The Beatles in 1957. George Harrison is 14, John Lennon is 16, and Paul McCartney is 15.
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It’s time for PBH to get back to what it does best: Hating on mother fuckers. Target 1 is Tyler Cowen, the vapid “Marginal Revolution” blogger who’s primary objective in life is to compete with Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman for the coveted ‘enamored with insipid and insignificant observations’ demographic. Witness his post on why Haiti is so poor:
1. Haiti cut its colonial ties too early, rebelling against the French in the early 19th century and achieving complete independence. Guadaloupe and Martinique are still riding the gravy train and French aid is a huge chunk of their GDP.
2. Haiti was a French colony in the first place and French colonies do less well.
5. Hegel was correct that the “voodoo religion,” with its intransitive power relations among the gods, was prone to producing political intransitivity as well. (Isn’t that a startling insight for a guy who didn’t travel the broader world much?)
6. For reasons peculiar to the history of the slave trade, Haitian slaves came from many different parts of Africa and thus Haitian internal culture has long had lower levels of cohesion and cooperation.
7. Haiti has higher than average levels of polygamy
Now, this wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact Cowen is an Economics professor. Yes, someone who teaches Economics for a living listed “polygamy” and “voodoo religion” as a reason for Haiti’s underdevelopment. And who says Economics is a respected intellectual field?
In the Know: Situation In Nigeria Seems Pretty Complex:
If you’ve ever had a conversation with a semi-literate Westerner about foreign policy, development, or international relations who doesn’t want to admit they know nothing about the above subjects, the conversation typically will go like this:
A: What’s troubling is that development organizations had the chance to fund infrastructure projects in Haiti for several decades that would have minimized the impact of the earthquake and facilitated relief efforts.
B: It’s pretty complex.
“It’s pretty complex” provides the blanket response for those outside critical knowledge or analysis of the subject, which is typically followed up by vacantly interjection on sectarian/ethnic/tribal/regional/gender/corruption/cultural divisions to explain their empty platitude:
A: The primary failure in the rebuilding of Iraq has been the failure to redistribute available resources and provide mass employment, thus leading to significant rent-seeking outside of traditional spheres.
B: It’s pretty complex, because Shiites and Sunnis have not liked each other for years and we got ourselves into this mess.
Of course, it’s pretty complex is the ultimate trump card for the American “liberal” who doesn’t want to feel guilty about the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, but also never wants to get into a serious discuss about the ramifications of a theocratic Jewish state:
A: The fundamental problem with a ‘Jewish’ state is that it is Jewish-only, meaning Palestinians who have rightful claims to property and livelihoods are being systematically cleansed from their own country.
B: Yes, I feel sort of bad, but it’s just so complex.
If you want to see this in action, bring up any of the following topics with White People: Foreign aid, corruption in Africa, sources of resentment in the Middle East, globalization, socio-economic inequality, the Sudanese genocide, Israel/Palestine, the development of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, why poor people vote for Republicans, the brutish reality of capitalism, or the functionality of the United Nations. It’s guaranteed that within minutes of discussion, “it’s complex” will be made as a valid point.
Pat Robertson: And you know, Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it, they were under the heel of the French, uh, you know, Napoleon the third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil, they said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the Prince, true story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor. . . the Island of Hispaniola is one island cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti, on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is, is, prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty, same Islands, uh, they need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come, but right now we’re helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable.