The Other Downside of Disasters

Disasters, natural or otherwise, are tragic. The loss of human life and the tragedy that ensues in the search for survivors is rarely a wonderful thing. We’ve seen this so many times this year from the tsunami, to Katrina, to the most recent Kashmir region earthquake. It’s been a tough year and we’re pretty beat up about it. Thankfully the outpouring of money and support has helped many to a great degree. And hopefully the Katrina disaster will be something people can refer to in the future when money is cut from infrastructure programs that can save lives.
But beyond all of this, I’ve found a deep and utterly depressing problem with disasters. It’s not from the news though as you get pretty numb when you watch it and then they ultimately drop a story. For instance, everything must be all right in New Orleans since we don’t see any stories about it anymore, right? Yeah, right. No, my problem lies somewhere else and the best way I can sum it up is to say, canned food.
Do you remember whenever canned food drives would come around asking for donations? Well, if you don’t you should because if you ever saw the things that were donated, you’d laugh yourself silly. Here are things like “creamed crab”, “carrot dip”, and “white hand peas” to name a few. And beyond the absolutely bizarre products there are many that are past their expiration dates. Essentially the “warmth and giving” that people do is just an effort to dump out stuff they don’t want, can’t use, or will never take advantage of. The donation is the chance to get a write off on things that would otherwise be garbage. Not the best sentiment, but I suppose something is better than nothing.
The only reason this all rolls in to the forefront of my mind is because the same premise is true with music. I saw this Destiny’s Child video the other day which me want to vomit. It has all the appeal of elevator music on prozak and it was something that was supposed to “help” victims of something. But, it got me thinking. Why does all the benefit music have to be slow and crappy? Neil Young did “Walkin’ to New Orleans” recently and honestly, it kinda sucks. Elton John did that “Candle in the Wind” or whatever garbage for the Princess Di aftermath and really, that truly sucked. The list goes on and on. It’s like all these artists have their “creamed crab” song lurking in the background that they pull out when something bad goes down so that they can actually sell it. Sell it they do, I might add. These craptastic songs makes millions which supposedly helps the vitims, but we never really know just how much they actually do since “proceeds” is a very nebulous term and I haven’t sen an example of any recording artist ready to open their books for public viewing about a benefit album.
I suppose my main point in all of this is that it’s bad enough to have a disaster happen. It’s made worse by crappy songs being released that I feel do a great disservice to all those that listen to them, because they flat out blow. Why can’t a song about tragedy rock your ass? Maybe it would have more staying power and do more good for once instead of getting the channel changed.