"The greatest thing that's ever been organised in the history of the world, probably"
Thus spake Chris Martin of Coldplay at Live8 just now, and so perfectly summed up the inanity of the thing.
This is an intelligent chap. An intelligent chap with a good history degree from one of the best universities in the country. And yet he's happily spouting hyperbole in a vain effort to make people think that a bunch of pop stars no one's ever heard of and a handful of washed-up legends belting out tedious music of a Saturday afternoon is actually going to change anything.
Why didn't they charge for tickets, exactly? Whose bright idea was it, precisely, to hope that people would be guilt-tripped into donating cash by this pointless series of concerts? Who seriously thought that the focus of this mindless exercise would be on its nominal reason for existing - African poverty - rather than the behind-the-scenes spats and gossip about the stars?
The more they spout nonsense, over-exaggerating how significant these little shindigs are, the less impact it will have. The more people think "oh, it's really doing well and raising awareness and stuff", the less likely they'll be to actually get off their arses and do anything themselves.
And if you believe the "x amount of cash will feed a family for a year" things, just how many families could the people prancing about on the telly have fed if they went to the bank rather than poncing about in the park?
If you believe their adverts, in the time it's taken for me to type this 180 children have died of poverty.