I love a cultural controversy and two have floated past my eyeballs this week.
1. a scientist wearing a ‘sexist’ shirt.
2. yet another version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’.
The first one is poor Dr Matt Taylor who had to apologise for wearing a garish shirt patterned with sexy cartoon women when he was interviewed on t.v. after his team landed a probe on a comet… I favour suits for important occasions so I think he was dressed foolishly – but if someone has a cartoon shirt personality I don’t think it’s too big a deal if they wear a cartoon shirt… And if the women were naked there might be a case for that being a misuse of our eyeballs (it does have images of a gun – so I’m surprised no one THOUGHT OF THE CHILDREN). But to make out that sexiness is sexist; and to make some poor sod cry as he pleads for forgiveness is ridiculous esp. when many young women spend a significant part of their youth wearing t-shirts with pictures of their favourite pretty boy… Ladies – you scream at men in the streets because they’re sexy… you put them on your walls… you’ve even started literally offering them your first born children… you are in no position to call men sexist for wearing shirts…. (on a side-note – the one and only reason I didn’t bother with science at school is because it was hard. Unless you’re stuck in a hell-hole where you get beaten for passing exams – it’s the only reason any student drops anything).
The second is another re-tread of the Band Aid single ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ this time in the cause of Ebola… Most people are fine with it… But there has been some carping about the effectiveness of the aid industry – which I agree with – but in this case there’s a vaccine to fund so cold hard cash might come in useful (without funding a warlord or a corrupt government). Another objection is that it gives a false impression of Africa – which is true. I pretty much think of Africa as a place where people starve, get shot or die of dread diseases… Although that’s pretty much what I think of the U.S.A. – and South America – and Glasgow… so I doubt it matters. The last objection is that the lyrics are patronising and inaccurate… which I suppose they are… but then lyrics aren’t a well-thought out essay – they’re just there to make a quick emotional appeal while fitting a melody… the point was – you’ll be having a lovely Christmas here and they’ll be dying there… DO SOMETHING… and I’ve seen far worse… It’s not genocidal… It’s not telling them to go to Hell… It’s not bitter and mean… My only real concern is the video – they show footage of a very sick woman in her underwear being removed from a house… then they cut to the famous singers arriving in their cars to sing (a little too smugly) in a cosy studio… A video is different from a news report – and I worry that no one thought of her as human enough to sign a consent form… I also think the contrast made the singers look over-privileged and shallow.
There’s my tuppence worth*
*or two cents worth if you like.