Moral Conflict of the Day: Charity vs Art

Anti-crime NGO Shout, founded by Danny K and Kabelo, has gotten a bunch of talented South African musicians together and released a charity song, Shout, which is a cover of the classic Tears for Fears track. To download it, one must first donate R20 via SMS, all of which will go towards Shout’s campaign to kit out underfunded police stations, a noble cause if there ever was one.

The track is also available for streaming on their website, and, while the intentions behind it may be good, the problem is that the track itself is god-awful. Setting aside my natural skepticism about most charitable endeavors,  I’m genuinely conflicted as to whether good intentions can justify mediocre art.

On the one hand, there is a lot worse music created for far less noble reasons, but on the other hand creating a truly excellent song would be possibly more beneficial to their cause. On the third hand, the general South African public has terrible taste in music anyway, so people will probably download it by the thousands, Shout will make plenty of money and everyone can go home happy, aside from your morally conflicted author.

I’m interested to know what my readers (I know I have at least one) think about this conflict. Do the ends (raising money for charity) justify the means (releasing crap music) or do artists have, first and foremost, an obligation to create art? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

On a lighter note, one thing I’m not at all conflicted about is the upcoming HBO show Boardwalk Empire. A new trailer was released today, featuring a look at some of the show’s other characters and 100% more dialogue than the previous one. I can state, confidently and unequivocally, that this show looks awesome. Check it out over at HBO.

Lastly, it seems that I’m not the only one who’s decided that succession = distraction, although I’m not sure how I feel about being in agreement with Jeremy Cronin.

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1 Response to “Moral Conflict of the Day: Charity vs Art”



  1. 1 A Premature Hangover « Commentary Dot Za Trackback on 29/04/2010 at 1:18 PM

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