Ideology and Everyday Life
By: Sahan Salat & Sarah Ahmed
THREE TYPES OF ‘CELEBRITY
H U M A N I TA R I A N I S M
1. Global charity work of stars
2. Billionaire philanthropy
3. Humanitarian work of ‘spectacular’
G LO B A L C H A R I T Y W O R K O F
S TA R S
It is a ‘spectacle’ that covers up the wrongs of capitalism, thus enhancing it, and reinforces the status quo, thus guaranteeing their survival. Making their performance look good, the show also gives the advantage of downplaying their failures. Expression of the ‘postdemocratic liberal politics’, these unelected elites often decide for the suffering receivers, and
‘depoliticise’ the choices of decision-makers and givers by eliminating public scrutiny and debate, with the bonus of being unaccountable to both.
M A N U FAC T U R I N G B RA N D I M AG E
Stardom manufactured by massive marketing machine
CH doesn’t just sell a product, it sells ‘lifestyle, value, aspiration’ (20).
Recall Žižek’s “Feel-Good Ideology of Starbucks”
‘Cause marketing’ (20):
Stars make strategic choices about which causes to support for personal gain.
H U M A N I TA R I A N I S M A S
I D E O LO GY
Kapoor argues for the latter, says celebrity charity is deeply ideological: “…celebrity humanitarianism legitimates late liberal capitalism
(neoliberalism) and global inequality” (12).
And the problem is compounded when celebrities such as Bono or
Geldof are associated with it, since their ‘star power’ and spectacle only further divert public attention from the real social and economic causes of inequality.
J U S T I N B I E B E R FA I L I N G T O
D I V E R T AT T E N T I O N F R O M
SCANDALS TO MUSIC: EXPERTS
C E L E B R I T Y
P H I L A N T H R O P Y
W H AT C E L E B R I T Y H U M A N I T A R I A N I S M D O ?
Celebrity humanitarian work has become de rigueur these days. Whether in the form of mediatized events (concerts, awareness campaigns, product/campaign endorsements, travel to crisis areas), personal charity (donations, volunteer work, child adoption), or lobbying.
W H AT I S C E L E B R I T Y H U M A N I T A R I A N I S M ?
Celebrity humanitarianism is an ideology phenomenon of the this time line in which we live in.
Late capitalist liberal democracies cover over their structural tendencies towards domination and inequality is through celebrity charity work, which is sold as a solution to addressing Third World poverty, debt, famine, etc.
E XA M P L E S
George Clooney is organizing a fundraiser
Steven Spielberg is making a pledge
Scarlett Johansson is going on a mission
Jay-Z is touring Africa
A star like David Beckham is being appointed as
UN Goodwill Ambassador, or American Idol is ‘giving back’. SO……
Charity work has become so clichéd, in fact, that even Brüno (a.k.a. Sacha Baron Cohen) sees it necessary to adopt an ‘African’ baby to jump-start his…