Friday, May 25, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - May 25, 2007

I had a wonderful few days away from the office and I am in a pretty good mood, so here are my Shabbat Thoughts for May 25, 2007.

More “proof” the Jewish community fails my needs
Leonard Fein telling the truth about Jerusalem
Scary Hummus at UCLA (Very Funny and a Good Read)

This week a 17 year-old kid won a signing competition with more people voting for her than elected President Bush. And I have no problem with that at all.

This season American Idol told people to care about Africa and poverty. While this multi-billion dollar enterprise raised only $70 million for their causes, it still raised $70 million dollars. That is a lot of money. It is a testament to the power of the market. Millions upon millions of people watch this show to then rush to their phones to text or wait on a busy signal to cheer on their favorite star.

This got me thinking about what I would do if I was on TV for two hours a week with a microphone in my hand…

Clearly I would rock the stage with my stellar vocals, but I would also infuse my “post-song” talk time with something important. Something more than the banal sycophantically diatribe to the jack-ass judges, I would say something substantive each time. Clearly I would have 12 weeks of messages because I would no doubt make it to the finals. Ok so an activist can dream right?

I understand that most people who watch mindless TV want to escape the horrors of the world; poverty, environmental deprivation and AIDS don’t make very good wholesome family TV.

I am a huge fan of Angelina Jolie(all kinds of good things, UN etc), Brad Pit (more good stuff),George Cloney(Darfur), Leonardo DiCaprio (Enviromental Issues before it was hot) and even Madonna (she does it for the children) for their work to garner attention to the worthy causes. I don’t see a problem with stars making their evil little camera people follow them to the ends of the earth.

More people read People and US Weekly than the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, so more people will read about Darfur if Clooney goes there than if Kristoff writes about it everyday.

The power of pop should not be ignored or scoffed. It is just a shame that it takes movie stars to tell the world they should care more about the issues these stars care about than who they are sleeping with.

Shabbat Shalom


New California Fan said...

Yes, pop is very powerful. Good people can use their celebrity to do great things. I wonder though, how much praise we heap upon the multi-billion dollar industry, for instance, which while it collects a large amount of money, that amount of money pales in comparison to the amounts it wastes in pursuit of the very mindless pop it creates. Does this one instance of giving lead people - from the stars to the viewers - to feel like they are "yotzei," that they have fulfilled their obligation? Are we letting them off the hook?

Liberal Jew said...


Thanks for all the comments. I read a piece in the Jewish Week this Friday that pissed me off to no end. I actually read it after I wrote this post. It was talking about how kids won't keep working on Social Justice issues after these pop stars stop doing it...I really wanted to smake the guy who wrote it...I will like to it eventually but really it made me mad.

I actually think this will be a trend that will be with us for a while...who know if forever, but we can hope that these pop stars will learn to keep using thier fame for good.