Thursday, April 26, 2007

American Idol Is Driving Me Away

We finally turned off American Idol last night. We let the DVR record the rest only to find that we wasted perfectly good hard drive space. Their Idol Gives Back segment was two self serving hours of drivel with a bait and switch no vote off at the end.  Simon’s never seen a low income food bank? I’m not without compassion, I simply prefer the quiet hard work of folks like the Destiny Food Depot to self serving celebrities who are all talk, no give.


Yes Africa is a mess. Modern Celebrities have been trying to fix Africa since 1985’s live aid and it only gets worse. The bottom line is that Africa’s problems are extremely complex and presenting simple solutions makes you look stupid.


·         Petty tyrants, dictators and warlords complicate distribution and steal from their own people. More money, won’t solve that unless it goes to mercenaries. That would be a fun American Idol. Let’s raise money for a mercenary army to kick out Robert Mugabe next season.  Will Bono put up a money back guarantee that my donation won’t line Mugabe’s pocket?

·         Aids drugs are a not simple take one pill a day kind of treatment. They require the right medication in the right timing. That kind of regimen is often impossible in many, many, many places in Africa.

·         Mosquito nets would be a HUGE help. But the malaria problem is so bad that countries are asking for the right to use DDT again to control mosquitoes. It has been suggested that DDT use in certain countries would go a long way toward relieving the spread of malaria but you’ll never see a celebrity push for that. Certainly malaria kills more people than DDT ever did.


Ultimately, the world cannot solve Africa’s problems. Only Africa can. The country of South Africa has managed avoid dissolving into a cesspool of violence. But, they had a framework for society, a process for presidential transition, and a long tradition of the rule of law (however screwed up those laws might have been) that has allowed them to escape the mess that is central Africa. Until African’s get fed up with being exploited by outsiders, by crackpots and by their own homegrown sociopaths, we won’t see a solution.


In the face of such complexity, I can only find one simple solution. Let Madonna, Brad and Angelina adopt the entire continent. Stop this one or two adoption thing and get it over with. Adopt them all.


So this may be my last season of Idol. It jumped the shark for me last night. I’m still rooting for dark horse Phil. Oh yeah, Fox has cancelled Drive after 3 weeks. Another show that’s out of the ordinary, a little creepy (in a good way) and DOA in the ratings.


[Sidebar: Yes I know that Africa is continent made of up of many countries, tribes, nationalities and ethnicities. However, precious few countries in central and southern Africa have escaped the mess of dictators, civil war, famine and genocide over the last 30 years. Saharan Africa isn’t much better. They just have more competent dictators. The few relatively stable countries (Kenya and South Africa come to mind) along with any reform minded leaders are faced with their neighbor’s problems continually bleeding over. Thus I’m compelled to lump Africa together when discussing it’s problems.]



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