Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The perils of the cause celeb or why Vivienne Westwood shouldn't speak about Burma

I'm back in the UK for a few weeks and last night attended the launch of the Burma VJ film, which was being screened simultaneously in 40 cinemas across the UK.

The well-meaning Co-op, which was sponsoring the screening, had roped in some celebs to talk about the film before and after, as well as organising a Q&A with the director and main protagonist by satellite link.

Unfortunately, the first to speak was fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, known more for her hideous clothes than her knowledge of Burmese politics.

The crass nature of her opening gambit took even cynics like myself by surprise.
"I don't know anything about Burma," she explained before rambling on for five minutes about the perils of torture and why monks are great because they sing and chant rather than digging things out of the ground.

It was embarrassing in the extreme. The only upside was that it made Richard Gere's closing address, when he spoke of his "Tibetan brothers and sisters", seem a lot less cringeworthy than it otherwise would have been.

Excellent film though about how technology can empower brave people to take incredible risks in the hope of improving the lives of their fellow citizens. I'd urge you to go and see it.

1 comment:

  1. Annie Lennox gave a good speech on Tibet. Celebs draw crowds that otherwise might not attend therefore one mustn't judge too harshly.