Sunday, October 29, 2006

Planet Basu - Ethiopian Edition

She's baaaack and in fine form, crusading... oh, sorry, can't use that word... it's insensitive... uh, jihading for the women of Ethiopia.

Rekha's article is front page, above the fold and everything you'd expect it to be. She trots out the familiar, tired characters in the anti-Western freak show. Commercialism! Globalization! Cynicism! Oprah Winfrey!!! Oh yeah, Rekha actually sites Oprah as a positive artifact of capitalism. But of course...

This is Ethiopia at its best: pure, joyful, engaging - and gorgeous. Uncorrupted by fast food, trash TV and materialistic values, free of the pervasive, cynicism-breeding commercialism of the Western world.

It's where a drive through the highlands might include an encounter with a fleet of monkeys
[a fleet of monkeys...? -ed] and baboons fleeing down a mountainside. Just miles ahead, you might run across a flock of majestic camels being herded through the street. Approaching a town's center brings the whimsical sight of a group of kids playing at a foosball table by the roadside.
Gee Rekha, sounds almost like Epcot!!!

I'll spare you the rest of the article. Short version - The United States should dole out more money to the Ethopias of the world with no strings attached by heartless cultural conservatives. Anyone surprised...? I thought not.

For anyone who knows the last 40 years of Ethopian history, it should come as not surprise that the country is a basket case. But not one hint of that in Rekha's piece. Historical perspective would only get in the way of feelings. No mention of the Marxist coup in 1974 that made Ethiopia a Soviet client state or the perpetual wars and corruption throughout the various governments that have come and gone in the last few decades. All of that pales compared to the destructive power of social conservatism in the United States.

For the record, Rekha has is precisely wrong. The long-term hope for the people of Ethiopia depend upon the facets of Western Civilization that Rekha views as pathology. "Globalization, materialism", yes... even "fast food" are the sign posts of successful, productive societies.

Maintaining Ethiopia as a sort of Rousseauian Noble Savage Theme Park with "fleets of monkeys... flocks of majestic camels [flocks of camels!!!??? geez Rekha] and other whimsical sights" will do not a whit to lower infant mortality and the brutal subjugation of women.

It will however assuage our guilt and make us feel better. There... ahhhh, I feel better already.


Anonymous H.G.T.S. de Manville said...

She's a very, very tired thing. I get the impression that those columns emerge by a kind of strange macro keystroke: synthesizing minor and tired thought, dimestore attitudes about charity and fairness, the depravity of successful nations, and impatience with people who actually want to think things through, they spew forth and are next seen slathered across dead trees.

Maybe we should sympathize: perhaps she is a kind of modern Bartleby, toiling amidst the dead letters ...

OTOH, can you imagine trying to be a columnist in DSM for 20 years, without ever actually talking to people who (compellingly) might disagree with you?

I wonder if anyone ever talks to her at parties? I don't see why they would. Of course, it would depend on the party.

I'm quite sure, though, that IowaEnnui has the answers to all of my questions, here. Sphinxlike, she lurks and links.

10:34 AM  
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2:34 PM  
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2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely agree with you regarding Ethiopia... however, the use of "flock" is considered a valid collective or group term for a group of camels. "Fleet" is valid when used for mudhens - probably not for monkeys.

7:09 PM  

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