Friday, October 19, 2007


My father recently sent me an email that read in part: 'just read an article in the Atlantic, called 'This is not a Charity', on Bill Clinton’s new philanthropy approach. Very innovative and exciting. Hope his idea spreads like a wild fire across the globe' (my father speaks excellent English but it remains a third language and that's evident in some peculiarities in his delivery. I found this annoying when I was young, but powerful now, and endearing).

I haven't yet read the article which I assume is an excerpt from the book. But source material was pretty much for extra credit (if not derision) in my erstwhile profession so I don't mind saying I can pretty much guess. (This helps). Still, I wouldn't mind checking in to the Peabody Hotel about now to watch the parade. Slate's suite of articles today, published under the rubric 'Gifts for You' does offer some points to consider. I skimmed them all (except for the one with baseball in the title, doubtless betraying my fundamental un-American-ness and non-competitiveness). Some random observations on each:

1) 'The Rockefellers and Angry Commoners': it can't possibly be a coincidence that the article on the brutal origins of American philanthropy--conceived in capitalism's creation and rape of the American workforce-- illustrated by the Rockefellers'epigrammatic example-- is introduced by musings of Sandy Weill. Let anyone who's interested look into who has been advising both parties of late;

2) 'Great Expectations: Why Big Donors Back Teach for America': when I worked for a certain Ivy League institution, one of our boasts was that more TfA faculty were alumni of our university than of any other single school. Be assured that none of these well meaning recent graduates--or their parents--planned on actual careers in teaching inner city or rural school children;

3) 'Virtue for Sale: Will Customers Pay More to do Good?': Fact is, I do buy my towels at ABC, and you'll appreciate the fact that I take exception to the claim that 'As anyone who has ever paid a visit to ABC Carpet knows, its customers are not normal people'. As I figure it, abnormal people suffer exceptional deficits or enjoy exceptional benefits. I rejoice in and regret my exclusion from both categories. Respectively.

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