What's wrong with this photo? Actually nothing. And that's the problem.
Mariah Carey has just left a pricey LA bistro after a glitzy awards party when she spots a homeless man in a wheelchair. What a perfect photo-op, thinks the effervescent Mariah. With photographers nearby, she wants to promote her upcoming appearance at Live 8 -- a concert designed to somehow solve all the poverty and hunger in Africa. A noble goal, reasons Mariah, and one she has already made a stab at -- by going on a diet, perhaps imagining that less food for Mariah means more food for Nigeria.
"I've been dieting and exercising non-stop so I can get into the outfit I want to wear," she has already burbled light-headedly to a reporter the week before, giving him an unfocused look of vacant bliss that we have come to expect -- and yes, love -- from our favorite bi-polar diva.
Now, squatting down beside the half-blind beggar, with her back turned and in no way relating to him or his melancholy expression, Mariah sucks up all the flash light in the universe as she shows off a mile of white teeth and two very sincere breasts
Then, eyes still cast on far-off Africa, she exits in a hubbub of flashbulbs, leaving behind a trail of that special high-maintenance Mariah glitter and absolutely no remuneration for the man in the wheelchair. Surely he might have welcomed a few bucks for his next pack of Lucky Strikes but he had the misfortune of encountering the lovely Mariah on the streets of Beverly Hills and not Kuala Lumpur.
Ah, Mariah, still crazy after all these years, always our reliable Postergirl for All Things Fucked Up. You usher in -- in this, the fifth year of our lord George W. Bush -- what is shaping up to be a Summer of Trainwrecks:
Supreme Court battles, Tom Cruise freak-outs and the horror show known as Being Bobby Brown -- it will be a parade of delightful calamities that Nightcharm plans to chronicle as the summer unfolds.
First up, of course, is this weekend's often off-key Live 8 concert. Our feelings are best expressed by writer David Stubbs who on the BBC News site explained why he wouldn't be watching this show.
I watched Live Aid.
I was depressed by the mullet-headed music...and resented being browbeaten by multi-millionaires to empty my pockets...
Live Aid had the best motives. But to pretend this emotional, ad hoc response to the complex and chronic problem of famine in Africa made a positive difference was naive, rooted in a fictional idea that rock changes the world...
There was no sea change in attitudes. That wave of compassion did not stop millions voting for right-wingers like Thatcher, Bush and Kohl in subsequent elections.
Today, Africa is, if anything, worse off...
I am very uncomfortable, for example, at the prospect of Celine Dion doling out spoonfuls of pop compassion to Africa's passive hungry.
More trainwrecks to follow. Watch this space.