||[Jul. 15th, 2005|11:26 am]
Okay, now that we've all had our fun making fun of city_glitter's terrible mistake of duping people into donating money for her cat, I'd like to make a genuine appeal.
catvalente will be blog-athoning for Multiple Sclerosis on July 23rd. She is pretty much going it alone this year; after a spate of blogathon events last year, the blog community has apparently run out of steam, and debacles like the burning cat don't help any.
But here's the thing about charity: lj didn't invent fraudulent causes. People have been duped by real-life charlatans, probably since the time when beggars lined up outside of Jerusalem. Arthur Conan Doyle chronicled a particularly colorful example in his Sherlock Holmes story, "The Man with the Twisted Lip." People have been taken in, time and again.
And yet, people keep on giving.
Why? Because charitable giving is part of what makes us civilized. Empathy for the plight of the less fortunate is an essential part of our humanity. Community means that you take your chances and offer a helping hand, even if you've been bitten in the past.
Because there is real need. And because the selfishness of the stray hustler should not harden our hearts to that need, nor should it give us an excuse not to do our part.
Yuki_onna is making a personal sacrifice of time and effort in order to bring attention to a charity that does good work. That is the nature of charity - it's based on events, some crazier than others, to remind people that need still exists. I know from last year's experience that writing every half hour for 24 hours is hard, hard work. If she's willing to put in the time, consider whether you can put up a little cash for a good cause.
If you are too wary to donate to her via PayPal, make a personal donation directly to the charity and then let her know that you've done it (consider coughing up the dollar to get on her list, though, because her writing is amazing).
Don't let one bad incident be your excuse to harden your heart against people trying to do good work, against real need. Real need is still out there, and there are people who need our help.
It's part of being human.