I just came back from a friend of a friend's place here in Lima where an Oscar party was happening. As you all know (or at least the cultured ones), La Teta Asustada - a Peruvian film - is nominated for best Foreign Language Film, so all of Peru is really excited about this event.
The party was happening at this lovely girl's flat where she actually made a red carpet (or something rather similar) from the elevator to her doorstep and into her living room. I was confused and couldn't make up my mind about it being rather weird or cute; I went with "cute" because I was in a good mood.
About 10 people showed up - all nicely dressed up as if they were going to the theatre - sat in front of the TV, watched the E! channel, ate snacks in industrial quantities and drank Pisco, the national spirit (don't say it's Chilean, they'll kill you). Everybody seemed to be caught up by the celebrity gossip and by how they were dressed up - which actually reminded me of a Lebanese wedding - where people seems to be competing for the most hideous and ridiculous outfits ever.
I had hardly seen such an attentive crowd, my attention, however, was mostly focused on the E! TV new slogan that says: "Be on E!". Which is nice, but it also means "Be on Ecstasy!". I found that to be really stupid, especially coming from an English Speaking TV channel. So I shared my opinion with the rest of the group, but got no attention - maybe just a couple of smiles implying "shut up foreigner" - apparently my remark wasn't as interesting as the outfits they were so deeply conversing about.
After having been rejected in my attempt to make the evening interesting, I realised that I was surrounded by a bunch of educated 30 year olds that work in various sectors of the economy, but the only thing that managed to get them all together was an award ceremony. I have nothing against it as we all need to have fun, but it got me thinking as to how to get this young generation interested in other more meaningful subjects. To try to get them as involved and opinionated about the environment, racism or poverty as they are about who slept with whom.
At first I thought about dressing the trees up with horrible pink dresses (to create awareness about the environment) or putting red carpets in the shanty towns (to get them talking about poverty), but then it struck me: using the stupid celebrities and make them do good things! I know, it already exists, but I am proposing some modifications.
Making Angelina Jolie the UNHCR Goodwill ambassador or honouring Shakira for her Barefoot foundation is brilliant, but for the moment the purpose of this "I want to help the poor while drinking Champagne in my hotel room" is selfish: it's to promote their own career.
The little dude in the lower left corner (right in the front) does not look happy
What I suggest is to make it a bit more about the topic itself, while keeping the celebrity the center of attention. It's a 3 step process:
1) We rank the current issues from most important to least important:
- Most important: famine in Africa
- Less important: drug use in the world's financial capitals
2) Then we rank the celebrities from most influential to least influential:
- Most influential: Me...or Brad Pitt
- Less influential: Jack Black
3) Finally we assign the most influential celebrity to the most important topic and force him/her to open a foundation dedicated to that issue and go on the field followed by cameras and make a big fuss about the subject so that everybody talks about it and finally gets something done. Kind of what's already happening, but more official and organised.
And the best part is that we could organise an award ceremony for it. But instead of giving the celebrities an award, we give them the issues they'll have to represent! They could come all ridiculously dressed to the ceremony, walk on a flashy-coloured carpet and talk to cameras - nothing changes. This way, people from all over the world could watch and be more aware of the actual issues that surround us!