Monday, September 12, 2005

Hypocrisy and the Right

Republicans let's go back in time for a moment. Remember way back during the Clinton years when one of the cigarette companies began to collect donations and help feed the poor during Thanksgiving and Christmas?

The left cried "foul!" They said that this wasn't really sincere, all it was was image reshaping and PR. After all the cigarette companies had a massive public perception problem after it was learned that they not only knew their product was addictive but that they had increased it's addictiveness with additives.

You said, "Who cares if it's sincere, just as long as the needy are being fed!"

I actually agreed, setting aside my own feelings about cigarette companies I realized the more important issue of feeding people. Yes they may feel indebted to the company and try their product, but then that's our fault for failing to educate.

Never reject or dismiss a good deed or an act of charity.

Fast forward to hurricane Katrina. Sean Penn arrived in the stricken city of New Orleans, with a boat and began rescuing people, getting out in the muck and foul water himself.

For that he and other celebrities have been savaged for " using Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to bash President Bush or "seek publicity for themselves." Well, even if that was the case, which I don't believe it was, the more important issue is that he was rescuing people and probably saving their lives. And they all were there to help.

It may not have been sincere or for the "right" reasons but, who cares ?!!! More important needs and issues were being served.

Stop the hypocrisy! Measure Sean and other celebrities like him, with the same yard stick you measured the charitable work of the cigarette company.

Then sit down and shut up!

By the way, neither Sean nor the other celebrities needed to do anything to make the president look bad. "W" was doing a fantastic job of that all on his own. (that's what happens when you surround yourself with "yes men"),1,17336,00.html?tnews


mauser*girl said...

I was all for Sean Penn going out and rescuing people. That is, until he said he was there to see if his pals who lived at so-and-so in New Orleans were okay because he hadn't heard from them, and until I read that he brought along his camera crew and personal photographer. If he were there to help, wouldn't it make more sense to spend some of the vast amounts of money he has on getting additional boats and boat crews there, rather than toting along a personal photographer and camera crew? A lot more good would've come from that.

I do, however, have a lot of respect for Macy Grey who was helping out with the refugees at the stadium in Texas. She did it because she could. Without a personal photographer to give her press coverage.

Clytemnestra said...

Camera crew? Can you post the link to that story? I haven't seen that story. I know he was filmed by the news media already there, but a camera crew of his own? If that were true, then it begs the question, why would he then also need a personal photographer?

And if the personal photographer were true how do we know the motivation for the personal photographer? If indeed he was there (which others are denying) how do one know it wasn't to document what was going on with the disaster?

Let's not forgot that CNN had to file suit to keep the access to the disaster open. The Bush administration wanted to start to control it. Sean’s been at odds with this administration, maybe he just wanted to make sure he had enough images and documentation incase of a cover up. But we really don't know what the motivation was. For Sean's benefit or to document?

So what if he started out to rescue a friend? All that means is that he had a personal tie to the area. The point is, he didn't stop there. There are plenty of celebrities with friends in NOLA that didn't go in and get their hands dirty, risk their own health and rescue others who were in trouble. If we fault Sean for starting out this way, do we fault celebrities who didn’t?

Macy Grey should be commended, but she is part of Oprah's Angel network and for the most part they went to places where cameras were already guaranteed to be. Matthew McConaughey who did go out with a film crew.

Cameras are part and parcel of movie and television celebrity. If we fault Sean for doing too little and spending too little (do we know what he's donated to hurricane relief?) and not doing what we think is enough, then we must fault all the other celebrities who've only given their money and their time, for not getting their hands dirty at all.