The Radio Story
Mira Henderson as Rick
Qing Wen as Chili
Leela Stone as Sanjay
The below content provides context for "The Radio Story"
The Gate: Band Aid
In response to a rattling BBC report on the starving victims of the Ethiopian famine, a charity supergroup featuring British and Irish musicians and recording artists was formed. Founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, the band featuring nearly 40 artists released the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in December of that year. The single featured many of the biggest acts of the early 80s, including Duran Duran, Wham!, and U2.
Anti-capitalist critiques of the band and its cause soon emerged. Many believed the record was a cosmetic spectacle that drew attention away from the real political causes of world hunger. In a 1985 Time Out interview, Morrissey, frontman of The Smiths and self-proclaimed pariah of the pop industry, exclaimed that “one can have great concern for the people of Ethiopia, but it's another thing to inflict daily torture on the people of Great Britain. It was an awful record considering the mass of talent involved. And it wasn't done shyly. It was the most self-righteous platform ever in the history of popular music.”
Garfield, Simon, and Morrissey. “This Charming Man.” Time Out, 1985, web.archive.org/web/20130526222643/
Majewski, Lori. “Secrets and Stories From the Star-Studded Band Aid Session.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 25 June 2018, www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-making-of-band-aid-secrets-and-stories-from-the-star-studded-session-172815/.
The Waiting Area: Commodifying Disaster and Trauma
The humanitarian imperative is the human desire to prevent and alleviate human suffering where it is found and to offer support where it is needed. This imperative’s purity is ostensibly altruistic. “I care,” “I’ll give,” “I’ve saved.”
But Western society, namely in late-stage capitalism, has enabled a “brand” of philanthropy that centres the “I” before anyone else in question. We see a child drowning and we feel an inherent obligation to save them but only so we can commodify and capitalize on their harrowing stories for our Instagram feed. We share trauma porn but only to fuel our own vanity. We find ways to ensure people know that we know that children are dying in foreign lands we can’t situate, and with histories we don’t care to learn about. We create a performance out of our care that satisfies no one but ourselves.
Isn’t it ironic that we’ve bottled up disasters and sold them in plastic bottles? How we’ve made competitions out of suffering and profits off of the marginalized? But our capitalistic currency has always been transactional; a method predicated on gaining power and social collateral. We consume their pain and then ask for seconds.
Sphere. “Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.” Sphere Standards, 2018, spherestandards.org/humanitarian-standards/humanitarian-charter/.
“The new age of airport gate management - Passenger Terminal Today.” Passenger Terminal Today,