The Problem With Live Earth

This post, written by Bernie Heidkamp, originally appeared on PopPolitics

Normally, we at PopPolitics don't like to feed the beast. The obsession with scantily-clad celebrities reflects a lowest common denominator approach to pop culture.

But having said that, we can't resist beginning a post on the complications and contradictions of today's Live Earth concerts with an image from the front page of Boston.com, Boston Globe's website.

Yes, as the caption indicates, that's Shakira doing her best to combat global warming.

Putting the visual irony aside, the image is very revealing (darn -- couldn't help myself). As Ben Sisario of The New York Times points out, the balance that Live Earth organizers are trying to strike between style and substance is somewhere between difficult and impossible:
Live Earth has already been hit by a predictable series of analytical arrows. Environmental bloggers questioned the need for big, energy-gorging concerts. News reports pointed out that performers would be making trips around the world in exhaust-spewing jets, and that some of them (Kanye West, Sheryl Crow) have songs in S.U.V. commercials.
And the ratio of political effectiveness to celebrity glitz is not always clear. Reebee Garofalo, a professor of media and technology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, who has written about music's role in mass movements, noted that many big charity events, like the concerts for Nelson Mandela, had tangible success; Mr. Mandela himself acknowledged the importance of music to the worldwide anti-apartheid movement.
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