Don't Be Like Patrice - RANT
by MAX ROZENBURG
Patrice Evra fed the homeless. Patrice Evra is a dick.
Patrice kicks a ball for living. Not into the net, even. The 36-year old left-back took his hard-earned, seven-figure annual salary to the streets of Marseille. To prove to the world that his heart is made out of the same material as his ring, Patrice handed out food to homeless people.
He filmed it all, and shared the video on Instagram.
Patrice is not the first to employ homelessness as a tool for attention. The trend of giving homeless people money, meals or makeovers on camera came to us from the wrong side of the Atlantic around Christmas 2016. Since then, French, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Dutch second-tier vloggers have pumped out ‘feel-good’ videos involving homeless people, to boost subscription rates and egos alike.
‘Surely, this trend is better than the mind-numbing stupidity of other internet-phenomena, like planking, owling or whatever that standing-frozen-on-camera-bullshit is called,’ you might say. ‘At least this internet-hype has a positive impact on others.’
I would not want to call you wrong, but you would be.
You see, gratification-seeking douchenozzles like Patrice refuse to do anything of value if they do not receive public praise for their actions. All acts of kindness have to be broadcasted to the world for likes, comments and followers. Cancerous virtue signalling, exemplary for the online community.
This self-congratulatory behaviour is damaging to those that do help the homeless. Brilliant collective efforts that will remain forever underappreciated because people extend a helping hand without holding a camera in the other. Private acts too. Patrice is telling me that kindness is something to show off - something that can be traded for attention. It turns any act of kindness into an empty shell, into something to be suspicious about.
What's more, "feeding the homeless" videos are exploitative, because kindness can be sold for hard cash. Helping the homeless can generate hundreds of euros in influencer contracts and click counts. Patrice, for example, has an Instagram-reach of almost 750,000 people. Influencer-marketing is somewhat shrouded in mystery, but according to ‘Influencer marketing for Dummies’ (I know, I know), written by the co-founders of the influencer-marketing market-leader Clever (slogan: “we’re clever"), such a reach is worth an estimated 6,000 euros per image. And influencer marketing is booming business. Instagram is not a social medium, it is a social marketplace. Feeding the homeless becomes brand-building; something to be capitalised upon.
For those wondering: you can start paying Patrice to get him to wear an AWE-shirt here.
Oh, and like everyone else, I forgot the homeless person.
He gets one meal. A reward for being used as a prop in some cockwomble’s gambit for online validation.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with helping homeless people. Just do it for the right reasons. Not for financial gain, not for online validation. Don’t help homeless people with a fucking camera in your hand.
Don’t be like Patrice. Because Patrice is a dick.