Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Zimbabwe votes

One of the laziest and most complacent slogans is, If voting changed anything it would be illegal.

Norm writes:
This piece assembles some of the indices of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown. A couple of highlights:

Average life expectancy dropped from 63 years in 1990 to 37.3 years in 2005, according to World Bank and U.N. figures.
The World Food Program says 83 percent of Zimbabweans live on less than $2 per day and that 45 percent of the population are malnourished.
I'm no statistician, so please excuse me for any error in reasoning here (and correct it if need be), but Mugabe's government appears to have stolen an average of 25 years of life per person from the population of Zimbabwe - stolen them and thrown them away. This is now a country nearly half of whose people are malnourished. (Via Memeorandum.)

On telling a Republican from Democrat

From Hadley

Even Suzanne Shaw, who the other week professed ignorance of the existence of both Clinton and Obama, would be able to tell which one is the Democrat and which one the Republican just from looking at photos of the two men, and this has nothing to do with race or age. Look at McCain, striding around in his boxy blue suits, single button always done up to cover the paunch, ties always just that little bit too wide. This man could not look more establishment if he went around doing secret handshakes and butt-slapping Karl Rove.

Then we come to Obama. Watch him stride in that slim-cut suit that suggests more than an element of style consciousness that somehow, in itself, suggests, not vanity, but rather new-age sensitivity. Here is a man who, rather remarkably, did not worry that appearing on a magazine with Vogue in the title (Men's Vogue, to be precise) would compromise his masculinity. Whereas McCain, almost liberal by Republican standards, would far rather be photographed hanging with the boys in Iraq. Debate the merits of these opposing photo opportunities all you like but the fact is, both were staged and therefore equally artificial and equally meaningless. Obama is always happy to take off his suit jacket: an easy way to emphasise his friendly informality, which also, by convenient coincidence, lets him show off the fact that he still clearly goes to the gym every morning despite running for president, while the rest of us use the excuse of having to pick up the dry cleaning as a reason to skip that day's session.

Thought for the day

We sacrifice to dress, till household joys
And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,
And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires,
And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
Where peace and hospitaility might reign.

William Cowper