Wednesday, April 9, 2008

American Idol Gives Back: Brad Pitt, Daughtry

Tyra Banks as we come back, she gets a surprisingly loud hand from the audience. Ugh, now the smarmy David Spade--he's talking about New Orleans, I keep waiting for a joke, but there isn't one.

Just Brad Pitt; they've done a pretty comprehensive job looking at the situation in New orleans, this one's focused on the rebuilding job. Pitt's wearing a Payne Stewartish golf cap... the group that's focused on, Make It Right, is rebuilding homes in a non-generic manner.

He shows up 'live' at the Kodak, gets a big standing ovation. For being Brad Pitt, I guess. Some mike problems, the tech who comes on stage to fix his mike gets off a great line, "I just needed a reason to touch him."

He introduces Daughtry--last year's biggest selling band--who went to Uganda. Chris is singing What About Now, no narration just scenes of daily life in Uganada.

Again, I wonder why Idol doesn't take 30 seconds and at least show Uganda on a map; here's Wikipedia's Uganda entry; and the entry on Forest Whitaker's film about Idi Amin, The Last King of Scotland.

Africa's no different than Europe--there are a ton of countries and ethnic groups, all with very different histories, languages, customs, etc. Because Idol doesn't present any context, they're making it all run together, as if all of Africa suffers from the same problems for the same reason, and just funding aid organizations will help everyone equally.

A lot of Uganda's problems, for example, stem from the fact that Idi Amin was a crazy dictator who killed up to half a million people and drove a lot of the talented people out of the country. Imagine if that happened to the U.S.--yeah, we'd probably still be pretty messed up 30 years later.

Sudan, on the other hand, is still in the middle of a vicious war between North and South; South Africa is fighting the effects of apartheid and AIDs/HIV; Egypt has overpopulation problems and religious issues; Angola just ended a bloody civil war that for a couple of decades was funded by the U.S. on one side and the U.S.S.R./Cuba on the other... but you wouldn't know any of this from Idol.

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