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Volunteer Week

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 19, 2009 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | October 19, 2009 |

This week has been declared volunteer week by NBC, Fox, CBS, and about a dozen other television channels. Of course that only actually represents about three distinct companies, since American media is more incestuous than a Hapsburg hot tub party. Enormous corporations with enough cash to buy most Latin American and African countries outright, flush with piles of cash protected from taxation by lobbyists and legions of accountants, have declared that you should be volunteering more. The theme will be worked into over sixty shows this coming week, and the networks will also beat you over the head with PSAs in case you don’t quite pick up on the idea after the first three shows that talk down to you.

Ah, I have grown cynical. The message itself is not terrible, but it seems so empty given the source that it comes from. The press releases are works of ironic art, with quotes from at least one six-figure VP from every network, none of whom have ever volunteered for anything more than who’ll take first class tickets to talk to shareholders this quarter, much less a soup kitchen. I take that back, I’m sure that they are all model human beings. I just can’t help thinking this will be exactly like the painful “NBC goes green” of a couple years ago, which although it may have raised money from the choir to which it was preaching, also pissed the crap out of people on the fence and the other side as being disingenuous and smug.

Art changes people’s views of the world, but patronizing preaching does not. How many people did after school specials and Nancy Reagan scare away from drugs? How about Trainspotting and Requiem For A Dream?

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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