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.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 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."
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.