Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Something Touched Me Deep Inside, The Day Poverty Died

Casey Dorrell

"Girl I find you so amazing
With everyday I learn more about you
The way you work day out and day in
And still find time for us too, yeah"

*click* *click*

Cameron Diaz is snapping her fingers as she absentmindedly listens to one of her boyfriend's songs. Elsewhere, on another continent, children are dying. Every innocent contact of her fingers marks another death. It's not her fault, she doesn't know. She hasn't seen the live8 commercials.

Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake in a Kidnapping
Another Hapless Victim Pictured Here Just Hours Before the Finger Snapping

By now, pretty much everyone knows that every 3 seconds, someone in Africa in dying due to poverty. Most people are also probably aware that Africa is a continent, something which most of those covering live8 were pretty insistent on telling us. You don't often hear the words "North American continent" thrown around. African continent, on the other hand . . . Regardless, these are both good things to know. They are important. The former, really important - your house is on fire and your favorite child is inside important. The latter, important in the same way that eating fiber is important - it's good for you, but you'll survive without it. Good job informing us, live8. A little excessive as far as teaching methods go, but hey, whatever works. Next year, I say we teach everyone how to use turn signals.

"With millions of lives at stake take part in what will be a historic event! The biggest acts come together to make poverty history for the continent of Africa!"

Thus spake the advertisement on CTV (a "Canadian" television station). I can't rememember if the visuals accompanying this thrilling call to arms(strike) viewers(strike) advertising revenue were starving children or various celebrity muscians. Maybe it was both. Regardless, it was cheap, silly, and probably offensive. I think what bothers me the most about the whole live8 spectacle is how it was approached, rather than the idea itself. There was an in-your-face sort of immediacy to the whole thing. Yes, people starve every time a celebrity snaps their fingers. This is happening right now. It therefore deserves immediate action. Not like this though.

The key problem with live8 is a general misunderstanding of politics and, apparently, human behaviour. The Geldolf attitude seems to be that since something bad is happening, it should stop, and now. The problem is that it won't and since all the emphasis has been put on right now, on the current G8 summit, it means when nothing much happens, there's no real hope that live8 will have any sort of continued or later impact (I'd love to be proven wrong). Yes, politicians are concerned about voters, but a lot of voters have been protesting G8, FTAA, IMF, and all those other nasty acronyms for a long time now. Just as many as went to the concerts. The difference being that the former went solely to protest, and the latter went to enjoy a free concert, basking in mob-mentality optimism before returning home to jaded cynicism.

Gee Casey, you're sure full of vague criticism, what would you do differently? Good question, me.

1. The acts in most countries were pretty good. Canada, not so much. I'm not complaining about the lack of African groups. I do think there is a point here, to a degree. To exclude African groups makes the whole thing seem like an excercise in neo-colonial paternalism. Still, I think the focus should'nt have been merely on this G8 summit, but western attitude toward third world countries in general. People are starving, but they have been for a long time and they will continue to starve. Quick solutions might be possible (ignoring corrupt governments, the involvement of certain pro-aids religions, internal strife, and regional conflict), but they aren't going to happen. The best way to change attitudes isn't to solely go after current politicians but to target the youth (60s idealism worked out really well, right?). Youth don't like Bryan Adams, they won't get excited over Deep Purple either. Bands like K-Os, Metric, or Arcade Fire were notably absent from live8. Most 40 year olds aren't going to change their political ideology based on one free concert. Some 20 year olds will. So, more bands, and younger bands would make sense. Maybe it'll convince the bands themselves too. A whole sleu of Next-gen Bonos would be great . . . right?

Devastatin' Dave
Dave, Just One of Many Devasted Artists That Were Not Invited to Perform at Live8

2. The way to have more bands is to scrap the whole live8 big worldwide concert idea altogether. Yes, it looks cool, but it'd be more effective to simply get as many bands as possible, big ones, small indie bands, whatever, to play a live8 show. Regardless of where the band is touring, have their next show be a live8 show. This could go on for at least a week or two and would generate just as much media attention if not more, as the amount of bands that could play would, obviously, vastly increase.

3. Charge for the concerts. Even if the bands charged 1/10 of their normal cost, this could bring in a ton of money. Many venues would be willing to do free shows provided they still got to sell liquor and had the possibility of a bit of free publicity. I think mine and other's pessimism about the whole sense of immediacy that has informed live8 probably hasn't been helped by the fact that almost all the bands that played have seen boosts to their sales since live8. Ending poverty can't be done over night (in fact, "ending" poverty is a ridiculous notion in any timeframe) but CD sales can go up that quickly:

* 1. Pink Floyd 'Echoes - Best Of' - 1343%
* 2. The Who 'Then & Now' - 863%
* 3. Annie Lennox 'Eurythmics Greatest Hits' - 500%
* 4. Dido 'Life for Rent' - 412%
* 5. Razorlight 'Up all Night' - 335%
* 6. Robbie Williams 'Greatest Hits' - 320%
* 7. Joss Stone 'Mind, Body & Soul' - 309%
* 8. Sting 'Greatest Hits' - 300%
* 9. Travis 'Singles' - 268%
* 10. Madonna 'Immaculate Collection' - 200%
* 11. Scissor Sisters 'Scissor Sisters' - 174%
* 12. Mariah Carey 'Greatest Hits' - 170%
* 13. Snoop Dogg 'Rhythm & Gangsta' - 166%
* 14. The Killers 'Hot Fuss' - 131%
* 15. U2 'Best Of: 1990 - 2000' - 116%
* 16. Elton John 'Greatest Hits 1970 – 2002' - 111%
* 17. Keane 'Hopes & Fears' - 101%
* 18. The Beatles 'Number 1s' - 71%
* 19. Snow Patrol 'Final Straw' - 69%
* 20. REM 'Reveal' - 50%
* 21. Stereophonics 'Language, Sex, Violence, Other' - 36%
* 22. Coldplay 'X&Y' - 3%
(where % indicates percent of increase over previous day)

Pink Floyd guitarist, Dave Gilmour, at least has said that he will be donating the extra money. "I will not profit from the concert," the guitarist said. "This is money that should be used to save lives."

Africa is a Continent
What We Learned About Africa This Week

I was saying how lame the whole thing was to mfd when he pointed out that at least it was getting news coverage. I've since refined my argument a bit, but the point remains a good one. How many articles have been written, Blog posts have been created, etc, concerning African poverty that never would have otherwise. Take this post as example. Don't you feel like you know a lot more about Africa and the problems there after reading my post? What, you don't?

Sign the Live8 Petition

(All These Links Will Be Dead Very Soon)
Pink Floyd - Breathe (Live 8, London)
Pink Floyd - Money (Live 8, London)
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (Live 8, London)
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here Video (Live 8, London)
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb [Alternate Location] (Live 8, London)
Killers - All These Things I've Done (Live 8, London)
Killers - All The Pretty Faces (Live 8, London)
Paul McCartney - Get back (Live 8, London)
Paul McCartney - Drive my car (Live 8, London)
Paul McCartney - Helter skelter (Live 8, London)
Paul McCartney - The long and winding road - hey jude (Live 8, London)
Dido & Youssou n Dour - 7 seconds (Live 8, London)
Ms Dynamite - Redemption song (Live 8, London)
Brian Wilson - Good vibrations (Live 8, Berlin)
Robbie Williams - We Will Rock You (Live 8, London)
Robbie Williams - Let Me Entertain You (Live 8, London)
Robbie Williams - Feel (Live 8, London)
Robbie Williams - Angels (Live 8, London)
Snoop Dogg - Ups and Downs (Live 8, London)
Snoop Dogg - Drop it (Live 8, London)
Snoop Dogg - Its a G (Live 8, London)
Snoop Dogg - Whats my name? (Live 8, London)
U2 & Paul McCartney - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Live 8, London)
U2 - Beautiful day (Live 8, London)
U2 - Vertigo (Live 8, London)
U2 - One [alternate] [alternate] (live 8, London)
Coldplay - In my place (Live 8, London)
Coldplay & Richard Ashcroft - Bittersweet symphony (Live 8, London)
Coldplay - Fix you (Live 8, London)
Cure - Open (Live 8, Paris)
Cure - 100 Years (Live 8, Paris)
Cure - End (Live 8, Paris)
Cure - Just Like Heaven (Live 8, Paris)
Cure - Boys Don't Cry (Live 8, Paris)
R.E.M. - Imitation of Life (Live 8, London)
R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts (Live 8, London)
R.E.M. - Man on the Moon (Live 8, London)
Madonna - Like a Prayer (Live 8, London)
Madonna - Ray of Light (Live 8, London)
Madonna - Music (Live 8, London)
Sting - Message in a Bottle (Live 8, London)
Sting - Driven to Tears (Live 8, London)
Sting - Every breath you take (Live 8, London)
Annie Lennox - Why (Live 8, London)
Annie Lennox - Little bird (Live 8, London)
Annie Lennox - Sweet dreams (Live 8)
Elton John - Saturday night's alright for fighting (Live 8, London)
Elton John - The bitch is back (Live 8, London)
Elton John & Pete Doherty - Children of the revolution (Live 8, London)
Kaiser Chiefs - I predict a riot (Live 8, Philadelphia)
Kaiser Chiefs - Everyday I love you less & less (Live 8, Philadelphia)
The Who - Who are you (Live 8, London)
The Who - Wont get fooled again (Live 8, London)
Razorlight - Somewhere else (Live 8, London)
Razorlight - Golden touch (Live 8, London)
Razorlight - Vice (Live 8, London)
Stereophonics - Bartender and the thief (Live 8, London)
Stereophonics - Dakota (Live 8, London)
Stereophonics - Superman (Live 8, London)
Stereophonics - Local boy in the photograph (Live 8, London)
Maroon 5 - Rocking the Free World Low Quality Video (Live 8, Philadelphia)
[via 700level]
Dido - Full Live 8 Set (Rar Compressed)
Elton John - Full Live 8 Set (Rar Compressed)
Travis - Full Live 8 Set (Rar Compressed)
U2 - Full Live 8 Set
Coldplay - Full Live 8 Set
Pink Floyd - Full Live 8 Set, Webcast Video (Live 8)
Pink Floyd - Full Live 8 Set (Alpione Podcast)
BBC - Live 8 Report

Comments on "Something Touched Me Deep Inside, The Day Poverty Died"


Anonymous mOe said ... (6/7/05 10:31 pm) : 

so.. what you're saying is that africa is a.. continent?

all jests aside, very well written.

see you at shoreline.


Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (7/7/05 12:58 am) : 

whoo - I'd forgotten that you'd likely be going. Tosh will be there too. (And Brennan)


Anonymous mOe said ... (14/7/05 10:51 am) : 

wow, with all the visits you said you got... it's kinda hard to believe that out of all of them, i'm the only one who commented.


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