The Shinebox

By and

When I think of all the world’s problems-genocide, poverty, disease, bad punctuation-it’s good to know we have the likes of Bono, Angelina Jolie and Lindsay Lohan looking out for us. It should make us all sleep better at night to think that, somewhere out there, the world’s most famous faces are ignoring their own selfish desires and focusing all their energies on saving the world.

Just last week it was announced that Lohan, everyone’s favorite drunken, used-to-be-hot-until-she-stopped-eating Hollywood wild child, will be taking some time out of her busy schedule to stop by Kenya as part of the ever-growing “One” campaign, which apparently believes that celebrities will cure AIDS.

Because, of course, an industry propelled by sex and the proliferation of such is clearly best equipped to solve the AIDS epidemic.

Anyway, Lohan will reportedly “visit schools and clinics,” according to celebrity news Web site www.FemaleFirst.co.uk. The article goes on to say that the trip will “likely focus on where America is helping make a difference to save and change lives.”

Is Lohan donating any of her $7.5 million paycheck from the upcoming “Just My Luck” to help these people she cares so much about?

Who knows? Maybe, but nothing has been reported indicating such.

Then what is she doing? Well, she’s probably making a damned good career move. And no, I don’t mean that in a good way. It’s a good career move because people will hear about her sudden humanitarian efforts, and they will totally eat it up. They’ll buy right into the B.S.

And by “they,” I mean the people who subscribe to Us Weekly magazine.

It’s hard for me to even blame Lohan-she’s just doing what everyone else in her line of work is doing these days. She’s just following the crowd, and when she gets back, she’ll be lauded as a golden child.

Which will distract everyone from the fact that Lohan and her little celebrity friends are doing next to nothing to solve poverty and AIDS. Give their PR people credit for doing their job well, but please-don’t buy it.

Oh, and Lohan is into the Kaballah now, too. She is, like, so totally deep and spiritual.

Hollywood stars show up in Hollywood commercials lecturing us on poverty and disease. They take advantage of photo-ops at telethons and press conferences and talk shows. They try to convince us how much they care about?well, whatever the trendy issue is this week.

I’m not saying they don’t care-I’m sure many of them do. But are they really doing what they can to fix the problems they care so deeply about?

No.

I cringe whenever I hear a press release about some A-list celeb “selflessly” donating $10,000 to this cause or that. What does 10,000 bucks, or even 50,000, mean to someone who gets paid $20 million per movie (not to mention endorsements and public appearance fees)?

Does anyone remember that ridiculous LiveAid concert they tried to sell us on last year? Instead of raising money to at least make a little bit of progress in the global fights against poverty and disease, those involved instead decided to “raise awareness,” which means absolutely nothing. They did not raise awareness-they gave a free concert, entertained some college kids and made themselves feel better about themselves. That was all. The concert didn’t make a dent.

But now Lohan, after a year in the tabloids, wants to change her image, and she’ll be doing just that. She’ll say she’s helping people. She’ll probably cry in some interview on “Oprah” three months from now.

Next year at the Oscars she’ll wear one of those stupid buttons or pink ribbons-again, not accomplishing anything, but definitely improving her self-esteem.

Let me put it to you this way: If you were living in poverty in Africa, dying of AIDS, would you give a flying crap if Lindsay bleeping Lohan visited you at your clinic? In fact, wouldn’t a visitation from a boney, emaciated-looking blonde American be more than a little offensive? People in Kenya are starving and suffering by accident; Lohan is doing it on purpose. Isn’t that sort of a crass paradox? Isn’t that a problem? And can’t we do something about it?

Of course we can. Get Bono on the phone-problem solved.