This earthquake in Haiti has been some surreal shit to watch. And not just because of the magnitude of the devastation, but because there’s a sense that, any minute now, it’s about to shift from being a story about the forces of good coming together to help people in a time of need, to one of the all-time great displays of just how fucked the fuck up people really are. Even more so than Hurricane Katrina.
I’ve been avoiding watching the coverage on cable news and on the Internets, because lord knows I’ve got problems of my own, and it’s not like me sitting around for hours on end watching dead bodies pile up is gonna help matters, but I might have to start tuning in. This shit looks like it might be about to get interesting. I hope no one famous dies next week and completely overshadows it.
I was watching MSNBC last night, and they had Brian Williams just standing there delivering a report in front of a dead child lying in the street. You know good and well Brian Williams or one of his producers made sure it was in the frame. They may have even given one of the locals a ham sandwich, in exchange for moving it to where they needed it to be. This was during the evening, and I know there were saying Haiti gets mad dark at night, no Rush Limbaugh, because a lot of places don’t have power. But some street lights do still work, because they’re powered by solar panels. What’s the likelihood that a child just so happened to drop dead beneath one of those street lights. If the light had fallen on it, it wouldn’t have been working. Use your brains, people. The ultimate coup would be if they could find the body of a dead white kid. They’d arrange for it to not be covered by a blanket, so people could see. Don’t think production staff isn’t on a hunt.
And that’s just MSNBC, the classier of the cable news networks. I didn’t see this myself, but I heard Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who’s always struck me as mad suspect, performed surgery on a child live on air, on CNN. Let me guess: the TIs saw where MSNBC had Brian Williams standing in front of a dead child and decided they were gonna have to up their ante. You know how CNN will occasionally come up with some bizarre shit, to try to compete with Fox News for ratings. Remember when they brought in holograms to provide analysis of the 2008 presidential election? I shudder to think what they might do, if people’s interest in Haiti starts to fade over the weekend, because it’s mostly only black people dying down there. They might bring in holograms of dead white people.
A lot of the worst shit going on down there is the shit we’ve yet to actually see, either because it didn’t really happen, or they don’t have the resources to bring it to us. When I was watching MSNBC last night, they said that some guy, a photographer for another news organization, said that people had begun to build roadblocks out of corpses, to halt the delivery of aid, because they were pissed that it was taking. But they didn’t have an actual picture of this – which seems odd to me, since the guy was, after all, a motherfucking photographer. I guess they think I’m just that stupid. The best they could come up with was a shot of a buncha people just jumping around, as if they were monkeys or some shit. Even that was mad scary, mostly because it didn’t make any sense. If I were unfortunate enough to be stuck in Haiti right now, I’d find a nice place to have a seat and wait for someone to show up with a ham sandwich. All of that moving about for no apparent reason would just burn precious energy.
The point they were trying to get across, I think, is that the natives are growing restless. We’re coming up on five days since the actual earthquake, and mad people are still buried beneath the rubble, waiting to receive medical attention, looking for something to eat, looking for somewhere to sleep indoors, so on and so forth. It’s only a matter of time before they start acting a damn fool. They were saying that the US military has been sent in, and I notice they kept making it a point to say that they’ve been given orders not to kill anyone. They’re just there to preserve law and order. Like they do in Iraq. It sounded as if they were preparing us for some shit to pop off. Already, I’m hearing reports of roving bands of looters (the term they’ve been using), armed with machetes. We could fuck around and go from trying to help Haiti to being at war with Haiti.
It’s a good thing help is on the way, courtesy of Wyclef. Or is it? The other day, Wyclef put out the call for people to text Yele to 501501, to donate $5 to his Yele Haiti Foundation, and in no time at all he raised $1 million from people who think that’s how charity should work. I remember reading about it on this site the other day and thinking that, in addition to a great work of charity, and a great display of the power of social networking, this was one of the all-time great PR coups. (That’s just how my mind works.) Wyclef was already like the Bono of Haiti. Now, they might actually elect him president, similar to how Manny Pacquiao might run to be the president of the Philippines. It didn’t occur to me what the outcome might be, if Yele turned out to be a huge scam, because honestly, cynical as I am, my mind can’t even fathom someone pulling some shit like that. It’s literally beyond my realm of comprehension.
And yet, it may have happened. The Smoking Gun, which seems to exist to throw rappers under a bus, has documents showing how, up until just now, Yele basically existed to funnel money from well-meaning people into Wyclef’s pocket. Angelina Jolie gave Yele the $1 million People magazine gave her for the pictures of the baby she had with Brad Pitt (not that black one), and Wyclef used it to pay for rent on a studio he owns, a fee to himself to perform for his own charity event, TV airtime for a production company he owns down in Haiti, so on and so forth. If he bought a single Haitian kid a ham sandwich with that money, it’s not mentioned in his tax returns. Damn.
Which is not to say that Wyclef isn’t gonna donate the millions of dollars he’s raised since god decided to teach Haiti a lesson. Especially now that the cat’s out of the bag. If anything, he might donate a little extra. That Fugees album sold more copies than Elvis and the Beatles combined. He’s got the money. And he could probably fuck around and go to jail if he doesn’t. The fact that his shit just got put out on front street just goes to show what a clusterfuck this earthquake is set to become. Already, there was this perfect storm of race, economics, history, politics and what have you. Wyclef, regardless of whether or not he intended to, just gave them another element to toss into the mix.