Saturday, February 25, 2017

Checks with Chains Attached

It was just a little thing in the celebrity/entertainment box in today's Star Tribune:

At first I thought Ellen DeGeneres was giving out her own money for scholarships, which was bad enough. The idea that we should fund the college education of talented youth on the whim of rich people, instead of recognizing it as a societal benefit that should be paid for by society, has never sat right with me. It's part of my overall view that common goods should be funded by the commons (taxes), rather than being subject to some rich person's preference for what's sexy or cute. I keep meaning to write about this topic, and never getting around to it.

But then I realized DeGeneres wasn't giving out her own money: she was handing over checks from Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart. Which buys some of its low, low-priced vegetables from growers who use prison labor as they race to the bottom.

Yet this paragraph is offered with the assumption that it's not only interesting but that it offers readers a feel-good moment, else why would it be there? It's certainly not news in the usual sense, it's corporate P.R.

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