Last night on Larry King Live, Larry featured the 'magicians' behind ABC's hit series Extreme Makeover. Some of the patients in this show were truly suffering from deformities of the sort that was affecting their entire life and well being as well as self esteem. Many others were primarily cosmetic enhancements to improve dating prospects. How many of them would fall under the underprivileged, poor, who's direct livelyhood and maybe future life prospects depended upon corrective surgery? A grand total of 1.
The whole situation is a sad one. It was tragic to see Larry and his guests talking about how good the surgeons felt when they helped someone look better, look what they wanted to look like. How benevolent this act of performing corrective/cosmetic surgery on someone was and how refreshing and gratifying it was to the experts to have given their time to perform these modern day miracles for men and women who were badly in need of a .... date!
It was even more tragic that Larry did not point out any charitable work that these miracle surgeons may have been doing, basically donating their time and expertise for nothing in return, to benefit the cause of the truly underprivileged and disadvantaged as a result of congenital or accidental deformity which directly affects their livelyhood, self-esteem and potentially survival. Perhaps Larry forgot to point these acts of benevolence, or perhaps there weren't any to point out, or perhaps it didn't fit in the theme of the show that night.
The episode must have been a great PR event for all the surgeons interviewed, the stylist and fashion designer in the show, as well as for ABC itself. What an ingenious way to promote the show and the surgeons? Wow! Needless to say, these expressions of benevolence on the part of surgeons, gratitude on the part of the patients (from the show), and wonder on the part of the audience in the show as well as Larry, does nothing, nada, zilch to advance the cause of putting smiles back on the faces of people and their destinies back in the hands of people in this world who struggle for survival because of their deformity.
Perhaps, Larry should do another small segment in an unrelated show, to maybe showcase the works of the likes of The Smile Train, who are a non-governmental organization (NGO - not for profit), which performs these miracles almost daily in a variety of countries and in a variety of cultures uplifting those who not only cannot afford it but do not have any hope of a good life, living with a cleft lip deformity.
Deformities, congenital or accidental, are considered taboos in many societies of the third world. It is a deficiency which inherently leads to prejudice and assumption of incompetence or ineffectiveness. It is a curse to many. In countries like India and China, a child born with a deformity such as this determines to a large extent that child's future life achievements of lack thereof. The Smile Train, puts smiles back on these faces and their lives back in their own hands so they can chart their destiny without being prejudged and denied the opportunities that lie ahead. Thats benevolence. That's applying a technology, effort and manpower to a great cause.
Perhaps Larry should have had one more cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Upadhye, who lives in the USA and despite the fact that his heart operates at a fraction of its capacity, despite the fact that he himself cannot walk or talk clearly, performs hundreds of surgeries for free by visiting India's poor every year. Perhaps Larry should have relied on the first class investigative journalism that CNN and their anchors are so famous for to dig up those timid and shy souls who stay away from the limelight while performing these acts of greatness daily. Perhaps Larry should meet Dr. V (see post dated July 3).
Then again, perhaps Larry just wanted to look at his shows ratings and ABC's ratings for Extreme Makeover.