Ed Driscoll

One Percenter Pretends to Empathize With the Poverty-Stricken

“Ben Affleck will live on $1.50 for a day, then go back to his real life,” the Daily Caller notes:

Oscar-winning millionaire Ben Affleck will live on just $1.50 for (at least) one day next week, all while knowing that he can go back to his regular, multi-million dollar life.

The actor will live on the meager amount for poverty awareness campaign Live Below the Line, the campaign announced on its Facebook page Monday.

Affleck will tweet his experience, as well as what he is eating, on his personal Twitter account. The goal of the campaign is to have celebrities — Sophia Bush, Josh Groban, Hunter Biden and Debi Mazaar will also do the challenge — raise awareness and funds for their chosen charities.  Affleck’s fundraising will go toward the charity he founded, Eastern Congo Initiative.

According to Live Below the Line’s website, the purpose of the project is “to give a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day — and who have to make $1.50 cover a lot more than food.”

I realize that “Progressivism” is an exhausted century-old philosophy that largely consists of spinning your wheels while going nowhere, but are they really still doing these sorts of shopworn stunts?

When I was in middle school at St. Mary’s (now Doane Academy) in the Jurassic days, some bright spark convinced the school to teach the kids about the plight of the Third World and the randomness of life by first giving us an afternoon lecture, and then giving all the kids three meals in the cafeteria. The first kid got the full First World meal, the second got a slightly lessened Second World meal, and the third kid got a Third World meal, which if I’m remembering correctly, consisted of a blob of hot rice ladled out with an ice cream scoop.

Guess which one your humble narrator received.

I silently said nuts to this stunt, didn’t eat it, and sat and conversed with the kids in the school cafeteria until my father picked me up from school and we went to Burger King afterwards.

Oh, and speaking of national hamburger chains, it’s worth flashing back to 2004 and another culinary-themed photo-op for the leftwing celebrity:

John Edwards’s campaign theme is a slice of warmed-over Disraeli: there are “two Americas”, one for the rich, one for the poor, and, even though he’s part of the former, he wants you to know that he started out in the latter. Friday was the Edwardses’ 27th anniversary, so, in keeping with tradition, they hit the Newburgh Wendy’s, along with the Kerrys, campaign mascot Ben Affleck and accompanying press crew.

The photo-op didn’t go smoothly. Kerry went over to say hi to some marines, who turned out to be Bush supporters and resented the interruption to their lunch. More telling was Teresa Heinz Kerry. She pointed to the picture of the bowl of chilli above the clerk’s head: “What’s that?” she asked. He explained that it was something called “chilli” and she said she’d like to try a bowl. The Senator also ordered a Frosty, a chocolate dessert. They toyed with them after a fashion, and then got back on the bus.

It then emerged that Wendy’s had just been an appetiser. The campaign advance team had ordered 19 five-star lunches from the Newburgh Yacht Club for Kerry, Edwards, Affleck and co to be served back on the bus: shrimp vindaloo, grilled diver sea scallops, prosciutto, wrapped stuffed chicken, etc.

I’m not sure whether Ben had the shrimp and Teresa the scallops, but, either way, it turns out John Edwards is right: there are two Americas – one America where folks eat at Wendy’s, another America where the elite pass an amusing half-hour slumming among the folks at Wendy’s and then chow down on the Newburgh Yacht Club’s specials of the day. The Elizabeth Edwards anniversary-at-Wendy’s shtick was meant to emphasise her husband’s authenticity, but it now looks as inauthentic as Kerry’s own blundering “regular guy” routine.

As the Daily Caller notes, “Affleck’s net worth is $65 million as of 2010.” He’ll be enjoying shrimp vindaloo, grilled diver sea scallops and prosciutto once again, and rather soon.

Also, as the DC writes, “the purpose of the project is ‘to give a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day — and who have to make $1.50 cover a lot more than food.'”

Which is not to imply however, that anyone involved actually wants to see those conditions improved.