segunda-feira, maio 08, 2006

Virginia Slims

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: OK then, here ya go - SEX!, Thread Back: Sexual Suicide.

Click to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar"You've come a long way baby!", says Philip Morris. They have been saying it for some time now, this particular one is from 1971 - you can check them out at: 20th Century Tobacco Ad Collection by Richard Pollay at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Selling tobacco with sex works, ho hum.

It is the 'slims' part that interests me today - 'the slim sickness' being a euphemism for AIDS in Africa I am told.

Today Jacob Zuma, Zulu politician and former Deputy President of South Africa, was aquitted of rape by Judge Willem van der Merwe of the Johannesburg High Court. You can find all the news coverage you are ever likely to want at: the Mail & Guardian online. His bodyguards and daughter were just down the hall at the time of the alleged rape; he apparently has three wives; he is 64 years old - how much jam has he got?

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarThe feminists are crying foul. "This sets us a thousand years back," says Sibongile Ndashe of South Africa's Women's Legal Centre. But it seems to me that in the zone where this trial took place you could see from the outset that it would be a coin toss.

How long is it going to take women to grow up into useful citizens if they keep painting themselves as Victim and running to Daddy Government everytime things don't go as they would like? Not my thought - from Camille Paglia.

Who are these feminists I wonder? There must have been some cross-pollination by now between New England and Africa - Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had some of her education at Harvard, there are lots of aid workers over there, and so on. Was this trial a furthering of the women-as-victim ideology among Africans? There were high-priced feminist psychologists on both sides of it - Merle Friedman and Louise Oliviers. Who knows?

Admitting that he knew the woman was HIV positive and went ahead anyway, thinking that a shower afterwards was going to protect him, shows (to me) a certain admirable candour. These kinds of ignorance are definitely better in-the-open. That he was (or still is?) the chairman of the South African National AIDS Council, and holding such opinions, staggers my imagination.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarHere he is after the verdict, with his daughter Duduzile. A happy man in a suit. But he is not the charcoal-gray man-in-a-suit of civilization - he has no formal education and what he says about Zulu bedroom habits is likely true, that you mustn't leave a woman sexually frustrated, that showing your knees is tantamount to inviting sexual advances, and the like - he is a tribal warrior, tribal chief, tribal elder.

The point is that he is/was at or near the top of current political life in his country. Clearly he has not the foggiest about combatting AIDS. What about strategic economic policy? the environment? His next trial is for corruption.

I don't spend that much time thinking about South Africa; Apartheid ended, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did some work. I spent an hour once listening to a South African describe the propane flame-throwers he had installed in his wife's car - "turn them into crispy critters", he said.

Is South Africa now on the slide with the Republic of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia? Is this guy or one of his colleagues another Robert Mugabe?

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