The one that went viral a while ago.
Well I say, “Fuck that Video”.
Apologies for the swearing.
I don’t usually swear but they started it.
When I watched the video I didn’t think, “We should do more to help the poor.”
What I immediately thought was, “What a piece of crap.”
That video is a trick.
Pure and simple.
However, it’s pretending to be something far more meaningful, and that really pisses me off.
That actor on the street with his “Fuck the Poor” sign supposedly proves that we don’t care about the poor – that we’re easily outraged if someone insults the poor.
And yet when it comes to actually helping the poor, we suddenly all develop deep pockets and short arms, the not so subtle implication being that by not putting any money in his tin, every one of those people is saying, “Fuck the poor”.
This is extremely unfair.
Every day, I choose not to help poor people. I walk down a busy city street, disregarding beggars and sidestepping all those trying to sign me up for World Vision, Plan International, Greenpeace, The Cancer Council and the rest of them.
If I stopped for every one of these charities, as the Fuck the Poor video implies that I should, I would never get where I’m going…which is work, so I wouldn’t have any money to give.
Also, if I stopped for every one of them, I wouldn’t have any money left.
It doesn’t help that I suspect that each one of those charity muggers makes a nice little bonus for every person they sign up, and that most beggars use the money they collect for drugs. I know this is a generalisation, but be honest with yourself right now – don’t you suspect the exact same thing?
I barely make enough money for myself, but I still give to certain charities. I also donate my time when asked and help out in other ways where I can.
However, someone could easily film me walking through the city, blanking beggars and those representing charities, and I’d look like the original Scrooge.
The Fuck the Poor video makes each person who ignores one person shaking one tin look like they don’t give a stuff about the poor, because out of the many times a day they are asked to donate, they don’t donate every time.
Also notice the lack of information provided by the “Fuck the Poor guy”. Considering the amount of scams around, I choose where my money goes quite carefully.
Every time I donate, I check for some sort of logo, information and evidence that my money is actually going where I want it to go.
I wish we lived in a world where if someone is shaking a tin and simply saying, “Help the Poor” then I believed that money would help the poor.
But we don’t live in that world.
The world represented in that video doesn’t exist.
Yet we still watch it and judge every person who doesn’t trust a stranger shaking a tin, when they’ve got so many good reasons not to.
Again, fuck that video.
The video was produced by The Pilion Trust in the UK, who, according to their website, have extremely admirable goals.
So why do something so low in real content and so high on manipulation?
I imagine there was a meeting between the Pilion Trust and an advertising agency who told them, “You’re all good people doing great work, but nobody gives a stuff. People don’t care about facts. Show them something shallow, short, shocking and slightly clever. That’ll get their attention.”
Out of desperation, they gave it a go.
And it worked.
I don’t think it’d be difficult to produce the opposite video. A video showing a series of people making donations, then following those donations as they’re wasted on drugs, gambling and alcohol. Or on the marketing campaigns and admin departments of the charity organisations. This video would start with the message “Help the Poor” and finish with the slogan “Fuck the Poor” and I’m sure everyone watching it would be nodding along in agreement.
“Yes. Fuck the poor!”
This video would probably get just as many views and shares.
It’s easy to manipulate a situation and produce a video to make you feel a certain way.
The brilliant television show Yes Prime Minister produced the perfect example of how easily this can be done in under two minutes.
Basically, all advertising is a trick and the Fuck the Poor video is a trick to raise awareness about a good cause.
So is that a bad thing?
I’m still not sure.
However, I am sure that I wish I lived in a world where we were all more thoughtful, and that trick didn’t work so well.
If you seen haven’t seen the Fuck the Poor video, here you go…
This article first appeared on The Big Smoke here: