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All Walk, No Talk

they're out there.......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, November 24, 2010.

Each year, starting about a week before Thanksgiving and ending around New Years, we're subjected to some of the most hypocritical posturing imaginable, made worse by media that wants its segments to be easy to frame and immediately identify for appropriate reaction, a template that panders to a sort of watered down Judeo-Christian element of myth.

It goes like this. A restaurant or a some business will decide to feed the local poor, homeless or stranded a big holiday dinner, a decent and generous gesture. In reality, a self-congratulatory free advertisement for the business or the bid for inclusion in the society papers for the owner, manager, or chef. During the interviews by the properly obsequious media, the interviewee will give a restrained yet meaningful overall précis of their deep character experiences that moved them to this amazing display of goodness. Today, everyone at risk of media interview knows to rehearse an appropriate short quote and to be coifed and paved with make-up not endangered by too wide a range of facial expressions to crack in cold weather or wilt under hot lighting. Practice before the mirror is not considered vanity but professional dedication because it has to be done in one take. Can't rehearse news.

Press releases go out, and the competing entries hope theirs will be the one visited by a local television station. The segment will have moving moments including close ups of entirely happy toddlers chowing down, and on camera thanks from the sober yet grateful guests of the festivities, who remain pleasantly subservient while bathed in the strobe light of the camera and that more indirect sort, dare we say an inner glow from the superior people among them, generous with time, food, and goodwill.

It's role playing for the consciences of those posturing on camera and in the audience. The guests and their children are visibly identified to the community as poor, a big help when applying for work and dealing with peers at school during those days and weeks not caught in the bustle and screech of The Holiday Season. The business scores points with the public as community concerned and responsible, but the entire expense comes out of taxable income and is a wash. Sometimes, because the owners 'donate' the food, their employees are expected to 'donate' their time and work for free cooking and ladling out the food, and that on the holiday. But they don't reap the bounty of the few minutes on television or on the front page of the local paper, which is nothing less than a few minutes of blatant advertising on television during prime time news and on the front page of the holiday newspapers, always with adorable photo. Few could afford such advertising.

And the concern and generosity of these entities - not all, but most - has a shelf life of, well, the Holiday Season. And no further.

Rightfully, it should be pointed out that at least somebody did this off the public tab and saved the taxpayers……well, something, and people and children - we think only of the children - got fed better than other options of dumpster diving or panhandling on Thanksgiving. And that is true, of course. But it isn't dealing with the supposed problem of hunger in puzzlingly - and morbidly - obese America, it's profiting from it, throwing a saddle across it and riding it for their own benefit. And sometimes, the media's selection of coverage is just paying back a favor to a long time advertiser, which further dims the moment.

The oldest monotheism in the world, Judaism, ethically handled such things so much better with the rock ribbed concept of doing what is right in the eyes of their god. There is no reward for righteousness other than the silent approval of the deity. No sexual orgy with virgins or streets paved with gold in a heaven of bliss after a lifetime of denial of those very appetites. These public displays of American charity today - especially those with Christian overtones - have the same stench that attended nobility throwing blood sport competitions in the Coliseum with free food and admission for their own election cycle benefit.

It's good to know that there are those who help the needy without a publicist, and to no tax benefit, and this throughout the year. Like the truth, they're out there. I know some. So do you.

And we all, this Thanksgiving, are grateful for them. All walk, no talk.