The newspaper made me angry this morning. The Sunday Star is usually so thin it wouldn’t even serve well as birdcage paper. The only thing I enjoy is Marlene Arpe and her snarky comments in the entertainment section. A few things caught my eye and made me shake my head.

This quote was what started me off an a rant: “According to Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, medical officer of health for Hamilton, “when youth see their favourite celebrity smoking on the big screen, they are 16 times more likely to have positive attitudes about smoking in the future. The Canadian Cancer Society is really concerned about youth exposure to positive depiction of smoking in movies,” says Nicole McInerney, senior coordinator for public issues and youth advocacy for the Ontario division of the Canadian Cancer Society.” Excuse me?

Groups of students have been picketing the Toronto International Film Festival protesting movies like Bill Murray’s. Why? They depict smoking. Ergo, the depiction glamourizs smoking.[glurgggg]

So riddle me this, group of photogenic multi-ethnic, multi-religious young males and females – have any of you ever smoked dope or had friends who smoked dope? Have you ever had sex (gay/straight/protected/unprotected), played video games (r-rated/violent/sexist/stupid/anti-establishment/illegal), drank a beer or skipped school, seen someone pushed around at school but did nothing to stop it, eaten a greasy burger? If not, then carry on.

If so, then stop being so high and mighty and faux-pure. All those things appear in magazines and on billboards, cell phones, tablets and the small and large screen every day. Just because you see something in the media doesn’t make most people rush out and do it in real life. I mean, give people some credit for intelligence. Getting your face in the newspaper at TIFF is someone’s idea of doing a good deed? Puh-lease. Spare me the preaching. Go raise money for clean water in Africa or mother and infant care almost anywhere in the world outside North America and Europe. God gave us free will. Choice. Put down that smartphone and use your brain!

This ‘noble cause bullying’ is ridiculous because it trivializes the very real tragedy that cancer can be. What about the impact of prescription drugs as precursors to cancer – birth control pills, anti-psychotic medication, acne treatments, etc. Oh wait – that’s Big Pharma.

The CCS website says that they are: “a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer.” I get that. They’ve done some wonderful work. They’ve been in business since 1938. We all know family and friends who have been victims of the Big C. ratios

Part of me is frustrated that so many millions of hours and billions of dollars have been spent. Strides have been made. But why is it taking so long to reach that ‘eradication’ objective?

There are over 250 cancer charities in Canada. Many other charities also deal in one way or another with cancer. Why am I perplexed? Because of reports like this: “CBC’s Marketplace analyzed the Canadian Cancer Society’s financial reports dating back a dozen years. It discovered that each year, as the society raised more dollars, the proportion of money it spent on research dropped… ” and a more recent Global News report called Donor Beware found similar issues.

spendingThe numbers change year-to-year but gee wizzers, is the objective getting more money or making a real difference in the long term?

I’m not so sure any more. That makes me sad. I’ll still give, but to charities like Doctors Without Borders and Orbis, who actually put boots on the ground.