Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ads for charities are too stylish and pretty to make anyone care

At Bestads this week I´m watching a couple of print ads for charities. They are all very clever and beautiful, thoughtful and stylish. I find myself thinking of interior design, about hanging something like this on my walls back home. Hmm... Perhaps that´s the wrong reaction. I´m supposed to be touched and apalled, right? I´m supposed to get tears in my eyes and open my wallet, right? I´m supposed to care for trees, oceans and people with skin diseases. But the fact is I don´t. At least not as a result of these pretty pictures. To me they are pretty pictures. Horror and disaster dressed up in a gown. Pain and tragedy all botoxed and covered in Mac lipgloss. Serious issues put on display by a Photoshop master.

I´m not opening my wallet. It´s not that I´m an ice cold selfish bitch; I simply have to make a choice whether to open my wallet for this or that; I need to make priorities among everything that matters.

We can care for a lot of things, but if you really want people to act on an opinion, you need to do better than a fancy art exhibition. All research on charity shows us that we get generous when we feel empathy, when we can sense the cause, as if it was a part of us. By watching others suffer we won´t feel involved; we need to imagine being the person in pain to wake up and give. Our selfishness and ego-centrism is what drives us to really be altruistic. Funny huh?

When I see the girl covered in bugs I don´t feel them crawling on me. I feel sorry for her - and I get in the mood for a trip to the art gallery.

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