As Middle Eastern and North African governments totter and fall, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has his sights set on the real crisis: getting Hollywood to produce more films on global warming. As reported in the Guardian:
Ban has been on the phone to Gaddafi and other leaders in the Middle East from Hollywood, where he is trying to raise the profile of climate change and – who knows – maybe pitch a movie.
You might think that Secretary-General Ban’s priorities are a bit backwards. Perhaps he could fit in a phone call to Hollywood while engaging in direct diplomacy to stop Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s effort to violently repress his citizens? Is Ban relying, instead, on the efforts of UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Aisha Qadhafi ? She is the Colonel’s daughter. That gives her access, of course, but raises certain, ahem, questions about conflict of interest.
Secretary-General Ban’s decision to go to California raises fundamental questions about his and the U.N.’s priorities. After all, convincing Hollywood to produce movies about global warming is pretty much the definition of low-hanging fruit. Remember Waterworld, The 11th Hour, The Day After Tomorrow, An Inconvenient Truth, or any of the dozens of other movies, documentaries, and TV episodes that focused on global warming? Global warming is so common a plot line that it’s become clichéd.
Why didn’t Secretary-General Ban send in his stead actor and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity Edward Norton, supermodel and U.N. Environment Program Global Ambassador Gisele Bundchen, or actress and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie? U.N. Environment Program Global Ambassador Don Cheadle is accompanying Secretary-General Ban on his trip. Couldn’t he have made the pitch?
A quick Google search will demonstrate the utter lack of need for the U.N. to improve its ties to Hollywood. The number of U.N. Goodwill Ambassadors among Hollywood’s elite is overwhelming. The Oscars must have dozens of current and former U.N. ambassadors in the audience each year. Is there some sort of union requirement or something? I’m surprised no one has created a drinking game about it.
The U.N.’s fixation on improving its image and promoting its agenda through Hollywood is just another illustration that the organization doesn’t get it. The U.N.’s image rises and falls on its actions and determination to fulfill the principles outlined in its Charter, which includes promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms. Even the best public relations efforts can’t overcome electing Libya to the U.N. Human Rights Council or appointing a tyrant’s daughter as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador.