Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Molotov, with love

Sometimes it’s best to file rants away. Those short, shrill manifestoes of vitriol and spite. What is it they prove, anyway? Is losing a little restraint all that important – even if all you’re doing is getting something off your chest? If that’s what it takes to feel better in these dark times, more power to you. But, just maybe, you should look into another line of work: perhaps grabbing a spray paint can or maybe a tattoo gun.

The question I pose: Do these rants light a fire in our heads and actually force us to reconsider our thoughts and actions? Sure. These tirades must hold some power because without their strength of force we would have canceled those silly comment sections on websites, and newspapers would no longer allow lazy readers to call in and scream their half-baked ideas into answering machines instead of forcing them to write them down. (Who has the time anymore?)

No, dear friends, rants hold a more fundamental meaning – in a Russian Revolution sort of way. The ranter as writer is not looking expectantly to change peoples’ ideas. No, our ranter would merely like people to think exactly like him (or, less often, like her). The hope that the world will mimic someone's thoughts is what marries the scribe and the revolutionary. Think like me and all will be well.

Of course, writers never come out and admit this. They're cowards. They’d rather just sit in the safety of their own home, sullenly pick away at the keyboard and pray somehow their ideas make the jump from paper to real world.

For those few who come from behind the typewriter and admit they’re in the business of changing minds – then, they’re no longer writers. They’re revolutionaries – and it’s best you don’t associate with commies.

The idea of this site is to provide proof that Africa stands for a lot more than the press – sorry folk, the U.S. press – gives it credit for. Africa’s a complicated place, a much more complex game than its highlight reel. When one concentrates on the final push, the bottom line, we’ll only see the extremes.

I pointed this out a few weeks ago: Using a simple search method at the New York Times, the terms “AIDS” + “Africa” brought back 250 stories published in the past year. What I didn’t say was that searching the terms “Africa” + “fun” returned 91 hits. (The greatest ranked section: sports!). In the same vein, searching “Africa” + “pleasure” = 69 hits, most of them in movies.

So, where is the fun?

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