Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hey, I'm walking here!

It’s finally Spring so you know what that means! Opening Day? Flowers blooming? Mother’s Day? All affirmative but no, more then all that it’s Walk season! Yes, the Walk for Hunger, Aid’s Walk, MS Walk, etc. Each and everyone an ultra, ultra worthy causes. However, you knew there would be a however, are there too many? I say thee YES! The problem is three-fold. First, it’s the car alarm effect where you just sop noticing, second is the redundancy in that it seems there are walks for the same cause multiple times by multiple groups and lastly, the well of money’s to give just comes dry now and again. I think people with causes and those that support them are phenomenal individuals but I question how effective this form of funding has become. I’m not cold or anything and I have both supported and participated in walks I just feel the original idea has kind of gone astray.

The original concept of walks for raising funds for charity was to also raise awareness almost in the same vein of the protests of the 60’s and 70’s by a show of unity in a public forum. Previous to this most efforts were can collections, raffles, something like basketball marathon (sponsored $$$ per basket etc), which raised money but not awareness. The walks did both and actually continue to raise money. The awareness part…I’m not so sure anymore. There are simply too many, stacked one on top of or right after one another every weekend. I think people’s reaction has become indifferent as in “oh god, another friggin walk I have to wait out of change my plans”. Or if you’re a lesser-known walk maybe you don’t have the clout to get the downtown walk but rather the slightly left of center walk. What’s that? The city/state doesn’t just shut down downtown traffic at a whim and it involves planning and the like? Now, nearly all of these raise money so bottom line is they work I simply think there are soooooo many that the raising awareness, not just funds, has gone the way of the dinosaur.

What probably frustrates me most is the redundancy factor in that it seems there are multiple walks, and for that matter, charities, supporting the same cause but splitting their resources. A few years ago I did a walk for Autism, as it’s a subject near and dear to my heart. I’ve missed it the last few years but was distressed to see there was now a second group sponsoring a walk for Autism. I was just surprised because really, wouldn’t one united front mean more for awareness and research funding dollars raised? Now, maybe I’m wrong maybe 2 or 3 different groups separate from each other works better although I’m mystified as to how. I’m also not na├»ve and know that a lot of times charity can be a vanity thing as silly as that sounds. Here in Boston 2 well known Red Sox champion the same cause, ALS. However, both have their own foundation they are attached to carrying their own name. Wouldn’t it mean so much more for them to support the same foundation? Being the top dog of this or that charity means a lot to people. I also know sometimes there are underlying meanings (taxes and otherwise) that make having differing groups supporting the same cause. I also know some people are paid to run charities (sometimes a lot) as it entails a lot of work and sometimes there are splits over money. And lastly, as I’ve see close at hand with a group my boss’s wife runs which does unreal work. The principals who started the local chapter just had different ideas philosophically and are now splitting the local resources doing the exact same work. I don’t know enough about charity work to say I’m correct but in my humble opinion, one cause, one walk, one common united front makes for a stronger charity

The last thing is let’s face it, we all care about something but in this time of gas over $4.00 a gallon and $6.00 for a 5 pound bag of flour, money’s too tight to mention and how do we pick and choose who and what to support? I mean, how does one decide which to support? Your best friend? Cancer research? Your sister? The Homeless? It really does become a matter of how much you can give. Charity certainly does begin at home but you need to take care of your home before you can give too much to charity. As I think of just off the top of my head the number of causes I should be concerned with it’s staggering. Diabetes, MS, autism, depression, heart health, breast cancer, cancer research, alcoholism, children in Africa, children in South America…and on and on. Every one of those things has directly affected my family, my friends or me. So, how do you pick and choose? All are good causes, all are good events, and everyone who participates is a better person then I.

Since I started writing this diatribe the devastating cyclone that tore through Asia is most on people’s minds and a reminder that when we all look towards one goal we are so much better then when rudderless. Don’t think of me as too cynical, callous, or hard (ok, maybe hard haha) as there are very few bad causes. I simply think we need to get beyond the walk, become united in certain similar goals, and understand as much as we’d like to, most of us can only give so much to so many at any given time. I think anyone who gets up off his or her ass to raise money and participate is awesome. I just think a different type of event and more groups united in their causes would mean greater results sooner. Gosh, I really am a cynical prick


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The C-Word

And now for something completely different:

I can’t think of another word in the English language that draws more ire from the female population then the “C-word” (rhymes with hunt and from this point on, for my own safety, shall be referred to as the C-word). What is it that makes this word so reviled? I mean, there must be 100 euphemisms for the female genitalia, many not very flattering, yet none elicit the response the C-word does. I’ve tried to delve somewhat into the etymology of the word but have come up with nothing definitive. For all I know the word could have ended up being pop, dog, hung, or lint. But it didn’t. So why does this word carry so much more weight? I sometimes think it’s the short, hard sound of the word that just sounds ugly. I can’t think of an uglier sounding word. Maybe it just sounds ugly cause it sounds like the word it is and had the word been say, dog, maybe that would then sound ugly…hmmm. Hell, in England, among certain groups it can be a term of endearment (Trainspotting anyone?) Let’s leave it at this. I don’t think it’s the word or the body part but referring to a person, particularly a female, as a C-word is saying you think she is the lowest of the low. Lower then “bitch”, “slut”, or “whore” for sure. In fact, used sparingly, it can be a very powerful statement (think Richard Gere telling Lynette what she was in An Officer and a Gentleman). No matter how you slice it, other then maybe the N-word (which has no place even being part of the vocabulary in my opinion) there is no word you are likely to hear uttered that will elicit such an almost uniform negative response.