2014 August 21 Thursday
Celebrity Charity Support Only Helps Celebrities

Celebrities are not good at helping causes.

Celebrity promotion of charities is ineffective at raising awareness, but can make the stars more popular with the public, new research says.

According to journal articles by three UK academics, "the ability of celebrity and advocacy to reach people is limited" and celebrities are "generally ineffective" at encouraging people to care about "distant suffering".

I think fatigue is a common reaction to suffering in various parts of the world. With the advent of really low cost cameras, the internet, and really cheap optical fiber we get bombarded with news and images about distant suffering. The worst places get the most attention. There is no shortage of sad stories when tragedies and moral outrages are sourced from a global market in news.

People watch celebrities play characters they admire, desire, or want to emulate. Lots of people have irrational emotional attachments to celebrities because we evolved before mass media could pour so many images and dramas into our brains.

Celebrities trying to draw attention to suffering to raise money go up against so many competing media events. They have a hard time getting heard above the background noise. Most do not come across as very articulate or persuasive when not reading a script written by someone else. Since some celebrities help some dubious charities that's not always a bad thing. What they support is a pretty mixed bag.

Speaking as someone who doesn't own a TV I find myself increasingly not recognizing celebrity pictures and names in news stories. This is great. I strongly recommend kicking TV. You'll withdraw from propaganda and from emotional attachments to actors who are really irrelevant to your lives.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 August 21 09:33 PM 

Nick said at August 22, 2014 4:49 AM:

I don't watch much TV, but when I do I find myself quickly skipping through most of the channels. The bulk of TV seems meant to elicit emotional responses based on "drama" aimed at a female audience. Besides a handful of science and history-themed programs (and even these aren't always innocent) most programming seems to be agenda driven. The pursuit of truth, appreciation of beauty and inspiration to lead a better life are all but ignored on TV, especially on "the news". This is one of the reasons the internet has become so popular. It doesn't get talked about as much as the decline of newspapers, but broadcast TV has taken a massive dive in ratings in the last year. A drop of 50% between 2002-2012 according to an article I read from last year.

Jim said at August 22, 2014 5:44 AM:

I stopped watching television so long ago I can't remember when I stopped. But it was in the previous century. An intelligent orang-utan would be insulted by it.
Hell, a retarded orang-utan would be insulted by it.

Florida resident said at August 22, 2014 5:29 PM:

Whenever I hear "raising awareness", I try to grab the gun (which I do not have, unfortunately.)

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