Thursday, December 13, 2012
Hands Across America's FarmAid for Sandy
I tuned into Ion's edited stream of the #121212Concert for Sandy. Plenty of the usual pledge acts were there, including Eric Clapton, R.E.M., Billy Joel, The Who, bands that have padded a good chunk of their careers off of aid concerts.
As the acts warbled and screeched their way through half-songs, I saw images from the wreckage Sandy left behind. I counted my blessings that everyone I know out there is still alive, but I felt horrible that so many of them are facing the holidays without a stable home, clean water or even the lights on full time.
But I also felt frustrated.
Every time there is a terrible tragedy, we see one of these concerts. A bunch of 60's, 70's and early 80's acts come out, drone for 20 minutes each in a failed attempt to remember the lyrics, then we see a grand total of 3 current acts real quick speeding through a playlist of their recent hits, and then R.E.M. and Coldplay come on to sing a song that will make you feel like crying and sleeping at the same time. We have a few comedy acts remind us either how to laugh or how to feel like slapping a writer at NBC... and that's it.
The stars pat themselves on the back, and the funds are split between their crew and the people who own the stage. Whatever pittance is left is sent to a few unnamed charities.
Years go by, and the people who were affected end up cleaning up and rebuilding all by themselves with no money and nobody really getting in there to help. I don't hear about the concert again until a decade later, as part of a retrospective on "America came together" shows. (VH1's I Love The __'s comes to mind.)
You know what I don't see? And this is what frustrates me every single time this happens.
For one, I don't see any of these celebrities stopping the tour to bring fresh water and food to the victims. Who knows how many precious resources just went into this dry, boring concert. Food, water, electricity that should be going to the victims, not a guitar set for a near 50 year old, who just blew one of his biggest hits. (Dear Jon Bon Jovi, The lyric is "Gina works a Diner all day" not "Tina". Try to enunciate.) You can't whine to me about how many Grammy's they were handed, or how many decades they've spent on tour, when half of them couldn't even be bothered to comb their hair before coming on stage. Way to show you care, guys.
And by the way, someone should tell Billy Joel that "Only the good die young" is the most HORRIBLE choice for a concert raising money for the Sandy victims. Shame on you!! That's as bad as starting a fundraiser for sick kids with Louis Armstrong's "I'll be glad when you dead you rascal you" you should be ashamed of yourself.
I also don't see the utility companies stepping in to fund either this concert or any of the recovery efforts. Considering how much the average family in New York and New Jersey overspends on their monthly bills, you would think one of these companies would step in, restore power, and fund a recovery effort. I'd go so far as to say they should suspend billing these people until they at least have a tidy house to come home to.
But more, I'm appalled by the banks. They just ran a Chase commercial before the concert feed ended, and that boils my blood. America wasted untold amounts of money, bailing these clowns out, and how do they treat us? They don't fund any recovery efforts, they don't reimburse the public, and hell, they even forclosed on some of the people whose houses washed away! Not to mention we allow their CEO's to bully "the little guys" in the press, letting them call us such names as "lazy" and "good for nothing" and we let them send out call center jobs to countries that don't even speak English. The least they could do is to help fund the cleanup and home re-building in the NY/NJ area.
Every time this happens, they pass the buck onto the little guys. The people watching at home, who may not be able to make a pledge. $10 seems like nothing if you're Paul McCartney, but to a single mom or dad working minimum wage, let me explain what $10 looks like. $10 looks like one sixth of a light phone bill, lunch for you and maybe two kids ~ maybe. $10 looks like bus and train fare to work tomorrow, so they don't cut the lights out. $10 looks like gas in a low MPG car. $10 could even be the entire budget for Christmas. Wake up people, the economy is shit, and $7 an hour doesn't afford anything.
But if you don't donate, you're a loser. The media pokes fun at those who can't text in their $10, accusing us of being Godless heathens. Even now, Fox News is writing up a piece to make every poor person sound like the devil.
Haven't we had enough?
I think that we should petition, and try to get the banks, Hollywood, the overpaid music industry and any other fat cat to donate. Put your billions where your mouth is before you start picking on the rest of us.
Here, I'll help you. Click here to donate to the Red Cross.