Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2002 / 27 Tishrei, 5763

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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How to have fun in Africa


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Well, there's another Earth Summit behind us, and I guess we're moving slowly into a brave new world, chock full of sustainable resources, organic produce, and Segways for everybody.


But I noticed, thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle, that the event was marked by some peculiarities: first of all, the attendees ate rather well, including caviar and expensive wines, which is fine, but kind of a slap in the face to the hungry Africans surrounding the event, when you think about it.


They also imported their own bottled water, even though the local water was perfectly drinkable. And the attendees were offered guided tours of Soweto, that is, they could observe poverty firsthand, sort of, by driving through ghettos in an air-conditioned bus. According to the Chronicle, at least one resident of Soweto, Lolo Mabitsela charged a hundred bucks a day for delegates to stay with "a real black family."


If all of this suggests what pundits call a "disconnect" with reality, keep in mind that some got it together enough to heckle Colin Powell when he gamely showed up at the conference to take the heat for the United States, and to chide the President of Zimbabwe for giving white-run farms to black Zimbabweans. I think he also believes that AIDS is caused by bad vibes, but I'm not so clear about his position on that.

But clearly, America has a role in changing the face of poverty in Africa, perhaps even a leadership role. We'd probably get some heat on this, but why not bring Disney into this, and turn the whole deal into a theme park? Povertyland, we could call it, until a more catchy pseudo-Zulu name is focus-grouped, Wimoweh Park, Shaka Zone, or something. I think liberals would flock to it in droves, especially if jobs could be provided to young black angry poor Africans who could not only operate the roller coasters at sub-minimum wages, they could pelt the liberals with handfuls of genetically altered corn as they swept by on the monorail.


The way I see it, everybody wins.

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.

Up

09/30/02: If you are employed, you're part of the problem
09/25/02: "Up and comers," go away!
09/18/02: Collectibilitized
09/10/02: Monotone felons
08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
08/14/02: Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
08/12/02: Rummy's monkey
08/05/02: Time for some real cultural heroes
07/31/02: Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither
07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
07/01/02: Where's my cow?
06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/14/02: IN THIS CORNER SUSAN LUCCI AND STEPHANIE ZYMALIST!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/31/01: I COPY, THEREFORE I AM
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales