Monday, November 22, 2010

Famous, rich and homeless

Today I sat down and became totally addicted and mesmerized and enthralled with a t.v. show.
Yes, all of that with one show.
It's called " Famous, Rich and Homeless" and it is on the planetgreen network.
The premise is this:
Take 5 famous and or rich people and remove everything they have on their person and drive them to a location in London and drop them off with what you give them. For 10 days. No phone calls allowed to family and friends and no credit cards to be used at any time for any reason.
What do they get? They get a sleeping bag, no money and some clothing not necessarily appropriate for the weather.
I watched as they were dumbfounded as to what to do next. It was cold, it was wet and they had to beg for food or money to buy food.
One of the women who shops at Dolce and Gabana ended up sleeping in their doorway after hours.
What was enlightening was how they were perceived by the general public.
Much like I perceive those who beg from me.
I either walk on and say I have no cash or I ignore them totally while looking another direction. "Since when did we stop being human beings?" she said in tears.
One gentleman ( owner of a company) said that he has a lot of hope in mankind that was slowly, no, quickly being stripped to nothing after a day of begging for money.
Another was smart and decided to take tourists pictures ,of them together, for some spare change. He ended up being able to buy himself a pint of beer and stay warm in a pub for the night.
But the one man I detested was the man who checked into a hotel for a night. He used the excuse that he was afraid if getting ill and he had no. 1 to think about first, not some t.v. show.
Man oh man, you are sooo missing the point dude! He actually agreed to sleep on the street the next night in return for this priviledge. When the show's producers came to make sure he made good on his promise the next night, he blew them off and quit the show all the while calling them nasty names and berating them.
Oh, if only the homeless had that option.
The experience was humbling and alarming to these people.
At one point, one of the women walked up to a group of men and asked them why they were all gathered around waiting. They told her it was a place that handed out food. So she waited with them. While she waited, one of them gave her a list of all the places in London that give out food to the homeless.
I witnessed tears, frustration and the stripping away of the human spirit.
And this was only day 3.
The series is based on a ten day experience.
I don't know how I can watch it. Or not watch it.
Makes me think twice about ignoring the next person, whomever it may be, and for whatever reason. We are all human beings and when we stop treating each other as such, we fail.
This is what they write as an intro for the show:

Most of us think homelessness is something that happens to ‘other people,’ but as a consequence of the credit crunch, homeless charities are predicting an acute rise in the homeless rate.

Suddenly, losing a home is becoming a very real prospect for many more people. To bring this daunting fact to the wider public’s attention,Famous, Rich and Homeless challenges five well-known celebrities to experience homelessness firsthand on the streets of London – in the middle of winter.

They are all familiar with the city, but until now they have only seen it from a privileged point of view. Now they’re going to experience a whole new level of engagement. What will they learn by sleeping rough for 10 days and 10 nights? Moreover, what will it teach us about the realities of homeless life?

Overseen throughout by two experts in homelessness, each celebrity is stripped of their cash and possessions and dropped off in a different part of the city. With no money, and hunger growing, they must decide how to eat. Do they lose their dignity and beg? Or dip in bins for discarded food? Where will they sleep? And how will the public react to these familiar people who are usually seen on their television screens?

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