Tag Archives: charity

Why Does the Billionaire Romance Hero (Still) Exist?

No one needs a billion dollars, no one person needs that much money, starts the viral TikTok song by Chaz Cardigan. It’s a fairly straightforward thesis, and even though the original video has since been taken down, the sound persists and has been used by countless other users, with videos like the one I linked to collectively garnering millions of views. Backing up that initial point, the lyrics continue:

A billion is a thousand million,
That’s twenty-one thousand years of work
At minimum wage to make that money
To hoard like you deserve it.
No one makes a billion dollars
Without exploiting workers.

Although this earworm acts as evidence that a platform predominantly skewed toward Gen Z is cool with vilifying the ultrawealthy, the sobering truth remains that as a culture we worship billionaires. It’s not just people who go far out of their way to simp for Elon Musk, either-

-it’s the constant media attention paid to those who make more in a single day than most of us are able to in an entire year. To be absurdly rich, at least in North America, is to achieve celebrity status, and the news cycle reacts accordingly. While the lavish praise heaped at the feet of such icons as Warren Buffett can often feel like it borders on infatuation, things truly cross that line when we consider the literary genre of billionaire romance. The name really says it all: the category exists to portray fictional billionaires as the desirable objects of our affections. Continue reading

Am I Disablist? 2 Surprising Ways We Still Oppress Disabled People or: How A.J. Withers Changed the Way I Think About Disability

A little while ago, I was chatting with Evan when I made some offhand comment¬†about something being “crazy” or “lame”. Honestly, I can’t remember what the comment was about. I do remember¬†Evan¬†mentioned that he was making a conscious effort to avoid language that helped embed our negative cultural attitude¬†towards disability and mental illness.

At the time I was somewhat dismissive of his comment.¬†Don’t get me wrong, I certainly do believe that our words matter.

But in that moment, I just filled away his comment without much thought.

I wonder if the reason I was so dismissive is because of the social invisibility of disability. As a society, we tend to ignore the¬†voices¬†of disabled people, unless they have a particularly tragic and/or inspirational story to share. We don’t want to hear about the ways our society continues to be stacked against disabled people. And we certainly don’t want to hear that we need to change. Continue reading

Giving Money [Minus the Ice Bucket]

I’d say there’s no better time than right now to discuss what we do with our money in light of the hundreds upon thousands of Ice Bucket Challenge videos that have been taking up most of the internet the past few days [FYI, Emily Blunt’s is the best].¬†Just yesterday my youngest brother posted one to Facebook, so¬†it’s gotten just about as close to home as it possibly can.

Now there’s been a lot of discussion about how¬†this appears to be just the latest trend, which probably has a lot to do with the sheer number of celebrities who are getting in on this. What can’t be argued with, though, is the fact that in a very short time this challenge has resulted in over $50 million being donated¬†for ALS, which is roughly 80% of what the organization¬†raised last year. That’s big, that’s worth applauding. I’m going to end this paragraph on that note.

What else it is, though, is fun. It’s fun watching people like Bill Gates and¬†Nick Offerman get soaked in frigid water and calling out their peers. It’s fun when our peers do it to us, and when we in turn choose to douse ourselves in glacial H2O. That makes it easier to give, I think,¬†there’s this pervasive lightheartedness about it that makes us more inclined to reach into our wallets and give howevermany dollars towards ending Lou Gehrig’s Disease [an ailment I only very recently connected to these shenanigans]. Giving gets infinitely harder when there’s none of that fun involved.

Here’s my favourite scene from a pretty bad 2004 Jackie Chan movie [no offence to Steve Coogan, but we weren’t watching it for him]:

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Fame Day: Jose Mujica

We don’t debate nearly as much as we should on what a Socialist society would look like, but if I had to guess, it’d probably be pretty similar to the administration of Jose Mujica.

Uruguay’s current leader has been dubbed by some as “the world’s poorest president”. Swiftly gaining acclaim as news of his actions and lifestyle spread across the internet, Mujica has been joined the all-too-small ranks of “honorable politicians”, perhaps filling the void left by the death of Nelson Mandela in December of last year.

In a world where poverty, inequality, and economic injustice are increasingly recognized, Mujica stands out for his shocking rejection of the pomp and circumstance that accompany power. Mujica drives a beat-up Volkswagon Beetle, and lives with his wife on a chrysanthemum farm on the outskirts of the capitol with their three-legged dog, Manuela. Living off of 12,000 dollars, and donating 90% of his presidential salary to charity, it sounds almost more like the setting for a political fairy tale than a reality.

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Fame Day: Alice and Kev

If you’ve been reading this feature for some time you’ll know that we typically laud things for being good¬†and then some. Tom Morello is a great musician, sure, but he’s¬†also¬†an activist of the highest caliber.¬†If I Were You is a podcast featuring a¬†very funny internet duo, but it¬†also has them tearing terrible people a new one. Today’s installment is a 60-part story¬†that was created using the video game The Sims 3.

goodjobkev

It’s¬†also¬†a highly successful¬†attempt at translating a game’s playthrough into a compelling narrative that discusses the realities of poverty. That may have been a lot to take in, I realize.

Alice and Kev was created by Robin Burkinshaw, a games design student at the time, in mid-2009. He describes the outset of this venture as starting out relatively simply:

“This is an experiment in playing a homeless family in¬†The Sims 3. I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any of the game‚Äôs unrealistically easy cash routes. It was inspired by the old ‚Äėpoverty challenge‚Äô idea from players of The Sims 2, but it turned out to be a lot more interesting with The Sims 3‚Ä≤s new living neighborhood features.”

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CWR Writers‚Äô Roundtable: No Red Kettles and “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

EVAN:¬†Dearest audience, this week we dedicate our blog posts [more or less] to the holidays, and today’s Writers’ Roundtable is especially festive with not one, but¬†two Christmas-related topics. Seeing as this is the season of giving the first one,¬†website/movement No Red Kettles,¬†¬†is particularly appropriate.

KAT: Well, I first learned about the debate around the Salvation Army on my Facebook feed where it was causing a pretty big debate. 

The first article I read about it insisted that the Salvation Army “hates gays”, which I immediately thought was pretty fishy.¬†The Sally Ann did release an official response, but the debate has continued, because for many people it has clicked that the Salvation Army is a Christian organization, and they aren’t so sure they want to support it because of that.

This video from No Red Kettles pretty well sums up that argument:

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