Maybe where the Hidden Imam lives?

by Kieran Healy on April 28, 2007

Via “3QD”:, Ernest Lefever “writes”: about Africa and irritates my inner copyeditor:

bq. BECAUSE OF AND in spite of Hollywood films like The African Queen and television shows like Tarzan, tropical Africa south of the Sahara and north of the Zambezi is terra incognito for most Americans.

I imagine a giant moustache on top of the Central African Republic. The CIA engages in the war on terra incognito.

bq. Others accept the opposing myth promulgated by Thomas Hobbs that in a “State of Nature,” there are “no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worse of all, persistent fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

Maybe he’s confusing him with “Russell Hobbs”: I know, I know … this is just nit-picking. But then, a classic:

bq. Unduly critical of the European colonists, they seemed unaware that the British, for example, had ended slavery 79 years before Lincoln signed the Emaciation Proclamation. …


bq. Back to Hobbs. If it took a thousand years for the barbarian tribes of Europe to become democratic and prosperous states, how long will it take African tribes that missed the Renaissance, Reformation, Magna Carta, and Industrial Revolution? … And brutal demagogues like Mobutu in the Congo, Adi Amin in Uganda, and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe have ravaged their countries to enjoy the fruits of unbridled power.

Mmmm. Adi enjoyed unbridled fruit.

bq. [Rhodesia] was conquered by explorer-entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes in 1897 and eventually established as a self-governing British colony. Determined to make the country safe and prosperous, Rhoades established the world’s first national park there, insisting that it be open to all races.

I’ll leave Tim Burke to deal with the content, as needed.

Not quite civil unions in Australia

by John Q on April 28, 2007

I’ve been an observer at the National Conference of the Australian Labor Party, which is being held in Sydney.* One of the few real debates at the (generally tightly controlled) conference concerned a proposal under which couples could register their relationship to protect property rights, pension entitlements and so on. This proposal is somewhat less than a civil union, since there is no associated ceremony, and is explicitly claimed not to represent gay marriage. A couple of states have already implemented the idea. A striking feature, mentioned in the debate but not in newspaper reports is that registration is available for people in a carer-dependent relationship rather than a partnership.

[click to continue…]

Kiss kiss boom

by Kieran Healy on April 28, 2007

Nora Ephron remarks somewhere that a baby is a hand grenade thrown into the middle of a relationship. But there are a lot of people looking for someone to pull the pin:

bq. So if some men think my urgency for kids is unappealing, FUCK THEM. In the first place, it is not something I can control, neither the wanting nor the fact that maternal age matters, and you can not shame people for what they can’t control. In the second place, they are fooling themselves about having an indefinite period of healthy sperm and energy for young kids and young women willing to be with them.

That second point reminds me of another Ephron line:

Sally: It’s not the same for men. Charlie Chaplin had babies when he was seventy three.
Harry: Yeah, but he was too old to pick them up.