from the department of dread prescience

Not two weeks ago I was grousing on this very site about the persistence of Band Aid on the radio. I concurred with Neal Ascheron of the New York Review of Books that Africa functions as some inexhaustible vein of misery from which Westerners feed. And now, twenty years later, a group of pampered Brit-poppers are banding together once more to sing that "Do They Know It's Christmastime" song again. Again. I tell you, we need the Middle East for its oil, China for its Wal-Mart-supply sweatshops, and Africa for its burden of suffering. From various parts of the globe we procure the goods and the energy sources that make our lives easy, and from various bits of Africa we procure the empathy and compassion that allows us to feel at ease with the cheap goods and cheap energy. Everybody rallied behind the "Feed the World" mantra of Band Aid and Live Aid and whatever else, because "the world" in that case simply meant "Ethiopia," and back in 1984 we had the luxury of pretending that Ethiopia's famine came about by a regrettable but natural drought. Never mind a war with Eritrea that had been hacking up the countryside for the last ten years. I wonder whether a new but still Bono'd Band Aid can persuade the pampered millions to part with the 14.99 or whatever it'll cost. THEY'LL JUST DOWNLOAD IT OFF KAZ@A, YOU FOOLS! THE MILLIONS WILL STEAL FOOD RIGHT OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF STARVING... OH... RWANDANS OR LES COTE D'IVORIENS OR WHOMEVER. THOSE WITH ARMS LEFT WILL THROW THEM IN THE AIR AND SCREAM OUT "WHY, CONSUMERS OF INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS? WHY?" And so forth.