NBC is currently scrambling to put together a telethon that will broadcast at 8 p.m. tonight, with proceeds going to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. Considering the storm passed through just earlier this week, that's pretty quick turnaround time for a telethon. Word is that host Matt Lauer felt it needed to happen soon lest the devastation get overshadowed by everybody picking the winner of President Idol next week. So NBC made some calls and got the thing going for tonight. And they got some good people!
New Jersey's favorite son, Bruce Springsteen, will be playing on Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, as will locals like Billy Joel and Jon Bon Jovi, and pop heroes Mary J. Blige, Sting, and Christina Aguilera. That's a pretty solid lineup for something that was put together in about two days. There will also, of course, be more celebrity appearances, though hopefully there won't be a "Barack Obama doesn't care about Italian people" moment from any of them. Basically it'll be your run-of-the-mill disaster relief telethon, just maybe a little more slapdash than usual. But that doesn't mean you should hate it.
On a personal taste level, I get why people might cluck their tongues about this thing. It's awfully rushed, it's too cheesy, it's a distraction from real aid work, etc. Those people would not be wrong entirely. Telethons are incredibly cheesy (though obviously well-intentioned) and it has only been a few days. But really, why should that matter? Whether the event is corny or not, shame on us for being so cynical and steeped in ironic detachment that we'd pooh-pooh a fundraiser for storm-ravaged people simply because it wasn't cool or self-conscious enough. I don't actually see many people doing that right now, so maybe I'm just projecting my own inherent feelings about these sad tune fests, but let's hope that that kind of passive, snarky condescension doesn't get applied to this likely goofy but earnestly altruistic (or at least as altruistic as network television gets) event.