Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Shattered


I tend to poke fun at just about everything.

Having spent a substantial portion of my life working in television news -- where gallows humor isn't just a contact sport, it's a survival mechanism -- I have the ability to turn even the most heartbreaking tragedy into a ghastly and seemingly insensitive joke. Honestly, there's very little that's off-limits as long as it's obvious that what's being said is, in fact, not meant to be taken seriously -- but along those lines, I can't think of anyone who's worked as a journalist for 18 years who doesn't utter the words "yeah, I'm going to hell" at least once a week.

That's probably why last night, when news of the devastating earthquake in Haiti was first breaking, my status bar on Facebook read: "It's a real shame that this massive quake is going to ruin what's typically a really prosperous and carefree existence for the people of Haiti."

This obviously wasn't meant to slam the Haitian people or make light of the incredible tragedy they were being forced to endure; it was more a reference to how bad things have always been in Haiti -- it's the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere -- and how its citizens had already survived so much for so long before the quake hit.

Then this morning I tweeted this: "In keeping with tradition, US Coast Guard rescue ships will head to Haiti then turn themselves around before they reach land and go home." Once again, having lived in Miami and seeing the shockingly unfair way Haitian refugees were treated, particularly compared to their Cuban counterparts, on a day to day basis (Haitians were regularly turned around at sea by the Coast Guard and sent back where they came from while Cubans were generally welcomed with open arms) this was more a shot at U.S. immigration policy than anything else.

Why do I bring all this up? Because what's happening in Haiti right now is extraordinarily serious. Yes, my gallows humor reflex is still fully armed and operational, but according to reports there could very well be hundreds of thousands dead throughout that country, and as I said, it's a place that was already an economic and political hell-on-Earth.

If you're on Twitter right now, you've probably seen a number being circulated that will allow you to make a ten dollar donation to the Red Cross -- added to your cellphone bill -- by texting "Haiti" to 90999, or you can go to the Red Cross homepage here. I felt like I should help get the word out here.

Please, give generously to the relief effort -- because soon Rick Sanchez will be dispatched to cover the quake aftermath from the ground and Wyclef Jean will perform some kind of benefit concert to help the victims. And that will only add to Haiti's suffering.

14 comments:

Alanna said...

It may seem callous but my first thought really was...who will comprise the line-up for the benefit concert?

Chez said...

Wyclef and Will.i.am at least, who I'm pretty sure are the same person anyway.

Heather said...

Thanks for the head's up on the 90999 thing, I hadn't heard of it. I just did it myself and passed the word on.

Ref said...

And once again, our military with its fast response capability and legions of experienced engineers and heavy equipment operators, is tied up in two fucking wars we chose to get into. How 'bout a "surge" to get some practical aid to these poor bastards?

Alanna said...

Sigh. Will.I.am just sold out. Black Eyed Peas were really groundbreaking back about 12 years ago with "Behind the Front". Probably one of my favorite progressive hip-hop albums. Once they added that tranny hooker Fergie they officially lost me. Nothing good since.

Cajun Man said...

I wonder how much the United States can buy Haiti for now that it's on clearance?

Randy said...

Maybe we can get Rick a map to squat on!

SavageAphid said...

It took almost no time for Pat Robertson to blame Haiti for causing their own earthquake.

It's a despicable old man saying nasty things. If anyone can tear themselves away from the trying task patting themselves on the back for being able to crack a joke about miserable things long enough to watch it, they should get a good booster of loathing for Robertson.

http://www.salon.com/news/2010/01/13/haiti_robertson/index.html

Chez said...

Mentioned in the post above this one.

Anonymous said...

University of Tennessee fans are sending their Lane Kiffin t-shirts to send to Haiti.

Ref said...

Lovin' me some Aphid. "Despicable is just the word I was looking for!

L. said...

It really couldn't have happened in a worse place. Haiti was in trouble before, how the hell are they ever going to recover from this?

I think Twitter may be the best hope for getting people to donate to charity. We collectively are so self-centered with such a short attention span that things that don't affect us tend to go in one ear and out another. Now with Twitter, you've got 'Help Haiti' as a trending topic and people tweeting links to charities left and right. If these charities allowed people to automatically retweet the amount they donated, I bet they'd get a ton of money. People would eat that shit up, because they love to pat themselves on the back for being thoughtful. I know it's cynical, but you can't tell me it isn't true. Plus, it'd actually be useful.

Tracer Bullet said...

Eh. I laughed (at your responses, not the tragedy itself). Which is why only uniquely perverse individuals go into journalism in the first place.

Jeremy said...

my God... that photo just breaks my fucking heart.