That cannot be said for the Live 8 eminences. All were boastful and defiant know-it-alls convinced that the problem in Africa is lack of money and neglect from the West, though surely, even the most drugged-up of the rock singers knows that most of the money that has been heaved at the continent since the chaotic end of colonialism has been either wasted or filched.
Britain's Royal African Society claims that in the past 50 years, Africa has received a trillion dollars in aid, 10 times the aid sent to Europe after World War II. However, more Africans live in deeper poverty today than when the aid began to flow. Recently, it was revealed that corrupt Nigerian officials pocketed 220 billion pounds in bribes over the past few years. How much the other corrupt officials throughout the continent have accounted for can only be imagined.
Nonetheless, the assembled rockers shouted -- some called it singing -- threats to the political leaders of the West to take action to end the evils afflicting Africa. None has been supportive of Tony Blair's and George Bush's attempts to end the evils recently afflicting Iraq. Yet, military action against Africa's corrupt potentates is about the only imaginable way Africa's suffering can be alleviated in the near future. Would they like us to commence "regime change" now, or after we have brought democracy to Iraq?
The angry threats sounded by the Live 8 singers were matched by the angry lyrics of their songs, some of which they have been singing for decades. It is preposterous to think that this is the voice of international charity. Rather, it is the voice of modern pop entertainment, entertainment devoid of talent and ravenous for attention and money. In the year following Live 8's predecessor, Live Aid, record sales in the United Kingdom soared 21 percent, twice the rate of increase of the year before or the year after. Doubtless, sales will be up this year, too, in the UK and America alike.
Actually, CD sales have been dropping for the assembled stars of Live 8 for some years and soon will begin to drop again. Unremarked in all the hoopla about this hypocritical spectacle is that rock is dying. The entertainers have grown tiresome. Their fake poetry and angry shouts can only be in fashion for so long, and the evidence shows that the fashion is now moribund.
Perhaps the most tiresome and pretentious of all the entertainers in the Live 8 lineup was Madonna. I have always insisted that she cannot sing. The other night, as she lurched across the stage, pulling her shoulders back and thrusting her belly forward, she proved that she can no longer dance. She has become sclerotic from the waist down. Perhaps she will go to Africa in the Peace Corps, which, with a lot less hype, has done a lot more for poor Africans than the megalomaniacs of Live 8.