If he chooses to do so, Bono could take all the money required to pay your full four year tuition at MSU, spend some obscene amount of cash to have a French designer roll it up into a giant toilet-paper-money-spool-thing (accented with gold trim)…and then proceed to exuberantly wipe his ass with all of it.
Yet, for some inexplicable reason, it appears that Bono chooses to use his money to help people who can’t afford to know French designers. In fact it seems that more and more, celebrities are using their cheddar for increasingly noble purposes – a trend that is starving to be explored. [bono]
The majority of America doesn’t really care about federal spending or corporate mergers. We don’t lose sleep over filibustering or the national deficit. No, what the majority of this country really cares about is why Brad broke up with Jen and what J-Lo is going to be sporting on the red carpet. America is controlled by Washington and consumed by Hollywood. And celebrities are our royalty.
“Celebrities gain their money and influence due to the fact a large percentage of this country worships the ground they walk on,” graphic design junior Mike Colombo said. “It boggles my mind to know there are individuals who base their life work around celebrity gossip. All the magazines, all the shows, the whole lot of it is crap. It boggles my mind when I realize the ridiculous economic ramifications celebrities have on this country.”
It wouldn’t be so disgusting if we all knew that celebrities weren’t just shoveling money into the giant self-absorbed capitalistic furnace of well, nothing. We all understand fast cars and big houses, but blinged-out Jesus pendants? Ridiculous, gigantic rims? Obscenely expensive African-mined diamonds? Golden doggie houses?
For every new piece of meaningless garbage celebs mindlessly splurge on, it’s sadly apparent that a child somewhere on this earth is going to go another night without food or will die of a disease they don’t even know exists. It’s sad really, but that’s not news. What IS news is that our “royalty” seems to finally be taking notice.
You can now find your favorite celebs donating generous amounts to charities, spawning new foundations and even lending a helping hand to international strife…but why? Is this just the “hot new Hollywood trend” or are the beautiful people really trying to make a difference? What do MSU students think about the fact that attention to celebrity-infested television has seemed to be increasing as rapidly as the number of Bono’s passport stamps? [quote]
“The thing about celebs donating to charity is that it\’s foolproof PR,” journalism sophomore Rachel Wilkerson said. “I mean, if you\’re going to get your name out there, it might as well be attached to a good cause. You can\’t really knock them for that.” “Most people do have a cause that is important to them and celebrities are no different. I think it\’s nice when the person speaks out about why they chose a particular cause, like how they personally have been affected. Some people think the ‘best’ donors are silent, but if it\’s a cause important to you, it\’s hard to be silent about it.”
Despite celebrity charity representing what may look like a good token gesture for a shining tax write-off, celebrities ARE giving. Most usually have their own specific cause like rap mogul Jay-Z who gives generously to the New York City Mission Society to raise money for underprivileged children. Or take Micheal J. Fox, who is afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, and has since established a research foundation with the goal of finding a cure in 2010. It even gets as specific as Alica Silverstone who loves to throw her bucks at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization where she also publicly models “pleather.”
For the most part, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt,” communications sophomore Kacy Kligore said. “If they are out there getting their hands dirty, then it\’s much easier to believe that they are actually genuine. It\’s a win-win situation. The charity benefits as well as the celebrity’s image.”
However, donations on this level are less than chump change to a big time celeb. I’m sure the City Mission Society is less than a tiny sliver on the Jay-Z pie chart and while it’s fairly apparent that most celebs are giving back, many question the credibility of these disproportional ventures.
“Celebrities can do whatever the hell they want. It’s their money,” Colombo said. “I don’t care what celebrities are doing with their spare time. I don’t care if they donate money from their infinite checkbooks just to make themselves look as though they give a shit about something. Every citizen in this nation has a voice. Whether or not a celebrity chooses to use his or her vast resources to make a difference is entirely up to them.”
However, this is a new age in celebrity generosity and, to an elite minority of wealthy givers, going above and beyond the call of duty is paramount to their image and key to their diamond encrusted consciousness. Celebs are taking it to the next level, and they’re doing it overseas.
One of the best examples of this is nestled in the United Nations Children\’s Fund, a philanthropist organization that devotes all its efforts to the betterment of impoverished children around the world. The bottom line, UNCF is a hotspot for celebrity taglines lets celebs from all aspects of the biz become real live UN ambassadors.
Among the glittering names are recording artists Shakira and India.Arie, big time Hollywood players like Laurence Fishburne, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lucy Liu and a smorgasbord of other celebrated talent. Thankfully, its not all just show at UNCF, as celebs dedicated enough to join the organization have a solid track record of keeping busy by visiting live field operations and reaching out to impoverished children on the front lines.
“Considering the impact that celebrities do have on society, it can be a double edged sword,” packaging junior Ryan Killing said. “In one respect, celebrities bring the media with them wherever they go, giving exposure to nations in turmoil. But, on the other hand, there are those who have geared their entire life at being an ambassador to other countries, learning both the language and the culture to amplify their impact on the people.”
It is difficult to deny this sort of glowing compassion. However, the debatable aspect is not in the bleached teeth of our favorite Hollywood heroes, but in the camera that just always happens to catch the smile of a perfect photo opportunity. It’s good to see Alyssa Milano wearing her Gucci’s as she cradles malnourished children in the hot Indian sun. But after that photo did she stay and discuss a plan for AIDS prevention or did she hop in her air-conditioned limo to discuss image enhancement with her agent over a pair of exotic cocktails?
“I think many famous people have a cause that means a lot to them and so their efforts seem very genuine. And getting dirty doesn\’t hurt,” Wilkerson said. If some pampered actress builds houses with Habitat for Humanity, that\’s always nice. That said though, keep out the paparazzi. It\’s got to be a little offensive to the charity cases you\’re working with.”
The biggest force in celebrity humanitarianism currently has to be the tandem of worldly Hollywood vixen Angelina Jolie and her new main squeeze actor Brad Pitt. [angelina]
Jolie is like the proverbial flying saint or maybe even an angel. Since 2001, Jolie has become a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, donated at least 3 million dollars of her personal expenditures in international relief, became one of the leading spokespeople for third-world children (has adopted two of them) and continues to tour lesser developed countries throughout the globe.
“Angelina Jolie is pretty amazing, Wilkerson said. “She donates her money and time. I don\’t think it\’s a PR stunt. I don\’t know many people who are going to travel to third world countries just for a photo op.”
However, Jolie’s biggest contribution might not be from her deep pockets but from her maternal devotion. After already boosting foreign adoption rates by adopting son Maddox from Cambodia in 2002, Jolie then assumed parental rights for Ethiopian daughter Zahara in 2005, an act that international adoption agencies have cited as witness to a direct doubling of inquires for adoption in Ethiopia. Now that’s influence.
But even Jolie is just a small fry compared to the real charitable heavyweights.
Nationally and internationally, you can’t ignore Oprah. At an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion and a syndicated daily television show averaging 9.3 million viewers, Oprah’s power and influence are unlimited. If heaven exists, “sponsored by Oprah” is probably written on the pearly gates.
Naturally, America’s most powerful woman named her charity, or empire, “The Angel Network,” an organization that gives more away then any one human could ever possibly acquire. The mega-star’s charity efforts make it nearly impossible to demonize, criticize or even look at Oprah the wrong way. How can you say anything bad about a woman who every year gives the proportionate value of a small country to random people?
“As much as I hate to say it, Oprah has definitely made considerable donations through her Angel Network, as well as her own money,” Killing said. “Bono is also a big force-his efforts and the use of his charity concerts have raised substantial amounts of money.”
Ah yes, it all comes back to Bono. A man so disgustingly selfless that he is humorously and commonly referred to as, that’s right, Jesus. If global celebrity humanitarianism is a burning fire of flashy philanthropy, this man started the spark a long time ago. It goes without saying that this Nobel Peace Prize nominee is the father of modern international celeb-driven humanitarianism.
It would be impossible to list all of Bono’s good will, but let’s just say he is something of a charitable oddity. If you can’t find Bono successfully bartering with global politicians to relieve Third World debt, then you’ll find him raising record setting numbers for international AIDS awareness. In fact, throw away any pre-conceived notions you have about the sunglass sporting U2 front man and just know that he encompasses more international charitable causes than anyone you can think of.
“Considering the fact that you hear about so-called donations on shows such as Extra, and E-entertainment how can you not believe that the main interest of the people making the donations is to promote their own image?\” Killing said. \”I always imagine that just behind the cameraman, Britney’s, or whoever’s manager or agent is there, smiling with the satisfaction of yet another nationwide television spot. In my opinion, there are celebrities that have donated in the best interest of mankind. The celebrities that do make donations with zero self interest in mind are not handing over a comically sized check in front of paparazzi. You just don’t hear about it.”
The American celebrity is a sovereign and glorified position. Therefore, it is good to see celebs getting dirty in places the common plebian would never expect to find them. And while it’s hard to believe, we can make just as much of an impact as they can, maybe not individually but in numbers.
It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s all for PR, what matters is that we see them making a difference. What matters is that we are inspired to donate our time and money by seeing the ones we glorify accomplish these tasks.
Celebrities should be doing as much as possible, Kligore said. “It is everyone\’s responsibility to give back as much as they can. Celebrities just have the ability to give back on a bigger scale.”
We wear what they wear, we talk how they talk, we do what they do and it’s finally starting to become a good thing.

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