Jonah Goldberg looks at Live8 through a gimlet eye:
You may be wondering how much money this intercontinental jam session raised for the sick and dying of Africa. Alas, not a farthing. Sir Bob Geldof was very explicit about this point. Live8 was intended to raise consciousness and exert political pressure on the G8 summiteers. No one was allowed to actually raise money for the masses of starving people in Africa. None of the dollars spent on the concert by fans, corporate sponsors, or television networks will reach Africa. Charities couldn’t rattle tin cups outside the porta-potties and concession stands. This was solely an effort to prod the West to get behind the slogan, “Make Poverty History.”
Nice line. But, uh, how? I’m sure Geldof, Bono, and a few others have some ideas worth listening to. But I somehow doubt the Madonna and Snoop Dogg fans in the audience had formed a particularly cogent consensus on how to “Make Poverty History.” In fact, I doubt you could get even a fraction of them to agree on a recipe for apple brown betty.
Very smart people have been trying really, really hard to make poverty history for a long time. Heck, they’ve been working very hard to make Africa just ever-so-slightly less hellish for a very long time. Debt relief is probably part of a potential solution, but without ending Africa’s tendency to produce horrible, greedy dictatorships, debt relief is more akin to paying off a drug addict’s credit cards.
Even if the concert goers were speaking with a single voice, they weren’t saying anything of much use, except “we care”