Help the victims of a bomb that did not exist

You may recall the times I've mentioned or been around the new Michael Lee Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum, which is not far away from me. A couple days ago, it was the site of a strange and stupid incident that has been in the news here ever since.

A student at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) put some batteries and circuitry in a little wooden box, left it inside the crystal not far from the entrance, then took off and youtubed footage of that action saying the box was not a bomb. Needless to say, someone eventually spotted it and everyone went nuts, bringing out cops and the bomb squad and dogs and whatnot, and the ROM closed pretty much for the night until they got it all sorted. Not surprisngly, the guy came out for a couple interviews saying this whole thing was an art project about recontextualization and stuff. (Note I'm not offering links to any of this, because he's gotten enough of the attention he was going for already.)

Now, usually I would be amused by something like this: some smart-ass, faux-pretentious kid making our authority figures freak out unecessarily. So why am I being all uppity about this incident? Well, that night, the ROM was hosting a huge fundraiser for CANFAR, the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, one of those deals where rich people and corporations shell out tons of money to be there and tons more when they're there and where dozens of amazing volunteers give their time to help make it run well. This wacky little misadventure caused that event to be cancelled, basically taking away a good chunk of CANFAR's budget for the year.

Artist-boy says he had no idea about that event (nice research, dude - it was hardly an underground thing), and is sorry it was cancelled. Yeah, well, doesn't quite make up for the thousands of dollars lost that could've gone toward research, taking care of sick people, and helping with education that could prevent more deaths.

So this morning, I went over to the CANFAR site and donated 50 bucks, which is about all I can spare with no new money of my own coming in right now. I probably should have been donating to these guys for a while anyway, but this thing kind of kicked my ass that fewer rich people were going to be doing it for me at the moment. I think at least in North America, the general public doesn't think much about this issue/cause anymore except regarding Africa, but HIV/AIDS has not gone away anywhere, and the not-thinking-much provides a potential breeding ground for it. (Maybe artist-boy will fold this attention-raising into his "recontextualization" and look good from it, but whatever.)

So if you have a chance, please go to the CANFAR site, find out a little more about them, click the "donate now" button and give what you can. And of course, remember World AIDS Day is tomorrow.

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