It is marketing genius, I think, when people are used to running the gamut of rattling cans for this, that and the other charity, to offer would-be contributors a huge payback in terms of kudos and self approval. Its why Children In Need and Red Nose Day are so popular - people get into the spirit of it as if its an annual holiday - some get their faces on the telly for having picked something 'whacky' to do and drummed up sufficient sponsorship. People team up at work or in their street and all congratulate each other.
I have to wonder how third world kids would feel, if they were expected to show gratitude for Red Nose Day by watching clips of, say, people sitting in baths of baked beans, to raise money. Hey kids, a whole bath full of food, and oh look at the big hairy man. And now its unfit to eat, isn't it? And listen, everybody's laughing. Tough luck! Ooh look, that whole school class is having a party with cake and ice cream to raise money for you, aren't you pleased? And there's a person who bought their fat kid six pairs of shoes because the shoeshop is donating some of the profits. Aww aren't they kind.
I get the feeling that a lot of people would stop playing or paying altogether, if scenes of the fun were used to torture the children. The system as it exists benefits everybody, but our idea of a lovely day to remember would be the third world idea of horrendous waste, or possibly an undreamed of heaven on earth.
Still, that's similar to how it must be for wheelchair users to attend a gala function (in their honour) and be regaled with self approving tales by the jammy gits who climbed a mountain and took beautiful shots of the views, to raise some money. Talk about rubbing it in. Take a knife and twist it, why don't you. "Oh Lordy Massa, thank you Massa, that's me in my place (just behind your pet Labrador that cost you more in Vets fees last year) and ever so grateful. You wanker."
The thing is, the kind and clueless don't actually see what they are doing. They continue to get a great deal of personal satisfaction and warm fuzzy feelings out of 'helping the less fortunate' and we as a society encourage this psychologically unhealthy leaning towards smother love. We bump up the egos of those that 'help', to encourage more money out of them, irrespective that it grinds into them the concept of difference as a victim state, as somehow being 'less.'
If hardly any of us had functioning legs, for example, there would be:
- no steps,
- no heavy doors,
- no slim doors,
- no silly thin supermarket aisles made more hazardous by special offer build-outs.
- No huge gaps between trains and platforms,
- no high handles or bolts
- better parking regulations around kerb ramps,
- wider, better maintained pavements.
There would be precious little money put into research for things like hip replacements or even fallen arches and the poor sods who were born with functioning legs would be the ones being subjected to sympathy and pity because they couldn't keep up, couldn't play wheelchair basketball, never developed such strong arms, kept hitting their heads; or later in life had to shuffle painfully up slopes (when anyone who's had one dodgy leg knows that short steps would be much easier.)
The walkers would probably be complaining to government that the push buttons to open doors were too low down the wall, and too far from the door to get there before it slammed on your nose. That they were bullied at school, with their toes always run over, and quips about whether the air was thin up there. There, there, poor dears.
The thing that got me about the book I read yesterday, which was only 100 years old, was the way that difference was absolutely accepted as a victim state. The lesson that we are all human was dressed as being kind to the less fortunate. It was apologetic. It blatantly aimed to turn disgusted condescension into warm hearted condescension that would be rewarded by God; indifference or loathing into deigning to administer a pat on the head in exchange for those ubiquitous warm fuzzy feelings. In its defence, it had to work from a real starting point of ignorance and self interest, societal expectation and 'the done thing.'
If you look at people with a difference from you and come over all warm and fairy-godmother-ish, then good for you. Yes, pat yourself on the back, you are way better than the self interested types who have no time for egalitarian concepts. Just stop and check whether you also feel superior to the people you help. You're not. You're just different, and being in the majority is the only thing providing you with this false blanket of security.
Glad I got that off my chest.