i'm sure plenty of people will have watched the campbell live story on the boy with buck teeth*. i didn't watch myself, but saw the ads both yesterday and today.
i know they're patting themselves on the back for a successful story and a very positive outcome for this child - the positive outcome being something along the lines of some kind of dental treatment to fix the problem. and sure, that's great for the child and it gives us all such a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling when we think about how generous we are as a nation in coming to the rescue of the this child.
the reason given for the surgery - at least the only reason i saw on the promos - was that the boy was being bullied and teased at school, and this surgery would stop that. i'd be interested to hear from anyone who's watched the show (i don't really feel that i can bear to watch at this point) whether they actually addressed the aspect of bullying and teasing? in other words, did the show make the point that bullying and teasing someone for their physical appearance is wrong, and needs to be addressed by the school and by the adults responsible for the children who interact with this boy?
because i'm feeling really uncomfortable with the notion that the answer to bullying and teasing is spending money to change your appearance. [as an aside, i make no judgement of people who choose to so spend their money, particularly in a culture such as the one we currently live in]. because that isn't the answer. the answer is to edcuate people in our society to be more accepting of physical difference - or emotional difference, or racial difference, or religious difference.
campbell live can't spend every episode highlighting a person suffering from bullying and asking for money so that they can change their appearance. there are so many, many kids and adults out there without the funds or the ability to change the way they are. if anything needs to change, it's the culture they live in, that we live in, where casual cruelty is seen by some people to be acceptable.
so while this sounds, on the face of it, to be a fairy tale - like the waving of a magic wand, this young boy's troubles will suddenly disappear - it doesn't deal with the actual problem. the actual problem is not the boy and his teeth. and there is absolutely no guarantee, once his teeth are "fixed"** that the bullying won't continue. once you're a marked person in the eyes of bullies, you often stay that way regardless of the changes you make. because the problem is not with you, it's with the bullies.
in any case, i wish this child well and hope his life gets better. i hope it wasn't too embarassing to have his "problem" publicised on national television, but i suspect he doesn't mind given that he can now have it fixed. and i really wish that this feeling of goodwill expressed by the nation would extend to all of those who live in poverty or with any other difficulty in their lives.
* is there a better way to say this? i really hate that phrase but it was the one the programme used and i can't think of an alternative at this time of night.
** i use the quote marks because i personally don't believe there is anything really wrong with them, unless they are causing some kind of health problem.