Saturday, December 01, 2007

Context is everything . . .

I posted the following message on the Sonlighters Club Forums:
This video disturbs me . . .

As someone who is charitably minded, I'm concerned that this video contributes to an almost insurmountable cultural cynicism. And . . . I wonder why people like Geldof and Bono (I don't recognize the others) would agree to participate in such a program? Doesn't it basically say that everything they are involved with (or have been involved with) is (or was) a sham?

Can anyone help me acquire a counter-balanced perspective?

How can truly godly charities fight (what I see as) this cultural drift to total cynicism? . . . I'm astonished and appalled at the comments of viewers. "Ha ha ha"?!?

Wilberforce had to fight the pro-slavery forces who suggested his pleas in behalf of the slaves were (to use modern verbiage) the result of mindless, bleeding-heart liberalism. . . . How do we reply in today's climate?

Concerning the video: it is a bit lengthy, by video standards. The first two minutes (exactly) set the stage . . . then watch out!

[FWIW: We watch no TV at our home. So let me apologize up front if my lack of standard viewership is contributing to a "poor" response.]

Thanks for your input.
Before you read on, I encourage you to watch the video. (And if you have young children around, be aware that when Geldof makes his appearance, he lets an f-bomb fly.)

Once you watch it, feel free to return.

Or not. You may keep reading. But please understand that there are contextual "spoilers" in what follows.

You want to watch through my eyes as they were . . . or through slightly adjusted spectacles?


An Aussie wrote the first helpful reply:
I believe this was shown on a comic relief show, which is an annual comedy show with all the proceeds going to help african charities. I don't think it says everything they are involved with is a sham, they are just pointing out that it seems to be the 'hip' thing for celebrities to be doing right now.
Whoa! That helped! Indeed, I could see the humor.

But my lack of familiarity with the participants beyond Geldof and Bono also hurt.

Another community member added:
It's a satire on celebrities who do a lot of visible charity work for the wrong reasons--publicity to plug a product or to burnish a public image.

Ricky Gervais and the tall guy in glasses, Stephen Merchant, are famous comedians and were in character.

The blond guy, Jaimie Oliver, is a famous television chef, so it was funny to see him eating onion rings and McNuggets. I looked this up, but he has tried to teach children to eat better and had a show where they made school lunches. This is probably what he meant by the "fat chav" line and why it was so funny to see him eating bad food.

Bono and Bob Geldof were taking very broad pokes at their public images of humanitarians.
Ah-ha! CONTEXT is everything! Because with that CONTEXT in mind, suddenly, the sketch really does become humorous! . . . Talk about how someone's words (or, in this case, actions) can be made to say something they didn't intend at all . . . "simply" by having them taken out of context!

In this case, by taking the sketch out of context, I thought it said exactly opposite what the speakers (or, in this case, the participants) really meant . . . !!

Whew! Mind-blowing!


And while we're on the subject: It strikes me how a brand or brand image--and, in this case, a person's character--can be so important. Jaimie Oliver, a TV chef concerned about proper nutrition, eating onion rings and Chicken McNuggets. . . .
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