Saturday, October 23, 2010

Poverty Porn Gone Terribly Wrong


It was a hot and dusty day, a day just like every other in this poverty stricken land of atrocities and sorrow where tomorrow is merely an aspiration and yesterday was an accomplishment - a survival. Amongst the crowd of potbellied children and their bare breasted mothers stood Virginal, a fresh faced aid worker with a strong desire to rescue the people from their otherwise fatal lives. She stood proud in a khaki coordinated outfit, holding a starving child with trickling beads of sweat rolling playfully down the curve of his torso, like morning dew on a noble Inyo toad. Blonde hair, unshaven legs and luscious breasts that could provide for the entire village, the locals look upon her majestic beauty in awe. To them, she resembles a lioness, and only her presence can bring happiness to what is an otherwise desperately depressing lifestyle. This is because the world has forgotten about these people and only Virginal is left working to help this deprived community.

Nonetheless the villagers stay positive by gathering around Virginal clapping and singing their tribal tunes with such natural rhythm, when suddenly, in the distance a UN helicopter is seen tearing through the red glistening radiance of the sun. Slowly it lands, and as the dust settles, the helicopter doors slide open to reveal a rock star with a rock- hard hard- on. It is non other than Bono, frontman of U2 and global poverty expert, "Achtung baby!", he says as he grabs his sack of plumpy nutsTM.

In a moment of desperation, Virginal had called her good friend John Prendergrast - master of awareness and pimp daddy of suffering lives. She knew that only John could help grab global attention to her community.
Aroused by the sight of suffering, Bono grabs Virginal and ravishingly makes sweet love to her as the tribal community watch with their deep, clouded and experienced eyes, intermittently blinded by the flies that linger by them as though the tears that flow from those saddened eyes are filled with nectar.

As the intensity of their sexual experience begins to reach climax, the ground begins to rumble. A seismic behaviour akin to a stampede of wildebeests. However, this was not a herd of animals of prey, but rather a herd of predators, an entire convoy of celebrities in big white Land Cruisers being led by poverty fanatic, George Clooney. Each with their own limited edition African child snuggled tightly in their man/handbags.

"Oh look at all the suffering ooh" Clooney excitedly cries out as he begins to Swaffle his local guide.
"Mmm yes!……The suffering." reply the other celebrities as they caress themselves and each other.
"The suffering makes Matt Damon strong……the suffering makes Matt Damon hard!" Matt Damon proclaims in a hulkish voice as he begins to thrust Madonna in all manners.
Soon, with little resistance, the crowd of celebrities-turned-humanitarians begin to indulge in a sweaty, poverty induced orgy under the naked sun.

As the orgy continues, a small group of UN workers are seen standing on a nearby hill, looking down on the orgy with a smug self-satisfied look on their face. "Clearly the successes of this project would never have happened without our facilitation" proclaims one of the UN workers in a weasel-like tone of voice as he commences a "circle-jerk" with his co-workers.

As time goes on the orgy begins to die down as the celebrities begin to loose interest in their wild activities. Just as things begin to calm down, a marauding group of rebel fighter enter the village, burning down houses, murdering and raping the villagers as well as looting anything that is of any worth. Looking upon this tragedy a tear rolls down the cheeks of George Clooney as he shouts in a loud demonic tone - yet somewhat relishingly, "The suffering!!!". His fellow celebrities look to him and begin to groan and moan in all manner of ways as the orgy continues with greater intensity and passion.

Curious of this behaviour an expert economist arrives at the scene with a harem of young nubile interns to determine the cause and incentives behind such sexual behaviour. The sexconomist conducted some very rigorous RCT tests, where he gathered a group of wannabe celebrities (dependent variable) and exposed half of them to a group of suffering children (independent variable). The point of measure was their celebrity status based on the Cosmopolitan Magazine celebrity status indicators. The results showed a positive effect on celebrity status through exposition to suffering. The sexconomist concluded that these celebrities seem to feed off the suffering in a bid to increase their own status. The sexconomist then went on to try and see if suffering had the same effect on the celebrity status of b list economists.

(Camera cuts back to the celebrity orgy):
Bono demands his personal local aide to get into a crabwalking position so that Bono is able to place his sexual partner on top of his aide, using him as a coitus table. Naturally, the aide is made to walk around the village as Bono continues his act of "scuttlefucking". He then burrowed into her like a warthog as the tall African grass titillated the taint.

The End

What is Poverty Porn... - Aid Thoughts

How to write about Africa - Granta

A big stack of REALLY DIRTY Porn movies - Roving Bandit

I think I'm probably going to regret this.....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Clooney in Sudan....and more

(I couldn't find a single amusing picture of him, so here is Batman)
I think [a civil war] can be stopped,” he told Curry. “We stopped it in 2005, we stopped the north-south war … and we stopped it with diplomacy. We didn’t stop it with soldiers. If we get involved now we have a shot.”

That was George Clooney shooting the breeze with Anne Curry......
He thinks he's so.......hmmmm
That is totally...........huh

As much fun and pleasure as I would get from ragging on the Cloon, I can't seem to disagree with him (aside from the excessive use of 'We'). Plus, according to the article he got spat on by an old woman and was told it was a blessing......pffft, grandma is totally laughing right now.

Oh and to all you alarmists who thinks that no one outside of your little Western liberal bubble*** are able to resolve their conflicts through peaceful negotiation:

"The Sudanese First Vice President Salva Kiir and 2nd Vice president Ali Osman Taha met in Juba today to discuss a number of issues including the reported military build-up on the North-South border, state media reported today.
Sudan official news agency (SUNA) cited Kiir as saying that both sides agreed to calm the situation and stop the media* escalation between the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan people Liberation Movement (SPLM)." (Link)

Ooooooh! whats wrong? Did that just make you flaccid?..... Go jerk off over another war you wankers**!

*I'm pretty sure that's supposed to say military and not media. Otherwise, Kiir is one snarkily genius cowboy.

**note the proper/literal use of this noun.

*** OK, maybe western liberal bubble is a little bit over dramatic, but you know what I mean

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"O.K., my one prediction is that events won’t unfold precisely like that..."

That was the always alarming, Nick Kristoff, talking about his prediction of how things might play out in Sudan following the referendum. Well.....two can play at that game.

DEC. 10, 2010 Word trickles out of massacres and widespread rapes by tribal militias from the North in the boiling borderlands between North and South. Turns out, it was just a bunch of rumours spread by " Westerners with an interest in a divided and weakened Sudan".

DEC. 15 The chairman of the referendum commission (from the North) calls on the South to postpone the vote for “just one month,” pointing to insecurity and to inadequate preparations for voting. The South insists that the referendum will go on as scheduled. The North responds by simply giving the South it's desired independence and refocuses its attention on raping Darfur.

JAN. 9, 2011 The referendum is not held at the disappointment of many t-shirt flag vendors. Op-Ed columnists are left with nothing more to speak of so they too refocus their attention on raping Darfur. Chinese and Malaysian oil companies rejoice as their commitment to not pull out of the country pays off.

JAN. 18 Salva Kiir, the President of the newly independent South Sudan goes on a bike ride with Bashir. They stop under a mango tree to discuss their future alliance. They high-five each other - camera freezes as they both leap into the air and their hands meet.

JAN. 20 Reports begin to come out from the Nuba mountains of sightings of Care Bears. According to an interview with Grumpy Bear, it was in fact these diabolical bears and their bio-weapon, the "Care Bear Stare", that was behind the sudden prosperous peace between the North and South Sudan. Asked as to why Darfur is still seeing high levels of rape, Grumpy Bear answered "Well, Love-a-lot Bear was tasked to deal with that conflict. However she ended up overdoing it with her powers and became Too-much-love bear, leading to mass rape across the land"
See, Kristoff... I'm pretty good at making shit up too.

Anyways, 2 points:

Firstly; I am fully aware that there is a great potential for a resurgence of the North-South War if things don't go smoothly prior or during the referendum. I realise that the North has a lot to lose if the South does secede and are therefore willing to take action to destabilise the situation. However, that does not mean that there isn't any hope for a peaceful referendum and eventual secession. Maybe I am absolutely crazy for thinking that people can change for the better, or that the North can come to see the benefits of allowing its South to be independent (the South still needs a pipeline and refineries for its oil and like Singapore, Sudan can be the refinery guy). But I would rather be crazy than be that miserable-wanker-with-a-fetish-for-war who thinks that speculating about war all the time won't eventually incite it. Thats right, incite it. because drawing a picture of the north as being villainous is sure as hell not a very good diplomatic strategy. This isn't a 1970's cartoon where the bad guy just wants the world to descend into chaos for no real particular motive. Bashir is not Cobra Commander, but by always describing him as such one risks causing a self-fulfilling prophecy based on a form of stereotype threat, where if everyone says he is, he may just start to believe it and therefore act accordingly. Also, 5 years since the CPA (a massive agreement) was signed, a large number of the provisions have been accomplished (mind you with delays - but still accomplished) and there has only been 2 north-south clashes (even that were just between soldiers within the JIU and did not definitively reflect the intentions of either governments).
So lets not write off the chance for peace just yet, lets try and stay positive and lets act surprised when things turn for the worst.

Secondly, and this point is better put by Michael Busch and Oscar Blayton, is simply a call for all these advocacy groups, writers and 'academics' to stop suggesting that the US with its exceptional exceptionalism should take the war to Sudan - in the same packaging as Iraq. Also, I would just like to add, Kristoff's suggestion (based on an old CIA plan) to fire missiles at the refinery and pipeline in Port Sudan is just stupid. If you are doing it to help the South, I don't think destroying its main source of income is very clever. Also, good luck winning the support of China after that…..unless that was the plan? (cue dramatic horns "Dumb-Dumb-Dumb")

So if war breaks out, il be here pissing into the wind while you can laugh smugly about being right…enjoy it, because I will return as a ghost and haunt-rape you in your sleep (too much?)

Photo credit: got it from John Akec's blog

Friday, October 1, 2010

More analysis on violence and poverty

Don't you love when a topic you were thinking about is seemingly continued by someone else? Well, following on from yesterday's post on Blattman's statement that "Poor and underemployed young men don't seem to be a source of social instability", I came across a blogpost of an article by Vaughan Bell over at Mindhacks (An incredible psychology blog that I steal ideas from all the time) that touches on the same issue......."It’s about how murder is one of our most social acts."

"Murder is not antisocial. If you want a demonstration that we are governed by society even when breaking its rules, homicide is one of the best and grimmest examples. Studies show that victim and offender tend to resemble each other to a striking degree – the young murder the young and the old murder the old, rich and poor rarely kill each other, gang bangers prey on other gang members, and you are likely to be personally acquainted with the person who later ends your life. Socially conservative it may be, but homicide remains a deeply social act."

Ok that bit isn't really related, but its still pretty cool.

"Murder, is not, however, an equal opportunities reaper and you are considerably more likely to be dispatched if you are poor and marginalised. It was not always the case though. Historical records show that homicide was used equally by all levels of society but has become increasingly less democratic over time as access to formalised systems of dispute resolution have become more widely available. The fact that the legal system is preferentially used by those with money is perhaps not surprising, although the fact the distribution of justice is unjust should give us pause for thought."

Interesting, but what happens when those formalised systems of dispute resolution collapse or are made unavailable despite one's economic status - as is the case in countries where these youths are seen to cause social instability?

"Nowhere is this contrast more striking than in Latin America. Although the region has the highest murder rates in the world the generalisation tell us little – the devil is really in the detail. A 2008 study led by the Venezuelan sociologist Roberto Briceño-León found that poverty in the region predicted little of the homicide rate on its own. It was inequality that explained the trend: in areas where wealth and extreme poverty coexist, violence occurs more frequently."

Don't you just love the smell of discourse in the morning?
So the issue of defining the indicators of violence still needs to be addressed so that all these various studies can actually go through some sort of cross-analysis, but one can still get rather excited about the topic nonetheless. Also, we need to see more mixing of these various academic subjects. A lot of them are asking the same questions, but it sometimes feels like there is some sort of barrier preventing the sharing of findings.......I bet its ego...

Oh and while we are on the subject, here is a new study that shows that men under acute stress struggle to process and interpret the emotions that other people's faces are conveying.
"Under stress, men tend to withdraw socially while women seek emotional support,"

This could potentially lead to a disruption in empathy and could therefore cause less inhibition towards violently attacking others.