Saturday, January 03, 2015

Like and Share

There was one of those happy/sad videos on Facebook this morning and I watched it, got happy/sad then shared. The video featured a young man in New York City going up to complete strangers who were scoffing pizza, explaining that he was hungry and asking for a slice. He got nothing but refusals.

Then the film showed another young man buy an older homeless man a box of pizza which the older man accepted with gratitude. The first man, the slice beggar, approached the homeless man as he was enjoying his pizza, sat down beside him, explained that he was hungry and asked for a slice. Without any hesitation the homeless man proffered a slice. The beggar sat down beside the man, thanked him and they ate together. When the beggar had finished he gave the homeless man a sum of money, thanked him and left. The homeless man put his face in his hands and wept. I almost wept myself. Then I shared. As did one and a half million other people.

Then I found myself thinking about the film, about how it was most probably heavily edited to make the point the film makers wanted to get across. And the point they were trying to get across was that helping others is a good thing for it makes everyone feel good. In the long run they just wanted the shares. The pizza beggar was wearing a shirt that advertised a film making company. It was a sweet message and a manipulative one, and one that did little actual good. It seems that nowadays sharing something on social media is even better than actually doing anything that helps. We get to feel good about ourselves without making the least bit of effort.

I wonder if the homeless man was even real.

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