One of the time-honored traditions of the holiday season is the Salvation Army Santa. Standing there in his red suit, shiny black belt, and ringing his big bell, SAS is a reminder to us all that we are fortunate for what we have, that there are many people in need, and that we can shed pounds of guilt just by throwing a few coins in the donation pot, on our way into the store, on our way to buying a bunch of crap to give to people who probably don’t need it and often don’t want it. ‘Tis the season for giving and, as we all know, charity is the gift of feeling good about yourself.
On the other hand, charity is perhaps the oldest accepted form of income redistribution, aside from armed robbery and outright war. That is to say, people around the world do try to give some of their extra bounty to those who have none. So it has been for millennia, and it’s probably a good practice. Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan have a different angle on the whole Grinch thing, but that’s a story for another time.
A big problem that people seem to have with the global charity game, however, is that it has become a big business unto itself.Charities compete with each other to get your attention and your extra dollarinos. Glossy envelopes pour through mail slots every day, proclaiming “Emergency!”, “Urgent!”, with pictures of starving, fly-covered children, or soiled polar bears clinging to shrinking chunks of ice. Who should get our paltry stop-gap donation, the suffering humans, or the innocent animals? What would Meryl Streep do? What to do, what to do! We feel good when we give and we probably help a little bit by giving, but in so doing we support a bloated charity industry that feeds off of our guilt. The solution, whatever it turns out to be, certainly isn’t coming in the next few weeks.
That’s why I say let’s celebrate our convoluted moral predicament with a charity guilt-off! As part of Paul Klemperer’s Festivus Celebration, a portion of the ticket sales (after expenses, just like the big charities do it), will be donated to a charity to be determined in a Charity Guilt-Off. The rules are simple: Two teams compete, representing Suffering Humans and Innocent Animals. The audience decides. In a heart-warming gathering reminiscent of the Circus Maximus, some lucky recipient will get a thumbs up this holiday season, and you can be part of the fun!
Ticket information: www.pksax.com