has moved back?

Anonymous said...

“Kind of funny having someone posting anonymously talk about moral "authority".”
So commenting as Capt Aclow is commenting openly; commenting anonymously is cowardly. You do crack me up, I’ll give you that. The only reason I’m commenting as anonymous instead of using an alias (which you might wanna look up in a dictionary – it doesn’t mean “name openly identifying the user”) is because I can’t be bothered to sign in at every blog at which I might occasionally post. I’m intellectually capable of understanding the anonymous nature of these intertubes – which is obviously more than anyone can say for you.
As for the rejection of the money let me see if I can’t reduce this to a level so obvious even you will have a chance. Let’s say Vivid Videos wants to donate money to “Take Back the Night”. Should they take it? An organization devoted to combating crimes against women. An organization devoted to fighting pornography, which they say as directly linked to sexual violence against women. Now don’t trouble you empty little head with the bigger sociological issues: for the sake of argument assume they are in the right and the pornography industry truly does harm women. Should they take the money?
You will of course say yes because you are incapable of thinking at a level higher than that of a sea slug and automatically consider money to be the ultimate moral good. Most people – let’s say 99.9999% would defend their decision to turn the money down because money ISN’T the ultimate moral good.

Chez said...

This is one of those things I probably should've made clear a long time ago: Yeah, Anon, in the great scheme of things there's no difference between commenting anonymously and using an alias. Except that at least if you use an alias -- and a consistent one -- then it means you're taking a form of ownership of your comments. Of course we don't know who you really are, but somehow that one extra step -- which is really no effort on your part at all -- gives you slightly more credibility if only because your comment isn't immediately relegated to the slush pile, along with all the other one-off opinions of those people who've refused to identify themselves in any capacity throughout the years. You know?

Maryscott OConnor said...

Hmm. I thought that Timberlake/Sexton version was really, really good. Turned off the TV after that, though -- donated what I could and then went on doing my thing. I feel like shit about Haiti, but beyond donating what I can, money-wise, there's nothing else I can do.

As for the rest of the critique... yeah, and but so?

Anonymous said...

Chez: It's your blog. If that's the way you feel, ban anonymous comments.