On Thursday, May 7, the 11th day of her hunger strike, Mia Farrow’s only communication was her blog post, “I’m really struggling today.” Her “Day 12” message was, “Feeling awful. Blood sugar under 40. Muscles hurt. I won’t be able to continue much longer.” She didn’t explain why she hadn’t quit already.
For far too close to two weeks, she had kept Darfur in the news and rallied nearly 300 co-fasters, for varying lengths of time and varying levels of “fasting.” Some ate as much as a standard Darfuri diet of about 1,000 calories a day.
But what had she really accomplished? Impact these days is measured by hits on YouTube, and her MiaFarrow2009 YouTube channel was not a major draw. In her “Day 9” video on May 5, Mia said, “I can’t believe how many people have been watching these videos. It’s huge.”
Not by YouTube standards. Not by Numa Numa guy standards (28,586,009 views). Not by Chris Crocker’s ”Leave Britney Alone!” standards (25,289,348 views). Even a seven-year-old’s Chris Crocker parody got 204,826 views.
By the morning of May 8, only one MiaFarrow2009 video, “Day 8,” had neared 19,000 views. “Day 9” was closing in on a decent yet, virally speaking, insignificant 9,000. And that went up the day of her second hunger strike interview on Larry King.
In the same four day period, an assessment of a Philipino boxing match by YouTube regular HappySlip (Christine Gambito) got over 360,000 views.
Could it be that hunger strikes are not the best way to change minds in
the 21st century? Or did Mia’s quiet talks from her charming Connecticut
bedroom just need some spicing up? Quick jump cuts? A surprise appearance
by Michael Buckley, whose whatthebuckshow channel has 425,811 subscribers?
For a while it looked like Mia’s little granddaughter Maureen might turn things around. In the early videos, she was a slightly distracting offscreen voice. By the “Day 8” webisode, she was sneaking into frame, wiggling her fingers and mugging as grandma tried to convince viewers about the importance of their support. In “Day 9,” Maureen placed her head in front of Mia’s handwritten sign with the White House phone number, 202-456-1111, in block letters.
As late as the “Day 10” video, one day before Mia admitted she was “struggling,” she seemed to be doing well: “OK, it’s day ten of no food at all, just water, and it’s really interesting, actually, because … I feel fine. It’s crazy … I don’t have a lot of energy, and sometimes I get, you know, hunger pangs. But other than that, it’s very strange.”
In her blog she added, “I realize we don’t need to eat every day. And we certainly don’t need 3 meals a day.”
At the beginning of the fast, Mia assured the public that a doctor was coming the following Monday and she wouldn’t take foolish chances with her health. Monday came and went with no mention of the doctor’s visit. Before the fast, she wrote on her Huffington Post blog, “And when I can no longer continue, I pray another will take my place, and another -- until there is justice and peace for Darfur’s people.”
Commenters begged her not to die. In a later article. she reassured readers, “I’m still a parent and I don’t want to die.”
Gabriel Stauring of Darfur Fast for Life told L.A. Times Technology blogger David Sarno, "We want to convince her that if we have somebody else that is famous and that would draw attention, that she should stop."
But what famous person will do it? Angelina Jolie is making a movie and, if you believe the tabloids, there’s no telling if Brad will be around to help out. David Blaine called with advice before Mia’s fast and has proven he can go 44 days on nothing but water -- while dangling in a Plexiglas case 30 feet in the air -- but as a magician his sincerity would be in question, and how could he top the Plexiglas case? Miley Cyrus is underage and Lindsay Lohan is too easily distracted.
No, there is only one celebrity healthy enough, hot enough and beloved enough for the position.
Before Paris Hilton was released from jail in 2007, she called Barbara Walters collect and recanted her purposeless, partying ways, telling Barbara, “I used to act dumb … Now I want to make a difference … God has given me this new chance.”
I don’t seem to remember her taking God up on that chance. Nearly two years later, Mia Farrow’s frailty has given her another.