The Year of Charitainment

Celebrity do-gooderism was in fashion. But do we need stars to be our guides?

At Manhattan's Supper Club, Angelina Jolie--humanitarian, Oscar winner, erstwhile wearer of a vial of Billy Bob Thornton's blood--is scheduled to speak about Sierra Leone. It's a benefit dinner for Witness, a group that has been chronicling abuses in the war-torn African country--slaughter, rape, the drafting of child soldiers. So, naturally, a swarm of cameras are there to get her take on the big issue of the day: Isn't she, like, totally excited that Brad Pitt has decided to adopt her two kids?

Jolie ducks questions from the reporters, who instead corner actor Tim Robbins and singer and Witness co-founder Peter Gabriel,...

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