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As Lil’ Kim once rapped, ”Y’all rock Versace and y’all went out and bought it/I rock Versace and y’all know I ain’t paid for it.” In other words, overpaid as they may be, celebrities still get a lot of their clothes and jewelry and meals for free.

And if that wasn’t grating enough, they also get obscene amounts of swag just for showing up or performing at awards shows. Take this Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards: Today’s New York Post reports that every VMA performer will take home a stash worth a whopping $26,000, which still pales in comparison to the most recent Grammy grab ($34,000) or Oscar goodies ($150,000). Not to sound like Debbie Downer, but c’mon now: How about putting the kibosh on swag bags, and having MTV donate $26,000 apiece to each performer’s favorite charity instead?

Think I’m a Pollyanna? Check out Radar’s interesting item about how far the value of a typical award-show freebie could go toward combating global poverty. Yeah, that six-month bicoastal membership to the Sports Club/L.A. (valued at $2,250) would pay for a library in India.

What do you think? Is it time to drive a stake through the ugly heart of the gift-bag industry? Or are Paris, Lindsay, Puffy and company simply getting what they deserve?

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