Apartment 53

Apartment 53 was my first apartment in NYC where I lived on my own, and thus, where I really think of my life as a Manhattan woman beginning. I've always been fascinated by NYC apartments. Giant buildings filled with people, each with their own story. Windows everywhere. And I always wonder: what's behind them? What do people see when they look in from the outside? What is the real story of the person who lives behind that glass? This is my blog. A real story from a Manhattan apartment.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Papa Don't Preach

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an American Idol fan. Ok, fan might be the wrong word. Um… OBSESSED FAN might be more appropriate. So like any good obsessed fan, I watched the much-hyped, good-in-concept “Idol Gives Back” tonight in lieu of the ordinary much-hyped, nail-biter elimination show. For two hours I watched performances by Celine Dion, Annie Lenox, Kelly Clarkson and (the one who brought me to tears,) Josh Groban. Between performances I also watched a slew of celebrities stare in to the camera from LA, (or in some cases, Africa,) and ask the American public for money.

I’m sorry. What?

Ok, I’ll forgive Ellen. She co-hosted with Ryan, and she personally donated a hundred grand. Go Ellen. But was that actually Madonna surrounded by African toddlers telling ME to donate money? MADONNA? Yes, I am referring to the same Madonna who, at some point in the last couple of years was photographed by Vogue Magazine in her sprawling British estate boasting something like a hundred acres and 40 rooms. The same Madonna who charges more money for concert tickets than almost any other artist. And yes, the same Madonna who, in any given issue of Star, US Weekly, or Hello can be seen with the latest Louis Vuitton bag or Chanel sunglasses. Yes, THE Madonna. She was asking me to give money.

Look, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate celebrities. I get it. They use their fame in situations like this to bring PR attention to the telethon-like setting so that nobodies like me will be more inclined to tune in and watch. And maybe, just maybe, a nobody like me will also be more inclined to give away my hard-earned cash to a cause they’re telling me about from a teleprompter just because they’re telling me to. Let me tell you something: I resent it. The reason people like Madonna are so rich is because of nobodies like me. And you. We go to their concerts, movies, watch their tv shows, buy their albums and their designs from their clothing lines. We buy the magazines that feature them on the covers which measures how big they really are, which makes other magazines want them on their covers which make more studios want them in their films and tv shows. We’re the reason they have so much cash. And now they ask us for more?
Sorry, Madge, or Esther, or whatever you’re going by these days. Did you just actually ask me while I’m sitting here in my 400 square-foot apartment to donate money? Was that before or after you misplaced a family member in that big manse of yours?

I donated. I logged my jet-lagged butt on to americanidol.com and gave a hundred bucks. I believe in charity, feeding hungry children, and getting much-needed antibiotics to the people who need them in remote parts of the African continent. I also know that I don’t donate often enough or give enough of my time. So, for American Idol to have reminded me to give to those less fortunate, and to have made it so easy for me, I say “thank you”.
But I do want to say that I find it ironic that Hollywood feels the right to ask. It’s one thing to produce a show that tells us all about poverty in the south and disease in Africa and bring to our consciousness every once in a while that we can make a difference in pretty affordable ways. But it’s quite another for all of these rolling-in-dough stars to get even more PR exposure by participating in such productions. And if they’re going to challenge us to give, then I challenge them to give more. At last count, Ryan Seacrest announced that the donations totaled thirty million dollars. The stars who participated in tonight’s program and reaped the benefits of its reach and public relations push should get together and match what America pledged. Because at some point, after all of the movie stubs and concert tickets and cable tv subscriptions and magazine articles, they owe us too.


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