Friday, 11 March 2011

A Couple Of Things...

... that I can't get my head around at the moment.

Firstly (and that's in the order of when these things happened, not of importance), you may or may not know that there is currently an Ebay auction running called TwitRelief, which is raising money for Comic Relief. There are about 145 lots, I believe, which are 'fronted' by a celebrity / well-known person. The Twitter part of it comes in by way of them promising that they will follow the winning bidder on Twitter for 90 days (more if they choose to), and they will also retweet a message by that person, and also 'mention' them by their username. The majority of the auction lots, however, are also throwing in extras of the 'money-can't-buy' variety (well, it can, if you bid for it). There are things like a walk-on part in the next Richard Curtis movie, a chance to watch Dave Lamb record the narration of Come Dine With Me, tea in the House of Commons, signed scripts from various tv shows and so on, you get the idea.

The thing that I can't get my head around, is that all of this has been quite widely criticised on Twitter, and therefore in the media too. It's raising money for charity - how can it possibly be a bad thing? No one is getting hurt, used or abused, so where's the harm? I think one argument is that it isn't for the likes of most 'normal' folk, because they can't afford it (quite a lot of the highest bids are well over £1000 by now). Well, yeah, I guess for a lot of people that's true. But so what? Is it the end of the world that you can't bid to spend a day with Kirstie and Phil from Location, Location? I can't afford to bid on most of them, and the ones that are still low enough, I don't really want to bid on anyway. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. Clearly there are lots of people who can afford them though, and is it weird of me to actually be happy for those people, and glad that they are in a position to give that kind of money away? Because that's how I feel when I check in and see the bids getting higher and higher - I don't feel jealous or bitter, I just get a "good for you!" punch-the-air kind of feeling, and I hope that a) it makes tons of money for charity and b) that the winner really enjoys their prize.

I don't know, maybe there are deeper issues here, and I'm the first to admit that I'm not a very deep thinker! I just don't know why people are so critical of something that's raising money for charity. I think some people have suggested that the celebs should just donate some money themselves instead of taking part in what some see as an 'ego-stroking' exercise. Who's to say they haven't donated some money already though? And also, this is Comic Relief - the clue is in the title. There are lots of serious campaigns out there who simply tell you the facts and ask you to donate - Comic Relief decided to do things a bit differently, and try to raise money through humour. That doesn't make the cause any less important or serious though. So if you can afford to bid in the auction - go for it, and good luck. If not, donate by some other means, but don't have a go at the ones who can afford to give a bit more.

The other thing I can't get my head around today, is the awful Japanese earthquake and tsunami. By 'can't get my head around' I mean that I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like to experience that, and I hope I never do. I don't even really know what to say about it, how do you express what you feel when you see such utter destruction? I know there have been lots of natural disasters lately around the world, like the floods in Australia and the recent earthquake in New Zealand. They are no less serious or upsetting as this one, and my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by all of these events. I watched some footage of the tsunami on the evening news, and it was literally jaw-dropping - Mother Nature at her most terrifying. It makes me feel very small, very humble.

I hope you and yours are safe, happy and healthy, wherever you are.

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