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Celeb "Burma" Campaign: Condescending or Commendable?

Celeb "Burma" Campaign: Condescending or Commendable?

Though this Spring's cyclone brought Myanmar crashing into our consciousness, the front page ink is drying — and along with it awareness for what is an extended situation for the Burmese to bear. Ah but first, is it Burma or Myanmar? The military regime changed the name from Burma to Myanmar (a short version of the name of the country in the local language) in 1989.

The change is recognized by the UN and France and Japan, among others, though officially the US and UK don't. It's a question of does one let the country dictate the name, or does accepting the title bestowed by an undemocratically elected junta become a tacit approval of the regime? Even newspapers vacillate on what to call the country — the AP Stylebook uses the M-word, though it seems locals when writing use the formal Myanmar, but when speaking say Burma.

That said, there are still movements out there trying to call attention to the human rights abuses in Myanmar. Chief among them, this: a celeb-filled ad on behalf of the USCampaignForBurma. I don't know quite what to make of this campaign, but I will admit, initially it got under my skin. Sarah Silverman pointing at a map telling me what the cue card says she should say I should know about, and Tila Tequila teaching geography amid her own mountain range? At least Sylvester Stallone cops to his previous ignorance about the problem and seems sincere. But watching it again, the ad does highlight vital info about the jailed prodemocracy leader, and the need to care long after the the initial glut of info following the cyclone. But something about it seems so unnervingly casual and flip. Honestly, what do you think? Is this a great ad?

ediann ediann 9 years
Well the Video is all well and good but I but just making people aware of the is that really going to change anything?
bleached bleached 9 years
Why is that celebrities insist on thinking that hey know more than we do just because they are celebrities. I can read a newspaper too....
lovelie lovelie 9 years
This is how I feel about most celebrity causes...stick to your day job. There are thousands of people who make a living and have dedicated their entire lives for some of these causes, and they don't get half of the recognition that celebrities do for doing a 15 minute press speech or donating a insignificant chunk of their fortunes. More importantly, as soon as the curtain closes they are back to living their lavish lifestyles.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Auntie Coosa, it's like you're in my head! Which terrifies me. But still, I am in full agreement. Besides, Sara Silverman can't make fun of kids with A.I.D.S. one minute and then pretend to care about someone the next because it's chic. Sincerity doesn't work that way.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
What I saw was the same group who is bashing President Bush for going into Iraq, suggesting that the USofA do "something" (like war to free the pro-democracy leader?) in Burma or whatever anyone wishes to call the Country where a junta took over and the junta leader has died but the junta still is in control and only cares about staying in control. The USofA needs to QUIT being the conscience of the world. It's time to come home and work on our own problems. Build the Fence, Build Space Ships, Build a non-gas-guzzling vehicle, keep kids in school, stop the gang violence, stop the use of illegal drugs, etc etc etc etc etc. Peace Out.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
Excellent points, all. Really.
stargrrl stargrrl 9 years
Yeah...a bunch of reality TV idiots and other ego-centric-new-cause a-month celebrities...this is really gonna help the people of Burma gain freedom and democracy...
stephley stephley 9 years
It's such an odd combining of ridiculous and serious that to me, it undermines the message.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
I think it difficult to strike the correct balance between capturing mainstream relevance and attention (ergo the hollywood stars) and encapsulating the horror and urgency of the country's status. The advertisement could have been as equally instructive and celebrity-studded without resorting to a number of flippant scenes and soundbites. I feel that Burma's dire state of unrest and suffering was demeaned somewhat in this clip, slightly - which is hardly compensated for by the dissemination of the advertisement's message of aid.
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