Thursday, Friday, and Sunday with Haiti: A Mitch Albom bereavement card in three actsBy
Noted fabulist and death pimp Mitch Albom bravely traveled to Haiti to, well, to get in the way. Journalists have good reason to be in Haiti. To bear witness to the tragedy. To report on the successes and failures of humanitarian efforts. To explore, in the context of the earthquake, why this country remains one of the most devastatingly poor and underdeveloped places on the planet. That’s not why Mitch went to Haiti. He focused on the soft-focus human interest schlock. You’d think these Haitians were competing in the Vancouver Olympics, for all that it matters to Mitch Albom.
Mitch’s Haitian presence is an exercise in opportunity cost. The food Mitch ate in Haiti could have fed an earthquake victim. The floor Mitch slept on could have offered shelter for a now-homeless Haitian. The space he took up on the plane could have been used for medicine or other vital supplies.
Reading the affected earnestness of Mitch’s Haitian dispatches is a form of desolation tourism. Look kids, actual poor people! You should feel grateful for what you have. Finish your Hot’n’Ready pizza and we can go for ice cream.
Just consider how this three-part orgy of trite begins:
They never had much.
But there was love.
And then the ground shook.
Also, it was a dark and stormy night!
One must consider the private hell where Mitch Albom and in his fans live. What an awful existence, struggling to fill their empty lives with vacuous faux-spirituality and superficial concern for others. Assuming we believe Mitch’s “poor-but-proud” meme, Haitian orphans should be praying for metro Detroit’s frustrated housewives, who require their Quaaludes and Mitch Albom’s pap to get through the day.
Of course, one must also question the truth of Mitch’s stories. He probably went to Haiti, probably visited an orphanage, etc., etc., etc. but all of these polite orphans, lining up for Oreo cookies, thinking it’s Armageddon…how much of that is non-fiction? And how much is Mitch inventing or embellishing to conform his reporting to what his fans want to read?
After all, sports reporter Mitch writes about basketball games he didn’t attend.
With basketball players who weren’t there.
And then Carol Leigh Hutton spun. (Freep, more Freep, and even more Freep)
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