Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Feed or Foment? 

DJ Andy Kershaw is starting a kerfuffle with the organizers of Live8, a benefit concert intended to fight poverty in Africa:

Anarchists from around the world are planning to cause chaos at next month's G8 summit in Gleneagles as a row broke out last night between Bob Geldof and DJ Andy Kershaw over the absence of black musicians at events staged to benefit Africans.

With police fears mounting over Geldof's call for one million people to protest at the summit, Kershaw last night condemned the almost exclusively white line-up for the pop concerts to coincide with the summit. 'If we are going to change the West's perception of Africa, events like this are the perfect opportunity to do something for Africa's self-esteem,' he said. 'But the choice of artists for the Live8 concerts will simply reinforce the global perception of Africa's inferiority.'
Let's ignore, for the moment, the wisdom of planning a benefit concert in the middle of a cesspool of violent protest, in an environment where anyone it inspires to help is as likely to toss a TV through a shop window as anything else.

What outrages me is the DJ's whine and how easily the media digests it.

Kershaw apparently feels any money or consciousness raised will bring only insult to its intended beneficiaries, suffering Africans, unless 50 Cent is there to keep it real. I'm sure starving Somalis and AIDS-afflicted Ugandans appreciate the DJ's idealogical purity.

Meanwhile the media salivates over the prospect of one white celebrity ringing another's bell. The benefit concert is a story, and all objections will be duly noted and publicized uncritically. Of course, we don't hear how any actual Africans might feel about this, but they probably just couldn't make it to the press conference and might never have heard of 50 Cent anyway.

I know I should just ignore it. He is, after all, just some stinking DJ, not a nuclear physicist. But this isn't the first important cause to benefit from the attention of his great intellect. There is, for example, his promotion of the North Korean "government". I worry he is overextending himself. The crusading DJ should rest up. I'm sure there will be plenty of anarchists and anti-globalization yahoos on hand to give Bob Geldof's benefit all the trouble it can handle. Meanwhile, Iran needs a little PR boost and could well be putting in a call to Kershaw any day now.

And I finally got to write something with the word kerfuffle in it. World peace must surely be at hand.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: