George Clooney, Humble Humanitarian

I’ve always bristled at celebrities receiving humanitarian awards. The term itself — humanitarian — seems a bit heavy handed and I’m hard pressed to associate such an award with someone in the celebrity community. However, when George Clooney received the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at last night’s 62nd Emmy Awards, it made perfect sense.

Did you see his speech last night? Nailed it. No tears. No preaching. No self-aggrandizement. Clooney, instead, gave a frank assessment of how the Hollywood community and America at large so often lets important causes slip to the wayside in response to newer, hotter crises. (He cited Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, the earthquake in Haiti, the poverty in the Sudan and the flooding in Pakistan.)

Here’s Clooney’s masterful acceptance speech:

“It’s important to remember how much good can get done, because we live in such strange times where bad behavior sucks up all the attention and press. And the people who really need the spotlight: the Haitians, the Sudanese, people in the Gulf Coast.. Pakistan, they can’t get any.

I thought maybe there was a way to combine the two. I have offered to go to the south Sudan and have a wardrobe malfunction, but it was pointed out to me that I’m 49 and the consensus was that it would just be upsetting and kind of sad.

When the disaster happens, everybody wants to help, everybody in this room wants to help, everybody at home wants to help. The hard part is seven months later, five years later, when we’re on to a new story. Honestly, we fail at that, most of the time. That’s the facts.

I fail at that.

So here’s hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away. That would be an impressive accomplishment. Thank you.”

George Clooney is the real deal. Someone get started on forming his political action committee already.

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