Volunteering Ain't Just For High School

I think we can all agree that Facebook really highlights the unexpected suckiness of people around us. We see it all the time; an offhanded status update, the obnoxious and completely not PC Youtube clip they post to their wall, etc.

Today my grievance is with everyone who wrote "Oh my gosh I am SOOOO devastated about Haiti" the first day. I can't count the number of status updates I read like that. Then suddenly... SILENCE. When I sent out my call for volunteers, donations, help in Haiti, suddenly they all went silent. The same people who "couldn't tear themselves away from the television" didn't have time to consider what they might actually *do*.

In today's information age (as much as I hate that phrase) people feel like by chiming in with emotion they are doing something. Because sometimes it creates a tipping point (see: Iranian protesters, 2009. Enough people Tweeted about it that it got increased media coverage and they could spread information. But that situation is different because action from over here would have done nothing, so a purely emotional, e-response was somewhat justifiable).

My friend and I discussed this the other night over a nice dinner punctuated by Jersey Shore-ish behavior at the table next to us (note to us: next time skip PB Sushi on "Sake Special" night). In between the crying of the girl next to us (she appeared to be crying about a guy, but she was more likely crying about the fact that she's a dead ringer for Snookie), my friend and I discussed how lame people's Facebook "activism" can be.

I'd like to harken to another example. The day that everyone posted a color as their status. "Red!" "Pink!" "Black!" "White!" Which led everyone else to wonder why the hell people (always women) were doing this. And then it came out: you were supposed to post the color of your bra, and create a frenzy of confusion. And THIS was somehow supposed to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Um. Ok.

Now, I'd like to ask a breast cancer survivor how she feels about that.

So it seems that we have this magical tool of the internet and all these social networks, but what can be used for immense good can also be used for immense stupidity. It's just a crazy world in which Farmville (whatever the f that is) gets the same space as pleas for social justice. And probably actually gets *more* attention. So basically what I'm saying is that Facebook has quickly taught me how dumb people are.

That said, if you *have* been inspired by what you've seen about Haiti and want to help, there are one billion ways to do it. Tell your doctor friends that medical volunteers are needed (some of them don't even realize it until they're told!), collect the simplest of medicines and donate them to a local collection spot, drop $5 to a charity online. Literally every bit helps. My personal charity will be Real Medicine Foundation. Not to hate on Wyclef's charity, and good for him for having one, but I really never got over his remake of Stayin Alive. ("Looka Looka Looka Shorty got back...Should I ax her for a dance? There's so many in the wolfpack...")

I don't mean to overlook the "real" news of the week (Conan O'Brien vs. Jay Leno: The Contest That Isn't Really Even A Contest Because I Think We Can All Agree That Jay Leno Isn't Funny).
But just had to get this off my chest.

In other news, I've started taking tango. Tonight was my second class and it was yet another hour of pure comedy (and less because of my dance skillz than the general dressing and demeanor of my lovely dance colleagues). I need to get a videocamera stat.