Friday, December 26, 2008

Stars and Journeymen

Something that has been happening for a while in our society is the widening gap between the "stars' and the "journeymen" (this blogger will use this term, journeyperson sounds bizarre...). This has occurred in many fields - sports (a much smaller number of mega-stars that are paid astronomical amounts while much larger numbers of "bit" players toil for much lower pay), finance (ditto, though the current economic crisis may have started to put a dent in this...), entertainment, and many other fields. This "split" has also been expanding into all sorts of areas. Whether it be missing children, where a small number receive ridiculous amounts of coverage (viz. Caylee Anthony on the Nancy Grace show on CNN) while other victims receive no coverage at all; to shows such as The Apprentice where the winner gets all manner of benefits while the "losers" get nothing (and are often humiliated to boot!); to some worthy causes getting showered with resources while others languish from lack of assistance, this habit of piling it on for the few while giving very little to the many is not a healthy trend!

In his panegyric to social connectivity, entrepreneurship, and the internet, Kristof introduces a young girl, Talia, who raised enormous sums for post-Katrina hurricane victims and other worthy causes. An even younger child, 'Alex', set up a lemonade stand in her yard and ralso aised millions for her cause. In both cases, for whatever reason, they caught the public's attention and their causes reaped the vast generosity of the American public. Meanwhile, large numbers of other kids toiled in anonymity for other causes just as worthy.

The television show 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' seems to also follow this pattern of unevenness. This blogger doesn't generally watch this show, but happened to catch an episode. In it, the family chosen certainly had seen a run of bad luck and had many needs, but this blogger was appalled by the excesses - the existing house that was torn down was replaced by one multiple times the size of the original; the appointments were really top of the line; in addition the father received a truck, a workshop full of tools, and a year of gas; etc. The gifts went on and on. It seemed to this blogger that while the premise of providing help to those in need was good, a much larger number of families could have been helped if the money used had been spread around to other needy families, and not just lavished on one family!

OK, so good for those who do well and are done well by! But it is to be hoped that this does not become the norm in our society. While there will always be differences (which is good) too great a disparity between the few and the many is not healthy for society...

How Jay Leno is Contributing to Our Awful Economy
Talia for President
RandomKid The Power of ANYone
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer

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