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This Thanksgiving, be thankful you don't live in the Sudan



My wife has a crush on George Clooney. You can't really blame her -- he's got that distinguished yet roguish, would-be-James Bond-if-he-was-British vibe to him. More on this in a moment ... Normally, my 17.5 regular readers are looking for disposable pop phenomenology to digest on a cigarette break. But for once, I'm going to try to talk about something important.

Because of our increasing inability to relate to the suffering of people other than ourselves, the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan has received relatively little attention in the media compared to the coverage of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslav republics during the late 1980s and early '90s. As reporting of the Iraq war has become a dubious and rote compendium of killing and dying, the Darfur crisis has finally found a bit more traction in the public consciousness, largely due to entertainers' attention to the issue.

In October, MySpace sponsored Rock For Darfur with OxFam, who will distribute the proceeds of more than 20 rock concerts across the country to relief efforts for refugees in Sudan and Chad. Acts included Alice in Chains, Ziggy Marley, Teddy Geiger and TV On The Radio. Known to most of the under-30 set as "a place for friends" and to most of the over-30 set as a place for pedophiles, for once, the Rupert Murdoch-controlled web portal used its powers for good by sponsoring and promoting Rock For Darfur among its 120 Million users.

Recently, 60 Minutes did a feature on Darfur. Oprah, the real "Most Powerful Woman in the World" (sorry, Nancy Pelosi), has weighed in, and two weeks ago, even teen dramedy The O.C. had a Darfur clothing drive storyline.

And then there's Clooney. Critics claim that he's doing the trendy movie star thing by appointing himself as a spokesman for the problem. But how can you get on the guy? If it takes a Hollywood pretty boy to force world leaders to get off of their asses and stop the killing, then I guess that's the way it's got to be. So anyway, my wife has a little crush on Gorgeous George and I'm okay with it.

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