(Damn, they moved the video from the Steve Chase awards - here's the link from the Desert Sun: Celebrities abound at Steve Chase awards gala)
For a while, everyone's been talking about Barry's humanitarian awards and the work of the Manilow fund. I noticed, in the back of my mind, that his charity foundation stands out from the pack in So Cal/Hollywood, but I just couldn't put my finger on why.
When I get a question like that in my head I chew it to death! But I think I finally figured it out...
Whenever you hear the stereotypical "A-lister" talk about charity, with very few exceptions the promotion is less about a charity and more about "MEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" The celebrity manages to shoehorn in mention of the charity while starring in a movie or on a show, or what award s/he is receiving at the moment. It's like their agent or PR person realized they look like a jerk by talking about themselves so much, or acting foolish on TMZ, so they sprinkle a little charity on top for show.
The other issue is when politics and "charity" collide. "MY way is the ONLY CORRECT WAY and if you disagree with me AT ALL or have any other priority besides MINE then you are [insert expletive-filled insult here]". All this in the name of "tolerance". The biggest mouths on the A-list seem physically incapable of tolerating anyone who disagrees with their world-view or priorities, and they take advantage of any interview, papparazzi encounter, or award ceremony to insult anyone who takes a different view on whatever the issue du jour is. All the while talking about "tolerance". Figure that one out.
The Manilow Fund and TPTB in charge don't seem to function this way, in the view from my armchair. Take a look at the beneficiaries list (click that link on the main site - all of the pages are inside IFRAME tags) - the scope of the fund is specific enough to have a clear set of foci, yet broad enough that almost anyone can find a genre or specific charity they can relate to. And on top of that, they invite people to suggest their favorite charities! No other "celebrity charity fund" or sociopolitical initiative in Hollywood/Palm Springs/Malibu/Los Angeles does this.
In addition, you don't hear TPTB tooting their horn each and every time they make a donation to a cause. They just do it and let the efforts bear fruit where they will. Sure, Barry does benefit concerts; according to some messages I've seen he waives his performance fee for benefits too. (Which we can safely assume is bigger than a bread box - not a small donation on his part.) But benefit shows are not bully pulpits, either. When Barry gives a press conference he's publicizing the charity, not himself. You don't hear TPTB extolling their own charities while criticizing fans or the public who have different priorities - in fact, they invite the public and fans to tell them what other worthy causes they should look at.
When I first saw the announcement that the Manilow Fund was asking for suggestions for charities to support, I submitted one of my own favorities. I will be very happy if they choose to support it. But if they don't, I'm not going to get my panties in a bunch. I imagine there are a lot of suggestions to sort through in that office and I'm glad I don't have that job.
I don't doubt for a moment that Barry's fans get the point about helping others in their communities and letting others do the same in their own way. My hope is that Barry's colleagues and neighbors in the entertainment industry learn that lesson too.
In other news.......
We found out that the "fan in training" due in July is definitely a girl. Yay!
However the doctor has recommended some additional testing. If this were anyone else I'd say it was no big deal but Pete and I are nervous. So if you are so inclined, some positive thoughts or prayers to whatever deity you might acknowledge would be gratefully accepted.