When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

02 July 2005

Blogging Live 8

How well I remember, twenty years ago, sitting through all of the television coverage of Live Aid. I still have some very lo-fi mono VHS tapes of most of that event (recorded directly from ABC's broadcast) sitting around at my parents' house somewhere.

Okay, I've just watched the first couple hours of Live 8 coverage on MTV.

This time around I've got a DVR, a digital cable stereo feed, and supposedly access to a live webcast feed, but somehow I don't think I'll be archiving this show.

I have several observations.
  • Wow, I'm really getting old.

    • But not as old as lot of these geezers performing.

  • If there's anything that sounds simultaneously stupider and phonier than rich Western celebrities mouthing oversimplifications and platitudes about African poverty, I don't want to hear it, ever.

    Brad Pitt, I'm looking at you. (Angelina Jolie, I'd much rather be looking at you.)

  • If you're going to cover a worldwide series of concerts, MTV, give us more music! Aside from the incredibly ragged rendition of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" performed by Sir Paul McCartney and U2, and a Coldplay performance that for some reason was presented in its entirety, we have, so far, not heard more than ninety seconds of anyone else's act.

  • On the other hand, given that live performance of music seems to be a dying art form... maybe it's best that we haven't.

  • The live webcast feed isn't working. Overloaded and oversubscribed. Just crashed my browser rather gracelessly, in fact. So much for an alternative to MTV's coverage.

  • Wow, I'm really getting old.

  • While debt relief for Africa is an interesting idea that merits serious consideration, here is a short, non-all-inclusive list of everything that poor beleaguered continent needs to pull itself out of the muck and mire of dire poverty and cruel oppression (to their credit, both Bono and Bob Geldof have acknowledged most of these issues):

    • Rule of law.
    • A modern system of property rights.
    • In addition to the Big Two above, a general trend towards the creation of other policies and institutions that favor development.
    • Transparency in government, including elections, law enforcement, and the courts.
    • Democracy, human rights and economic liberty.
    • The (preferably democratic and peaceful, but in any event decisive) removal and expulsion of the kleptocrat class currently running the show in most African countries. Until these folks are gone, sending economic aid is essentially pouring money down a rathole.
    • Accountability for the governing class(es) that replace them.

  • While I was reflexively annoyed, earlier in the week, to hear the PC carping from some corners that African musicians were under-represented on stage (correction: they're not "under-represented," they aren't there at all as far as I can tell), the production, even with the inclusion of many artists of color, combined with the sanctimonious pontificating about saving the poor Africans, does have something of the scent of "white man's burden" about it.

  • Wow, I'm really getting old.

(The BBC's excellent coverage can be found here.)

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