Tag Archives: Red Cross

It’s Harder To Give Than To [insert any other verb]

Ugh, Dane Cook . . . 

So earlier this week Gordon showed me this video:

How much I actually enjoy Dane Cook [I typically do not]  aside, he really hits on something with this bit. People do get sad when they see these commercials, so they either change the channel as quickly as they can or they watch through the whole thing because “it’s the least they can do” before trying to bury the bad feelings in whatever regularly scheduled programming was taking a commercial break.

He makes the point that people don’t give because they’re being asked too nicely, which probably has some validity to it. I think two main points that people will give in their defence are: 1) I can’t afford it, and 2) it’s too much of a hassle, it’s too much effort. Continue reading

Fame Day: Matt Fraction and Hawkeye #7

Imagine my joy when I found out that Hawkeye #7 is being released on January 30th, making this post both contemporary and relevant. Redundancies aside, Matt Fraction is a man who’s worthy of a fair amount of praise.

First of all, he’s a man who clearly loves comics. Secondly, as the current writer of Fantastic Four he’s basing the Reed family on his own wife and two children. Thirdly, he’s married to extremely talented comics scribe Kelly Sue Deconnick, who has revitalized Captain Marvel in a huge way. Fourthly, he is also the writer of Marvel’s new-ish Hawkeye title, and it is fantastic.

Fraction’s take on the character is through the lens of a man who, when not rubbing elbows with super soldiers and Norse gods, is just a guy. Take the following panels into account:

Okay, that about just sums up what I said. Check this one out, too:


So now, we’ve established that Matt Fraction’s writing is great. David Aja, who illustrates the title, is also great [at drawing]. Greatness all across the board, you guys [and girls], this is a comic that you should be rolling your eyeballs across.

That’s worth a Fame Day. But you know what’s even more worth that? The cover on the left. It’s for, and the title of this blog post is pretty self-explanatory, Issue #7 of Hawkeye. Why is this a big deal?

For one thing, Fraction is taking time off of his current storyline to explore what happens when Hurricane Sandy hits Clint Barton’s neighbourhood. The real world affects Marvel’s that’s pretty neat.

Here’s something else that’s neat: Matt Fraction will be donating all of his royalties from the issue to Red Cross, which will work towards relief efforts for Sandy’s Victims. 

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, this man will not be making a cent off of the issue. It’s the story about “a girl trapped at a function that she can’t get out of when the hurricane comes, and about a guy helping his buddy move his infirm dad to safe ground” [check the above link]. It’s a story that, for every issue it sells, will benefit those who lost their homes due to a tragic natural disaster. 

If you are a person who thinks they might want to get into comics, this would be a great place to start. It’s a smart, funny title written by a talented man, and it’ll be $2.99, a fraction [pun not intended] of which will go towards people that genuinely need it. Think about it. And at the very least, give the man some credit.

Slacktivism, or: Elisa feels bad about saying that philanthropy might not always be awesome

This New York Times 2010 article, which I think ends rather too optimistically, discusses two instances of the Red Cross’ use of Twitter to help raise funds from the US after a typhoon in the Philippines and the following earthquake in Haiti a few months later. After the typhoon, the Red Cross’ toll-free donation number was a trending topic on Twitter; the article says that thousands of people were posting it and asking their followers to donate – but, in spite of all of the Twitter attention, there wasn’t any noticeable change in donations. After the Haiti earthquakes, the Red Cross launched a similar Twitter campaign, but instead of having to call a number, people could just text a single word to a certain number to donate $10. The Red Cross raised 3 million dollars in 48 hours.

Beyond the moral and ethical questions about slacktivism, simple practical issues interest me: how much people’s altruism increases in relation to its ease, if distanced giving lets us avoid the overwhelming sense of incompleteness and unending need that often comes from volunteering or working for charities in RL…

And yeah, social networking has done wonders for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to communicate or have a way to organize themselves – the election protests in Iran, for example. But I’m talking about things like the hunger site, where you go to their adful page and click a button to give “the value of 1.1 cups of food” to feed the hungry (also, now, to support education, veterans, abandoned pets, mammograms, the rainforest…), or care2.com, which has a similar “click once to give” thing as well as a “Petition Site” which literally has a “Today’s Hottest Petitions” link on their home page.

It seems like each separate out-of-borders emergency or consistently-in-need-of-funding-issue has a random YouTube video’s chance at viraldom to make it in to the public’s consciousness long enough for us to donate to it.

Yeah, every dollar that’s made via slacktivism, either the free advertiser-supported kind or the donate-easily-via-texting kind, does work. But the satisfied well-that’s-my-good-deed-for-the-week feeling that such distanced altruism gives is worrisome, because it instills a conclusive, complacent feeling that will ultimately be the death of any culture’s drive towards public service and philanthropy.