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In which John discusses WorldSuck in Bangladesh, and the idea of us v. them.

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A Bunny
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Well, Hank, the votes have been tabulated, and by account of four thousand three hundred thirty six to eleven, the Nerdfighters have decided we should make more videos more often. As Hank Green would say: [Psudo-random hand gesticulations] Cue the intro!

(Intro plays.)

Well hello there, Puff! Haven't seen you in a while! Hank, today's video comes in two parts.

Part one, Question Tuesday. Hank, this video isn't gonna contain a lot of jokes, so to make up for it, I'm gonna do a Question Tuesday next Monday, and it is gonna be joketacular. So, Nerdfighters, if you could leave me a lot of questions in comments, specifically if you could ask me questions about a book or books so that I can have kind of a themed Question Tuesday on Monday, that would be super helpful.

Part Two, World Suck. I'm a big believer in giving money to charitable organizations like Save the Children and Oxfam because they do amazing work, and they do it with really impressive efficiency, but I have a bit of a problem with the way they raise money. I mean, we all know the basic strategy. You take a picture of children, preferably of children, preferably of them not smiling, and then you make it black and white so it looks more depressing. Then you put some sad music in the background. Hank, to put it in terms that a LOLCat could understand, the basic theme of your average global poverty charity advertisement is this: "I'm in ur konshintz makin u feal shame. I can haz money?"

Now here's the thing, guilt works. These places need to raise money, and guilt is probably the best way to raise money. But the weird thing that those advertisements end up doing is making you think that the poor are in some way fundamentally different from us. That they're, like, a them. And so our minds have become this formulation -- we should help them. But it's not a them problem, it's an us problem. We need to help us!

The whole reason I've been thinking about this is because of a Nerdfighter named Shawn. Shawn was in graduate school in Notre Dame when one day he decided that he needed to do something about World Suck, and so he moved to Bangladesh. His project is called Uncultured, and he makes all these videos showing what poverty is really like in Bangladesh, and he's also been using money he was saving for an XBOX 360 to help kids go to school, and to buy pencils, and to do all kinds of amazing things. Because like XBOX 360 money goes a long way in Bangladesh. I mean, it costs less than five bucks for a kid to go to school for six months and yet every single day kids have to drop out because they don't have enough money.

What strikes me as so amazing about Shawn is that he realizes that poverty isn't about them, it's about us, and he just went. I'm gonna be honest with you, Hank. I couldn't do that. I mean, I worry about the quality of drinking water in Kentucky. Nothing personal, Kentuckians. You know I love you.

This is what the Nerdfighters have taught me in the last fifteen months: There is no them. There are only facets of us. In fact, every time I've tried to imagine a them in the last fifteen months, there's been a Nerdfighter who's proved to me that that them is a part of us. And that's no different for the kids Shawn's working with in Bangladesh. They may not know In Your Pants Jokes; they may not speak English; they may not have high-speed Internet connections; but they're still part of us.

So here's what I'm proposing, Hank. Shawn's XBOX 360 money is only gonna go so far. So we're gonna help him help people in Bangladesh. This isn't charity; it's a kind of experiment in community. So definitely give money to Save the Children and Oxfam. Like, giving money to this project does not get you off the hook from real charity.

So first we're gonna help Shawn. Link in the sidebar. I just gave myself a mustache. And then we're gonna see exactly where our money goes, exactly who it helps, and exactly how it helps them, because Shawn's going to make videos on his Youtube channel. God, I love the Internet!

Hank, on Youtube, I've made this video a response to one of Shawn's videos so you can see the kind of work that he's doing, and I really hope that you and the Nerdfighters will join me in helping to supplement his XBOX 360 fund.

We're gonna get to see where every dollar goes. I think it's a fascinating experiment, and, best of all, like everything I like in this world, it's all about us. Nerdfighters, DFTBA. And yes, that is real.

Hank, I'll see you tomorrow.