A Sad Commentary on the West

Jordon Cooper pointed out Mike Todd’s post about the Product Red Campaign. Product red is a whole line of products under one brand name: Red, as in REDemption.

The sale of each Red shirt or ipod or whatever else will generate a small donation toward relieving AIDS. Todd points out that this is a good campaign because it will help people, but in the larger scope of things, it highlights just how consumed the West is with greed and consumerism.

He also stated:
“The currency of this material, self-centered culture is “stuff.” Bono is brilliant as he has realized this, and knows we will not give out of love. HIV/AIDS is killing people in numbers too horrible to give voice to. And while this troubles us, it apparently doesn’t trouble us enough to give out of love. The brilliance of Product (Red) is that it will get the money out of us anyway. “

I agree with him. I didn’t do much about the AIDS crisis until a friend became involved. With that personal connection I began to give money and to find out more about the problem.

The idea of buying a shirt so that a dollar or two goes toward the AIDS crisis is, in my opinion, kind of humiliating. I’d be humiliated to give only a dollar or two to a charity or cause, no matter what it is: Free Range Chickens in Belgium, Unlimited Carrots for House Rabbits, or the United Way.

It’s a slap in the face in a sense to only give pocket change. Of course the only alternative for many is inaction. I know that applies to myself, and that is even more shameful and humiliating than giving a dollar.

But fret not, Todd has an alternative:

Todd challenges his readers to give just $10 toward the Stephen Lewis Foundation, an organization that is addressing the AIDS crisis in Africa. No shirt, no ipod, no product red, but I think Bono would be OK with that.

Bono may even think you’re cooler without the Product Red shirt, and I know that’s what really matters.