Posts Tagged humanity

Because helping is beautiful

“Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.”

Poorly acted and directed that line would have been as cheesy as a bag of Doritos.  Instead, it was powerful and real.  And “American Beauty” went on to win five Academy Awards – including best picture.  And, it grossed more than $350 million worldwide.

It touched a lot of people for a host of reasons, but I’d argue it was an artistic and financial success because it had the balls to not just delicately slide a truth into a dim light – it shoved it in our mouths and forced us to bite down and swallow on the fact that life can be beautiful and truly suck sometimes.

I’m not Roger Ebert, but that line didn’t just strum a chord on the human condition, it shredded the chord and offered an alternative to the trite idea of “chords on the human condition.”  So much of that film worked to invade that private space we reserve for moments of unbridled joy.  The uncontainable smile on your 10-year-old son’s face as he rounds first and realizes oh my God, that was a home run.  It’s the same space we keep for moments of utter tragedy and loss.  It’s where I leave the pain of my cousin dying last year and putting down a family pet.

No one is welcome there without an invitation.

Unfortunately, we don’t get to manage that gate because life happens.  It’s just a matter of seeing it for what it is and chewing with the appropriate amount of pressure.

As I sit in my ergonomically correct Aeron chair, the span and depth of devastation in Japan is unfathomable and overwhelming.  There’s no beauty in it, but I can’t stop looking at the footage.  On Twitter and TV I’m trying to distract myself with other things – but can’t stop thinking how stupid all the Tweets are about the iPad 2 and how silly the commentary is on ESPN about the Miami Heat crying in the locker room.

Meanwhile, a potential nuclear meltdown in Fukushima adds yet another threat.

Take one minute and divert three mouse clicks away from that PowerPoint your client is going to re-write anyway to find a way to help people who could use it.  Prayers and candles are one thing, but aid and relief has a monetary price.  An easy place to start is here on PayPal’s donation site.

Maybe someday soon, people in Japan can stop worrying about where to get water or how far to stay away from the nuclear power plant and get back to the joyful inanity of watching videos of their kids hitting home runs on their iPads.

– Jose Mallabo

Update: April 12, 2011

Since first posting this I’ve been scrolling around the Web for examples of good uses of social media for social good. Namely because someone asserted to me that you can’t measure the benefits of social media at this point.  I think it’s all based on what you set out to do at the beginning — just like any communications program, social or otherwise. I ran across Alyssa Milano’s Twitter feed. She’s incredibly active on Twitter. Which led me to her blog then to this site where she talks about the work she did to raise $92K on her 37th birthday for Charity: Water. What a good use of celebrity and social media.

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