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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gawking’s Unintended Consequences

Do philanthropists despise the media attention? The glamour and awe accompanying Warren Buffet’s announcement was repulsive. While a 40-billion dollar gift to the Gates Foundation is significant, in my opinion the media overload decreases its qualitative nobility.

Consider the most recent issue of Newsweek that praises people who are “Giving-Back” dollars to a cause or humanitarian issue. These 15 millionaires are verbally slobbered upon until they look shameful.

If the purpose of the media recognition is to encourage giving in others (and if it wasn’t, why not?), the media failed. Instead, it sends two contrary messages:

The first message it sends it that the value of a gift is measured in dollars not in personal sacrifice. Come on, we all know that Warren Buffet is going to continue living in the lap of luxury. The media overload is unattractive and smirks of arrogance and pride.

Second, to us average non-millionaires whose budgets are so easily influenced by high gasoline bills, what gift can we give that compares? Thus, we are compelled to philanthropic lethargy.

I admire the heart of someone willing to sacrificially give, but I consider the beauty of a daughter caring for her Alzheimer inflicted mother of greater nobility than Buffet’s. I consider the immigrant working at the local Mexican restaurant a much greater man when he sends his paycheck home, knowing that it will probably never arrive but be stolen.

I don’t condemn any of the givers mentioned above, but I do condemn the gawking. In my opinion, the arrogance and pride it reflects sends messages that negate the original gift.

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RIGHTFAITH: Where everything favors the stewardship of patrimony. All content is believed to be correct but may be amended based upon new information. The content of this page may be republished with proper citation without the expressed consent of the author. This site is not, in any manner whatsoever, associated with the religious philosophism from the Indian penninsula. All comments or emails to the author become the property of the author and may be published or deleted without notice or reason provided. Copyrighted 2005.

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