No Laughing Matter

Most are still in awe at the atrocity that occurred this past week.  And as the aftermath continues to unfold, people remain glued to their preferred media outlets to learn the latest breaking news.  No matter where you go, one name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue: NBC.

While thousands upon thousands are dead or dying as they await aid after the devastating earthquake in Haiti nearly a week ago, Americans continue to announce their support not for those in desperate need of medical attention, food and water, but for late-night talk show hosts whose livelihoods have been jostled at the hands of NBC.  The American lexicon has gone from promoting ‘Team Edward’ to exclaiming phrases like ‘Team Conan’ and ‘I’m with Coco’.

But as America continues to heckle Jay Leno for a decision NBC made, let’s get things straight once and for all.  Maybe then we will be able to put aside our selfish need to stand behind a man who has plenty of money, a roof over his head and opportunity at his feet, and instead spread the word about the ruin and devastation facing those in Haiti.

Everyone insists on blaming Jay Leno for the uproar at NBC, yet he remains just as much a pawn in their desire for ratings as Mr. Conan O’Brien.  Practically forced to resign from his spot as host, Leno left ‘The Tonight Show’ last May, making room for O’Brien to move up one time slot.  But NBC must’ve been having second thoughts before their first thought was even complete because they soon scheduled Leno to star in his own talk show in primetime, airing before the rest of the late-night TV line up.  Having been one to reel in the ratings in his 11:35pm time slot, NBC began to shake in their boots as neither Leno nor O’Brien’s shows were garnering the same attention they previously did before the ol’ switcheroo.

To save their ratings, NBC is attempting to take back their decision, as if treating two fantastic comedians like pawns will get them out of the rut they’ve so nicely dug for themselves.  Instead, they have lost one talented comedian, O’Brien, who will surely have plenty of offers thrown his way, and have tarnished the good name of a long time fan favorite, Leno, who now seems to be the bane of every late-night host’s existence.  Go ahead, support Conan all you wish, but don’t point fingers until you take the time to realize who’s to blame.

Thankfully, during tonight’s airing of ‘The Golden Globes’ on NBC, the jokes about this week’s TV host turmoil were simply casually addressed here and there (as expected since it was airing on the network in limbo).  Instead, the stars who walked the red carpet not only wore sleek suits and gorgeous gowns, but ribbons that showed their solidarity in helping Haiti.  The majority of the stars present brought grace and elegance to the evening, making us realize that the true desperation and need of others weighs heavily on all.

During such unexpected and horrific times is when the world, despite all hatred and prejudice, comes together to show the love and compassion we have for humankind.  When the biggest speed bump of the week centers on the fate of two well-respected comedians, we prove once again how privileged our little bubble (also known as the USA) truly is.  We may have our own struggles as a nation, but we are certainly fortunate compared to many of our fellow human beings.

And no one could have said it better than Meryl Streep in her acceptance speech for her role as Julia Child in ‘Julie & Julia’:

I am honestly conflicted how to have my happy movie-self in the face of everything happening in the real world. That’s when I have my Mother’s voice come to me, shoot some money to Partners in Health, be damn grateful you have the dollars to help, put on your dress… I am really grateful…

If you, too, would like to donate and help the victims of Haiti’s earthquake, take a look at the following links:

The New York Times News Blog (The Lede) – For a list of links to various organizations accepting donations.

Partners in Health – Mentioned in Streep’s speech, this organization has already been helping provide healthcare in Haiti for over 20 years.

iTunes – Donating to the Red Cross is as simple as buying your favorite song.

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