Christmas Season to Pandemic ‘Poornography’

by Kiri Vadivelu | 2 min. read arts

Legitimization of poverty through Christmas for benefit rather than addressing the root cause

The end of November is often the start to Christmas holiday inspired marketing to attract consumers to spend money. Retail bankers argue spending money is good for the economy even if that means to support war mongering efforts in another part of the world. Shamelessly, the corporate media invest a great deal of resource to legitimize the greed instead of actually caring about issues that affect communities. Again, Christmas is hijacked to feed propaganda to the people to maintain the injustice and the status quo of systematic failures. However, activists can do better to showcase the real cause instead of barely benefiting from publicity.

Ed Sheeran in South Africa
Ed Sheeran in South Africa | © Kiri Vadivelu

Poornography is a word to describe the created image of social, political and economical crisis of poverty to collect public donations in developed countries where poverty is legislated by corporate governments and enforced by mass media.

For instance, Walmart Corporation is anti-community by principle will not pay living wage to employees or allow unionization of workplace; however, will appeal to naive members of public for donations to make the hostile corporations to look friendlier to community. The absurdness of Walmart will go to the extent to spend 10s of thousands of dollars to organize a $1,000 dollar donation for a cause they help created in the first place such as poverty.

Poornography happens when poor people are portrayed as sufferers to titillate the audience, perhaps to evoke sympathy or donations or good will towards a media outlet that is collecting donations. Poornography often happens just before Christmas. A paper or radio or TV station picks a poor family as deserving sufferers so readers will send in money, clothing or toys and the medium will get good publicity.

They story or coverage will not mention that the family is poor because they were denied welfare or because the welfare rates are intolerably low. It will not include an interview with the relevant politician demanding to know why the government is causing this hardship. By January 1st, the media will be back to stereo typing people on welfare as lazy rip offs artists.

After 50 plus years, the demand for Food Bank is at all time high which indicates a real problem in society. Indeed, paying a living wage to parents would eliminate child poverty where Walmart operates. However, that would hurt the mission of Walmart and non-profit organizations where profit is the sole motive disguised as good cause. The good cause donations and charity events bring free publicity as well as allow Walmart to evade paying taxes to local governments through charity expense claims.

While non-profit organization and artists appear to do good on surface, the prolong acknowledgement of such existence without real political advocacy to expose elected dictatorship actually hurt the society they deemed to provide support. Big corporation Walmart and prominent artist such as Ed Sheeran can do better than barely benefiting from poverty, best described 'poornography'.

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