Friday, October 14, 2005

Endangered Baby Pandas on the Moon

Slate is fundamentally different from most print media. When editor Jacob Weisberg sets out to sow dissent, he knows that he's responsible for his own facts. This responsibility keeps Weisberg from succumbing to the laziness and carelessness of print journalism, and it allows him to be very upfront about what he doesn't know. And cutesy too. Endangered baby pandas on the moon--Isn't that just too cute?

I read recently that the HIV infection rate in the Mulanje District of Malawi is about 29%, which is the twice the national average. Malawi has been in the news lately (though not Slate), because it's pretty much at the epicenter of a regional food crisis, brought about by a combination of severe drought and AIDS. One may also point to endemic poverty and questionable policy decisions at every level as contributing factors, although if I were one of Malawi's half a million or so AIDS orphans, I don't know how much sophisticated analysis of my situation I could stomach. What one really needs is nsima, and to go with it, some vegetables or maybe even once a week some fish or some chicken. That would be a start.

A warning, gentle reader. If you surf through some of the links provided above, you will likely come across disclaimers along the lines of "This report contains images some viewers may find distressing." Indeed, you may even find distressing images and facts unprefaced by any disclaimer. A sure way to avoid being distressed by suffering in the world today would be to get your news from Slate, where you can enjoy becoming incensed over things that don't really matter, secure in the knowledge that the editors would never think of exposing you to anything more terrible than say, oh, endangered baby pandas on the moon.

posted by Fido the Yak at 6:31 AM.


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