Skip navigation

The Sydney Sun-Herald of April 15 reports that an Australian actor is asking for donations to the total of US$200,000, which he will use to buy himself a ticket on a Virgin Galactic flight into space.¹

The actor is Gyton Grantley, from the soap Home and Away. Note that in Australia, appearing in Home And Away does qualify one to be called an actor.

The space flights are intended to have a duration of two and a half hours.

The Sun-Herald article says “people around the world can donate $1 each to the cause via a PayPal system or by depositing money into a bank account set up for the venture.” What it doesn’t explain is why.

Forgive me, but this rankles my sense of justice. It seems to me that there are much more deserving uses for one dollar, never mind 200,000.

But in the age of Paris clones, cookie-cutter Emos and Jackass imitators, a significant sector of the public will make choices based on how meaningless, stupid or nihilistic they are. So he’s in with a chance.

Wait, you say. The gentleman has every right to be cheeky and self-serving. Correct; and so too, I have every right to draw attention to it.

You might think that this is a stunt to raise money for charity. But the actor says, “This isn’t a joke or a scam, I am serious…”¹ He really will use the money to buy a ticket on a space ride.

The scheme’s website, http://www.sendguytospace.com, says:

By helping Gy you will also be helping many sick children. As well as 10 percent of the ticket price, all excess money donated will be given to the Starllight [sic.] Foundation. An Australian foundation helping bring joy to sick children.

This means that if he raises a million dollars, US$820,000 will go to charity, and he’ll spend US$180,000 on frivolity. And if he only raises US$200,001, then it’s US$21,001 to charity, the rest to play. Which figure do you think is more likely to be reached?

In fairness, good on him for offering 10% of your money to charity.

The website’s disclaimer says:

The funds donated are for the dominate [sic.] purpose of funding my ticket to space. However if by 30th of June 2008 I am unable to raise sufficient funds to purchase a ticket, and do not have adequate funds to pay the shortfall myself, I will donate the funds to the Starlight Foundation.

The bottom line is that this “cause” might raise money for charity, but first it’s gonna raise money for Gyton Grantley.

Full marks to the fella for having a go, and bonus points for bare-faced cheek.

Perhaps Send Gy To Space was inspired by 2005’s famous One Red Paperclip enterprise, in which a clever kid used the internet, and public goodwill, to make incrementally more profitable exchanges, beginning with a red paperclip and ending with a small house. (See oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com/.)

The difference is that the Paperclip guy bartered things that were of value to the people who helped him along the way, whereas Gyton Grantley is simply begging. And he doesn’t even offer to play guitar, sing or perform any traditional busker service. He’s just sitting on the footpath of the information superhighway, with his virtual hat upturned for your e-charity.

You see, Mr Grantley is based in Sydney, New South Wales, and under NSW law begging money from strangers is not an offence. Buskers, however, are required to have a permit. Perhaps a separate arrangement could be made with PayPal to facilitate donations to buy Gy a busking permit, or at least a permit to operate a silly name.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of natural selection, and it’s okay by me for clever people to profit from fools. But the public has limited reserves of tolerance for appeals to charity, and I think this audacious and relatively novel scheme would be better used to raise money for something that’s actually worthwhile.

So, are you feeling charitable enough to donate a trifling US$1 to a so-called cause? Are another 199,999 people feeling the same way? If so, here are a few things that US$200,000 would be better spent on:

• The Salvation Army
• Cancer research
• Drug education & rehab programs
• Equipment for your local hospital
• Food parcels for drought-affected communities
• Mass sponsorship of third world towns
• My early retirement

Or you could just send one bloke to space for a couple of hours, at Virgin Galactic’s profit.

¤

References:
1. Angela Cuming: To reach for stars, actor needs cash. The Sun-Herald, Sydney, April 15 2007, p21.

__________

2 Comments

  1. You know what’s worse? The charity thing was only an after thought apparantly. I read that his original site did not say anything about charity money. It was a week later or something he decided to exploit children to get himself money.

    I hate him! Thx for your interesting article!

    ps. the paperclip guy is cool!

  2. You are such a smart-arse! Fortunately you’re hilarious – a rather tricky thing to be in literary form, I think.

    Still making me laugh halfway across the country,

    S.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: