Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hurricane Photo Op

Aspen? Miami? St. Barts? Nope. Hollywood's newest vacation hot spot? New Orleans.

Now with miles and miles of beach front property, society's most treasured asset - celebrities - are flocking to the worst natural disaster site in American history. How do we know this?

Because they all brought fucking camera crews with them.

Fresh from his vacation in Iraq, Sean Penn was so moved by the images of the sinking New Orleans he saw on the news he had to do something, anything to help those poor victims. He grabbed the bare essentials: a life jacket, fresh water, a boat, and a personal photographer.

It reminds me of the age old philosopher's conumdrum, "If a celebrity does something charitable - and there isn't a camera around - did they really do it?

Kirstie Alley put down the Krispie Kremes long enough to travel to New Orleans to visit the true victims of this tragedy - pets. Thank God she had a camera crew with her to capture this surely Pulitzer Prize winning piece of documentary footage. I am sorry - I had a dog, I had cats. I loved them. But if my house is floating away and it is a question of who gets the last spot in the lifeboat - Lassie or another human - Lassie is shit out of luck.

Bono in Africa, yes. Angelina Jolie in every Asian country known to man - I get it. Kudos to them for the attention they have brought to horrible conditions. But when I see Richard Simmons walking down a flooded New Orleans street in a bedazzled tank top and dolphin shorts I gotta call bullshit.

That's right - tonight on Entertainment Tonight Richard Simmons returned to his home town of New Orleans. He didn't help anyone. He just walked around in his sweatin' the oldies gear and made enlightening statements such as, "How are they going to get all this water out of here?" Thank God the ET cameras were there with him. Maybe tomorrow "Cojo" can show us how to turn those water logged body bags into this fall's hottest fashions.

George Clooney and all the folks that appeared on the 911 tribute, all the celebrities set to appear on this week's Katrina tribute and Joel Gallen - who produced both of them - you have the right idea. Use your skills, your pull, your celebrity to raise money so trained professionals can delivery food, medical help and rescue boats to all of those suffering people.

You have the right idea - stay in Hollywood. You can do much more good from there.

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