Your Cause Marketing Made Me Hate Poor People

09.1.11

The four of us are in a taxi cab in San Francisco when the cabbie starts telling us about his smart granddaughter. She is seven and doesn’t like to eat breakfast. When he told her that children in Africa didn’t have any food she said, “So.”

Just like that, she said, “so?” and nothing else. Because starving children in Africa mean nothing to a seven year old girl living multigenerationally in San Francisco.

Last night I posted a quick video where I opened up a new ASUS Lamborghini computer. Within seconds a comment appeared on YouTube:

meanwhile in Africa….

I’m going to take a note from the seven year old. SO?

I’m going to go ahead and blame cause marketing for all this nonsense, this ridiculous middle class guilt that prevents us from enjoying anything nice if it isn’t tied to a charity. Sometimes you just want something wonderful, and sometimes you work your ass off to afford something wonderful and there’s no reason to not enjoy it.

Charity matters. Giving of onesself is something that makes us better people. Biblically and traditionally¬†the most cherished gifts, the ones seen as being the most pious are anonymous. When you donate two cents on every hundred dollars and then take out seventy three ads to tell me that you’re fighting breast cancer I don’t call that giving. I call that taking.

Understand that it’s not just Africa fatigue over here, I’m also sick to death of the pink ribbons that the Komen foundation slaps on everything. Stop fighting breast cancer with known carcinogens and start giving money to cancer prevention. For fuck’s sake am I the only one with a brain around here?

Last week a celebrity put out a press release that in lieu of gifts for his one year old daughter’s birthday guests were asked to make donations to a charity. One year old’s don’t care about gifts, but they LOVE boxes. Parents of one year old’s often need gifts because they’re young families surviving on more love than money. So good for you mister celebrity that doesn’t need an extra pack of diapers, this is the moment when you invite friends and family over and say “no gifts please”. It’s not necessary for folks to give you something every time they walk over your threshold, and it’s tacky as hell to tell folks what they have to do with their money.

But it only gets worse, because at some point one of your neighborhood kids will not show proper gratitude when his parents give him a gift and the parents will have a sixth birthday party with a charity theme. Really. These horrible people will insist that their little giver has everything he needs and that everyone should just show up with a donation to save the planet. This is uncomfortable, everyone knows that the kid wants gifts, but you’ve got to buy the dumb charity card that’s probably going to just support a fun run or some swank offices in DC so that little Johnny’s Volvo driving mommy can show Los Angeles how full of gratitude her son is.

I don’t want to be asked at the grocery checkout if I’d like to donate to anyone. I really resent the big grocery chains asking for my money so that they can say they’ve given a hundred bazillion dollars to charity and given back to the community. If they want to give back to the community they’ll make sure the folks in my neighborhood have health insurance.

I love that bloggers are working with nonprofits to highlight the plight of those less fortunate. I like that they’re not asking us to do anything, just to listen and to be aware. I have some serious cause marketing fatigue.