2.03.2007

No Wonder Indigent Foreign Countries Don't Know Their American History

I remember a friend who spent a couple years in the Peace Corps in Guinea telling me that one of the textbooks they used said that the United States--the best country on the face of this goddamn planet. Ever. Unless the band Coldplay becomes a country--had fifty-two states. They probably all think that the Bengals won Super Bowl XXIII behind MVP Ickey Woods (sorry I had to go there, Gage--too irresistible).

According to a New York Times article, all those misprinted T-shirts, caps, and other gear (Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XL champions!) will get shipped by World Vision to a host of "developing" countries including Niger, Uganda, and Sierra Leone. Maybe it's just me, but doesn't it seem a little patronizing to give such novelty clothing, deemed unfit for consumption in the U.S., to the foreign needy? Do they get T-shirts proclaiming the correct Super Bowl champion? Probably not. Those are reserved for American consumers to drop $30 apiece on and contribute to the NFL's already ridiculously rich coffers.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for charitable donations of clothing to these countries. And the NFL most certainly does charitable work besides the donation of a couple hundred T-shirts per year. Donating them, after all, is a hell of a lot better than simply destroying them as Major League Baseball does. (Yet another wise move, Bud! The world loves your cold, cold heart!) It just seems a little odd to me--as it always does, I guess--to read a story like that which essentially reduces the act of charity donation to a quirky act in the American context instead of exhibiting an awareness of how truly fucked up the global disparity of wealth is.

Anyway... that's probably enough in the way of social critique leading up to the Super Bowl... I hope a bunch of Ugandans find themselves wearing Bears shirts pretty soon...