Thursday, June 04, 2009

Trickle Down


Having just read an article on Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, and his upcoming voyage into space, I'm feeling slightly peeved.

Laliberte will be paying about $30 million for his flight. Which is fine, I guess...it's his money, and people have spent more than that on worse things. What bothers me, apart from his unctuous expressions of self-admiration, is that he sees this as a humanitarian mission, on account of he's going to read a poem about water while he's up there, in order to convince the struggling masses that water is important to children and other living things.

"My mission is dedicated to making a difference on this vital resource by using what I know best: artistry," Laliberte said. "This will be the first poetic social mission in space.
You know what? Fuck you. In the first place, space missions were poetic long before anyone ever heard of your dunced-out new-age horseshit. In the second place, you're an asshole. In the third place, if you care that much about access to water, $30 million could save a pretty amazing number of lives over the next 12 months. Hell, AIDG could work miracles with one million bucks. For that matter, it looks as though your own One Drop Foundation could use it; as far as I can tell, they have exactly two projects up and running: one in Honduras and one in Nicaraugua.

Unfortunately, Laliberte seems to be less worried about saving lives than about raising global consciousness through mime and poetry and mawkish entrepreneur-speak about the power of dreams.
"I think this is one of the best investments anybody has done in order to promote the awareness of water," he said.

"If the impact is achieved, we will reach much more people than I would have done if I spent that money on Earth trying to convince people that water is an important issue."
Did I mention fuck you? Perhaps I'm a cynic, but I suspect that if Laliberte had simply taken the money he spent visioning and test-marketing the noxious phrase "poetic social mission in space," and given it to an NGO that deals with water issues, it would've done more good for the world than any of his pompous techno-hippie hijinks.

If Laliberte really wants to make the world a better place, perhaps he should consider staying up there.

Then again, maybe it's actually a noble and inspiring idea, and I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. What do you think?

UPDATE: In comments, jaytingle makes an excellent point:
Cirque siphons a huge portion of their revenue from visitors to a pointless city in the Nevada desert. There is an obvious disconnect between promoting the importance of water (who knew?) and making a buck off of pissing away massive quantities of that same substance.
I couldn't agree more. And I think it's gonna take more than a $30 million one-man poetry slam to make up for that.

13 comments:

dan mcenroe said...

Jesus, I can't remember the last time anyone covered an actual spacewalk, much less someone reading a poem in space.

P. Drāno said...

Right off the bat it strikes me as massive self-promotion.
It's a stunt and doesn't make any sense. If he wants to effect a coup to draw attention to te value of water, then something like disappearing into the desert, ever to be heard from again, would be much better.

peacay said...

Nah, I think you nail the salient points Phila. It's the misrepresentation that's jarring to the logic centres. I don't doubt he believes the guff he's saying but it's pure delusion. I can't quite work out whether he and his mega selfindulgence and promotion are actually worth the modest amount he probably does commit to water issues. I guess they are but jesusboxcuttingrobots, it's like having to endure an enema and an evangelical lecture series just to be given a free meal of buttered bread.

Phila said...

it's like having to endure an enema and an evangelical lecture series just to be given a free meal of buttered bread.



Brilliantly put.

I agree. And we're not even getting into what the people he's paying are gonna do with the $30M....

jaytingle said...

Cirque siphons a huge portion of their revenue from visitors to a pointless city in the Nevada desert. There is an obvious disconnect between promoting the importance of water (who knew?) and making a buck off of pissing away massive quantities of that same substance.

Festoonic said...

Yeah, I think "fuck you" pretty much sums it up.

Phila said...

Cirque siphons a huge portion of their revenue from visitors to a pointless city in the Nevada desert.

Really? I had no idea!

That's absolutely infuriating.

grouchomarxist said...

You know, I'd have had more respect for the guy if he'd just said, "Yeah, I'm blowing 30 mil on the ultimate joy-ride. So what?"

"Self-indulgent stunt" seems about right. And good point, jaytingle.

donmateo said...

I resent the implication that the aforementioned "city in the Nevada desert" is pointless. Why, just the other day I drove two hours into town to relieve myself of the burdensome peace of mind I had developed living off the grid at a remote desert ecological reserve. Not pointless at all.

Phila said...

Hmmm. Looks like one of the CDS shows in Vegas was somewhat water- and energy-intensive.

The 1,800-seat theater itself was centered around a 1.5 million-gallon tank of water for the performers to work in and around. It was built using a water pumping system that is as noiseless as possible to prevent any mechanical noise from detracting from the quality of the show itself. Twelve underwater speakers allow the performers in the water to hear and react to audio cues even when they are submerged.[33]

To support the needs of the performers who would be getting in and out of the water, a directed HVAC system was created for this theater to control the heat and humidity generated by the approximately 84-degree water. Blowers were built into the stage to keep warm air circulating on the stage while a silent air movement system carried air at 55 degrees Fahrenheit underneath every seat in the theater. The combined systems keep both the performers and the audience at a comfortable temperature.


I don't like these people.

Phila said...

You know, I'd have had more respect for the guy if he'd just said, "Yeah, I'm blowing 30 mil on the ultimate joy-ride. So what?"

Yeah, same here.

liliannattel said...

That Vegas show is grotesque. It sounds like something out of Vonnegut. I used to think it was cool that CDS originated in Canada.

Jazzbumpa said...

Yup. Your a cynic.

WV: kinst, as in kinst-erd spirits, society of flaming squid huggers, frex.