Yesterday’s Rocketboom had Amanda Congdon playing a victim of hurricane Katrina. Amanda wasn’t really there, but was acting the part of one of the thousands of people affected by the tragedy. It’s provoked some very strong reactions in the comments. People have accused it of being callous, in poor taste, and exploitative. I admit it seemed a little off at first, but then I realised their intention.
The people of New Orleans (and the surrounding area) need help. Law and order has broken down, the stadium is a hellhole, and the rescue workers are being forced out due to safety concerns. But despite all this, life goes on for the rest of us. We all have to find ways to deal with horrible situations in the world, and often this involves switching off the television. I do this frequently – Midlands Today is such a tide of misery most days that I sometimes find it best not to watch. But while there’s nothing wrong with this kind of self-preservation, the people in New Orleans still need us.
It was painful to watch Amanda’s performance on Rocketboom. I know her from the show as happy, bubbly and full of life, and it was horrific to imagine that her home, husband and livelihood had been lost. That it was an act is irrelevant – thousands of people are in this very position. I think the intention was for viewers to gain an understanding of what it would be like to know somebody in this situation. We’re familiar with Amanda purely through the Rocketboom videoblog, and it was awful enough. If it was a friend, or family member? We gain an understanding of the situation – and we know we’d do everything in our power to help out. The video clip showed the Red Cross URL for a long time. I’m on the other side of the world, but I can help. From what I’ve read and heard, the Red Cross are the best equipped to manage the money:
There are people dying, and they need help. If you can spare any cash, it couldn’t go to a better cause today. I’ve donated – please do too, if you can.