Tuesday, December 14, 2004

"Giving Something Back"

How many times have you heard a top-tier actor, sports figure or other celebrity refer to a charitable act as "giving something back" to the community? Of course, if the celebrity happens to be a leftist, it's usually referring to something they did to coax others to ante up. But that's not my point.

I want to analyze (briefly) the meaning of the act of "giving something back."

I first heard the term from a baxabaw player. It may have been Magic Johnson (of magic johnson fame), but I can't recall. Whoever it was, he made a point to mention that he grew up in a poor neighborhood (hood, in the jargon), and now that he's successful, he wanted to "give something back."

"Giving something back" sort of implies that you've taken something away. I can't in my wildest imagination come up with what Magic Johnson might have taken from his educationally, financially and philosophically deprived hood that brought him to his current degree of success, but I'm sure it didn't involve anything that pouring a few tens of thousands of dollars into the hood can repay. Of course, it's a fact that the gift is obviously helpful and welcome in the community, but it's hardly any kind of payback. The fallacy is further amplified by the fact that celebrities "give something back" to people and places of whom-which they know nothing. I don't think this is the trail to enlightenment........

The "real deal" is this. None--not one--nary a singularity of these celebrities really really believes he/she is worth anywhere near the amount he earns. Well, I think there might be one somewhere, but I haven't found him. Or her. He'll see one of his old pals in the hood, sitting on the stoop sipping on a brown paper bag, and think "there, but for the grace of (fill in the name of your favorite invisible friend) go I." He completely (this is where I run to the end of my meager amount of psychological expertise) blanks out the years of hard work, practice, study, drilling, trials, lessons and the astounding degree of sustained discipline that got him to his lofty level, and assumes that what he did could've happened to anybody.

Through decades of hard work and perserverence, I've managed to lift myself out of the gutter and elevated myself to almost halfway up the face of the curb. I know that it's I who have done it and that I deserve every quarter they toss me.

If I find a deserving cause to which to donate, I will. It won't be "giving something back," it'll be good ol' fashioned Good Will.

Col. Hogan

1 comment:

? said...

Good Point ;)