Feb 9, 2007

Garish sportswear proves popular in rural Africa

The NY Times has a story about what the NFL does with the t-shirts and hats that commemorate Super Bowl losers. Instead of selling them as ironic collectibles, they donate them to a charity that gives them to rural villagers in Africa.

“Where these items go, the people don’t have electricity or running water,” said Jeff Fields, a corporate relations officer for World Vision. “They wouldn’t know who won the Super Bowl. They wouldn’t even know about football.”

The gear is flown, along with school and medical supplies, into a major city. It is then driven to one of the villages where World Vision staff members work. They distribute the shirts and caps at a community center, about two per family.

I guess it's a nice gesture donating clothes, but you have to wonder how it's good that people are being exposed to this. It's not like these people are raving football fans. It's really one of the more bizarre forms that globalization takes on, but I'm not really so sure that exposing people to America's corporate entertainment is a good thing. Isn't there some local way for them to clothe themselves? Maybe a hat really just keeps the sun off your head, but it seems vaguely artificial and crass seeing African villagers walking around in Chicago Bears t-shirts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Crass is bad??? Do Americans know this???