Of course, telethons are for a good cause. For example, The Hope for Haiti Now telethon Friday night was pleasant and tugged at the heartstrings, and so on. And I'm a huge fan of George Clooney's acting and human rights advocacy, for the most part. So I'm not knocking him. He gave $1 million of his own loot to Haiti. Model Gisele Bundchen gave $1.5 million, Leonardo DiCaprio gave a million, and so did AngelinaBradleyJoliePitt and Sandra Bullock. Kudos to them for doing the right thing. I'll bet there are some rich folk who wouldn't even give a coke or a smile.
But Hope for Haiti Now, like most others for mass charitable causes, involved rich celebrities - for the most part - soliciting donations.
In defense of the celebrities, you could argue that they give waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than everyone else, and that when disaster strikes, often they're on the scene helping as quickly as government agencies and large NGOs.
But my response to that is so what. You have more, you should give more. You know, to whom much is given, much is required, etc. What stands out to me is a selfish celebrity, or a celebrity who gives an inordinate amount of his time or wealth to good causes. Otherwise, the rest are just doing what they should be doing.
There are lots of good-hearted, giving Average Janes and Joes out there who would no doubt rush off to disasters to help in person too...if they didn't have mortgages to struggle over and kids' braces to pay for, and car notes to make, on $20 an hour.
I think Average Joe and Jane give enough. In addition to being the collective backbone of the economy (the Middle Class!), they support Hollywood by going to see increasingly crappy movies for way too much money and buying increasingly crappy music.
So in my perfect dreams, this is how a celebrity-driven telethon should be introduced by its celebrity host: "Good evening ladies and gents; we know that many of you are struggling and that many of you give as a matter of routine to religious organizations and community groups. Tonight we just want to say 'Thank you,' for giving what you can. And tonight, those of us who have been blessed with wealth from entertainmenting you and yours, will take care of the giving part, 'cause we know that when the sun comes up tomorrow we'll still be rich. So tonight, you let us take care of the giving. Grab a beer, lean back, crank up the volume and let us entertain you for a good cause."
It'll never happen, but I can dream. Don't get me wrong. I know that even if a celebrity took that tone during a telethon, Average Jane and Joe would give anyway, 'cause it's always a culture's middle class that digs the deepest.