A Christian Science Monitor feature today tackles the whole "can celebrities do anything about African genocide even though they are mostly brain dead" question, pitting celebrities (Mia Farrow, Spielberg) with a keen enough understanding of the nuances of foreign policy to realize adequately protesting Darfurian genocide requires boycotting the Olympics all the way in China, against dumb celebrities who go to Africa to adopt orphans they are too dumb to realize aren't actually orpans (Madonna). They talk to David Banda's sad father, and about how Kabbalah isn't really so widely-practiced down there, but the whole thing reminded usof the story of this week's New York Magazine story on real-life New Yorkers who go steal African babies so their families can look like Brangelina's.
In one section, a family takes their biological child Malcolm with them to Ethiopia to adopt a child whose mother can no longer afford to feed her.
Malcolm had gone along with his parents on the trip. It is a journey he remembers as utterly surreal: "When I got to Ethiopia, I was like, 'I'm not in Ethiopia! It's just a dream!'" In America, Malcolm had watched videos of Mesta and was excited to meet his sister, but after he arrived in Addis Ababa, he felt overwhelmed. "It's so sad! It's so sad!" he said over and over.
Malcolm, by the way, is six. Which reminded us: six-year-olds get a lot of shit for their narcissism, and not too much credit for their foreign policy expertise, but at the end of the day, they're people too. People with feelings who recognize other people with feelings and are capable of recognizing when something is "so sad." And like realizing that the world is "so sad," it's not such a bad lesson to realize that other people also realize this, and are occasionally moved to do something about it, and blah blah blah too bad Madonna couldn't really get this through to young Lourdes before she became bitchy queen of the middle school.