I think, therefore I harm
Guy Laliberté (pronounced gee) is a billionaire from Québec, Canada. He is an entrepreneur and his strong interest in show business led him to found Le Cirque du Soleil. For many, those are the only few French words you may know, though to ease on you the media sometimes translate these as Circus of the Sun. But surely, everyone in the world heard of that organization before, as it is the most successful circus group in the world.
Guy Laliberté, however, have been relatively unknown until recently when he forced himself into stardom. In 2009, he became the first Canadian space tourist. He wasn’t the first, but I dare you to name one other space tourist, can you? Probably not. But going into space wasn’t enough for Guy, he had to make a 2-hour show from there which was broadcast live in many countries. Sure, it was for a good cause. The show aimed at raising awareness on One Drop, a fundraiser he founded in 2007 whose aim is to make water accessible to every human being on the planet. A noble cause, to say the least. Back on earth, he made a movie about his journey, and more recently he released a book with pictures of earth he took from space. Profit from both went to One Drop.
Promoting a good intended non-profit organization is certainly not debatable, but promoting it by a multimillion dollar launch into space might, however, be a controversial question. Not even mentioning the pollution and other side effects that space flight generates, as the flight would have occurred with or without you. But why haven’t you considered the most modest and classical use of TV and radio advertisement?
Why did you create a fundraiser in the first place? You’re a billionaire. What do you need your money for? Couldn’t you just get rid of half of it and silently use it to build viable wells in Africa? Even better, as I assume a million dollar is all a normal individual needs, why don’t you use most of your billion dollars to work toward the noble cause? Are you expecting the organization to raise even more money than that?
Let’s get this straight, I don’t mind that you went in space. Every single one of us would go too if we could afford it. You do whatever you want with your money, it’s yours. But stop pretending it was for a good cause, it was for you and yourself. I am also not jealous of your money. You earned it diligently through hard work.
Guy, nobody cares about you. You are laughingstock in Québec, you are the one clown everybody names when they need a funny character in their joke. You are not a star, and you will never be one. You don’t act, sing or dance. You became a celebrity because you forced yourself into it, not because you were worth one. We acknowledge your accomplishments, we admit you did good things for the people of this province in general, but we liked you more when we didn’t have to know your name or hear of you. We recognize Le Cirque du Soleil as a great window on Québec, and you should have kept at that. Using a celebrity to promote a fundraiser is one thing. Using a fundraiser to promote oneself is another. Please, go back into your office and do what you did best for years, invest your money silently without anyone knowing.
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