19 October 2012

Raising awareness about 'raising awareness'

Is it just me, or are you all getting completely overwhelmed with all these ribbons, walks, campaigns, solicitations and protests over everything from cancer to general malaise?  The inimitable Marc MacYoung gives us a look at the Social Concience Industry, and why you should take all this stuff with a truckload of salt:

That's the happy version. Certain 'noble causes' have crossed the line, however, from simple spin doctoring. They've crossed into intentionally misinterpreting data, twisting statistics, and lying and redefining terms -- all to make the problem sound worse than it is. Not that the real problem isn't bad enough, but you need big numbers for it to be a 'crisis.' Hence the spin, number inflation, constant campaigning, and lying for a good cause.

By raising your awareness, I also can manipulate you into believing by donating money or walking for a cause it means you're participating in the solution. You're doing something about it. You're doing good by giving money. With this strategy, I can justify my career, protect my job, ensure my income, and excuse myself for all the spin, misinformation and lies I'm providing (it's for a good cause after all, and you don't need to know all the dirty little details about how it works). But most of all, I can justify all the money I'm diverting from getting to the people who need help.

All the while I'm doing this, I'm make a huge production about the good and noble things I'm doing for such a just cause. The warm fuzzy is not just for you, it makes me feel good about myself and all the good I'm doing. In the end though, I'm doing exactly shit about aiding the people who need the actual help. The individuals who are suffering from, dealing with, or facing this problem are not benefiting, I am. Now mind you, this isn't corruption. Oh no. It's jobs. It's what I am being paid for and spending money on to raise your awareness.
You REALLY should RTWT.  Long, but well worth pondering.

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