by carl wilson

Oh, Gr8


Zoilus was supposed to be part of this Salon feature of bloggas and snoggas critiquing the "hideously white" Live8 lineups today, but something went wrong in the editing process, so apparently my contribution will appear on Salon tomorrow. I like everybody's contributions, though the spectacle of all us armchair critics piling on the event bothers me a bit - the thing is that the agenda of Live8 is such an advance on the original Live Aid charidee model (i.e., the "drop bags of cash and food into a situation of social chaos and exacerbate the problem" model, aka the "pictures of starving children sell records" model), that I was hesitant to getting into the game of attacking a lineup clearly put together to maximize ticket sales. (But I did get sucked in, because Salon asked. After all, you'd think a couple of the UK super-strength headliners could have been sent off to the shows in other countries, making room for a little more diversity there.)

Again, I discussed the geopolitics of pop charity in a column earlier this year.

By far the chewiest response to the Live8 kerfuffle I've run across is this Mark Steyn column. For something that accuses everybody of "paternalism" it's awfully paternalistic ("here's what Africans should learn how to do"), and the suggestion that Sir Bob is punishing poor widdle western weaders "who are entirely blameless for Africa's current woes and severely constrained in their ability to do anything to alleviate them" is ridiculous - G8 leaders may not currently be responsible for egregious activities in Africa, but certainly as recently as the Cold War era, their predecessors were, and to the extent that foreign debt and restructuring are major economic issues in Africa, the powers that pull the strings at the World Bank etc. certainly have influence to wield, as well as - and this should be up Steyn's alley, shouldn't it? - in terms of what kind of trade policies to implement. (Western agricultural subsidies, for instance, are an everyday kick in the teeth to developing nations.) But still, Steyn's points about the need for civil infrastructure (instead of or along with aid) are good, and his screed about how westerners regard African music is thought-provoking - though rather than regarding it as a black-person-as-entertainer stereotype, you just might consider it giving people a chance to represent themselves publically, to be fighting for their own interests, rather than solely being spoken for and treated as objects of pity by a bunch of strangers.

Still, if there's going to be a pundits' dialogue on this subject, Steyn's at least snouting about in a field of questions more substantial than who's on the marquee. ... Too bad he then feels compelled to snort the dirt up his nose and spray it all over anyone who makes a serious effort to contribute.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, June 07 at 04:05 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)


Zoilus by Carl Wilson