August 4, 2015

"Mugabe describes himself as both a practicing Catholic and a Marxist, but his birthday party was held at the Elephant Hills golf resort..."

"... near Victoria Falls, just up the road from the haunts of Cecil. Mugabe was honored with seven birthday cakes. One was so large that it had to be carried in by eight men; another was described as the size of a mattress. The celebration reportedly cost a million American dollars, in a country that now suffers up to ninety-five per cent unemployment and underemployment, according to the C.I.A.’s World Factbook. (Mugabe conceded during his last election, in 2013, that at least sixty per cent of his countrymen were jobless). Three-quarters of Zimbabwe’s population lives below the poverty line. 'It’s sad when wildlife is abused, but the Zimbabwean people have been suffering decades of abuse under the wily old Mugabe, who seems never to relent and never to go away,' Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, told me last week."

From "Cecil the Lion and Robert Mugabe," by Robin Wright in The New Yorker.

I don't understand the "but" in the first sentence — "a practicing Catholic and a Marxist, but his birthday party," etc. I mean, I understand it, but it assumes the reader thinks a certain way, and I don't.

46 comments:

Nichevo said...

Author of course is happy to conflate the two.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Before we judge too harshly, we would do well to consider that it might just be the baking industry puts Zimbabwe back on the mend.

Titus said...

I just read that article=how weird!

alan markus said...

Why were 8 men needed to carry in the cake that looked like a mattress? Emma Sulkowicz not available?

Brando said...

I'm okay with the "but"--it continues to remind us of the false sanctimony of most Marxists. Mugabe is a living memorial to the failures of post-colonial Africa.

Eventually that continent may have a rebirth, but not before they toss out their kleptocratic tyrants with their Third World Marxist policies. It's a shame that this could happen in a place with so much natural resources but it serves to prove that mismanagement can perpetuate poverty anywhere.

robother said...

I don't quite understand Ann's objection. The implication of the "but" (that neither the Pope nor Karl Marx would approve of a million dollar birthday party in an impoverished country) seems uncontroversial to me.

DanTheMan said...

The "but" makes perfect sense to me. Marxists are not supposed to be at the country club.
They're supposed to be at the local municipal course.

Moose said...

Makes you miss Rhodesia...

BarrySanders20 said...

Can't he just eat his cake?

TreeJoe said...

Following sentences that now need a but in front of it:

"[Insert name here] is a strong environmentalist and proponent of climate change policies, but is a frequent flier."

"[Insert name here] is a billionaire progressive who seeks higher taxes, but employs tax firms to find obscure loopholes to minimize their personal and business tax expenses."

Hypocrisy in espoused ideology is a fine art practiced by many.

tim in vermont said...

The "but" makes sense perhaps in Marxist theory, but Marxist practice has resoundingly established it as only a naive little shibboleth for the remaining true believers.

SteveR said...

Sounds like Pope Francis

Paddy O said...

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Bobber Fleck said...

Isn't Zimbabwe a neighborhood in Detroit? The description fits...

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/03/02/zimbabwes-Mugabe-condemns-white-safaris-eats-baby-elephant-at-lavish-birthday-bash/

Bill said...

Salisbury, Rhodesia (Harare, Zimbabwe) in 1965.

Sebastian said...

@robother: "I don't quite understand Ann's objection. The implication of the "but" (that neither the Pope nor Karl Marx would approve of a million dollar birthday party in an impoverished country) seems uncontroversial to me."

See, that's why you're not a brave, unconventional, going-against-the-grain law professor in Madison, WI, who, knowing that Catholics and Marxists have proved their hypocrisy for quite some time, would see nothing strange or contradictory in a Catholic Marxist throwing himself a million-dollar birthday with a mattress-size cake.

Scott said...

I am amazed that a golf resort can exist in Zimbabwe, or that anybody can afford to be a member.

LarsPorsena said...


Thank goodness they are no longer under the heels of the white oppressors.

Brando said...

"Thank goodness they are no longer under the heels of the white oppressors."

No, that would be better, because then those #zimbabwelivesmatter. Remember, black lives only matter when it's white people taking them. Otherwise, nothing to see here.

dbp said...

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" Maybe Mugabe needs a million Dollar birthday party. Marxism is officially atheist so I don't quite see how that works with him being Catholic either.

LarsPorsena said...

Marxism is officially atheist so I don't quite see how that works with him being Catholic either. Because now Mugabe is the 'opium of the masses' instead of the church.

dbp said...

Marxism involves a dictatorship of the proletariat. For most Marxists everywhere and especially Africa: You had them at dictatorship.

Quaestor said...

[Most] of our social work is done by government bureaucrats who take no vow of povery...

And they do so without any support of the Church of Rome, a tax-free enterprise.

Quaestor said...

The "but" makes perfect sense to me...

The "but" implies Marxism and Catholicism confer upon their adherents a certain immunity to corruption and megalomania, an immunity that history contradicts.

Mac McConnell said...

As a Catholic all this " confer upon their adherents a certain immunity to corruption and megalomania" is news to me. I must have been home sick on the day the nuns taught that catechism.

EDH said...

It's easier for a celebrity lion to pass through the eye of a needle than for a socialist tyrant to enter into heaven.

I applaud Robin Wright for bringing to light the media hypocrisy with respect to the consequences of socialism and the highly politicized metal disorder of the animal rights extremists.

robother said...

Do have to admire the way the story validates Marx's observation that History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce: Marie Antoinette's "Let THEM eat cake" vs. Mugabe's "Let ME eat all the cake!"

Eric the Fruit Bat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I've been seeing the word "trophy" being used a lot, lately. Trophy hunting. Trophy hunter. Stuff like that.

A trophy is a memento of a victory. Like a bowling trophy.

What those hunters do is purchase very expensive, ghastly decorations, ornaments.

They're DIY interior decorators who shop at very exclusive retail shops.

Fuck them and the Land Rovers they rode in on.

BudBrown said...

Yeah. I agree. What is it with the modern outlook that in the course
of discussing the disaster that is Mugabe and Zimbawe cant help but take
a sly swipe at Golf Clubs?

Brill said...

I wonder if Trump owns the golf course.
Marxist dictator is just another name for god emperor.
Obama Rex eat your heart out.

paminwi said...

"Mugabe was presented with a lion trophy and a crocodile trophy that were to be stuffed."

Why the hell are we talking about birthday cake when a lion was killed? OR
Why are we talking about birthday cake when Mugabe ate baby elephant?

Static Ping said...

So Catholics and Marxists are not supposed to have birthday parties at golf courses? I'm not following.

William said...

Can anyone name a single black politician or celebrity in America who has spoken out against Robert Mugabe?

F said...

No one seems to make the connection between Cecil the Lion and Sir Cecil Rhodes, founder of Rhodesia. I'm surprised no one sees that.

Nichevo said...

No, F, we just don't care. For the record I noted that first thing.

Michael K said...

"Can anyone name a single black politician or celebrity in America who has spoken out against Robert Mugabe?"

You mean now that we have adopted the Mugabe way ?

The last 5% of Zimbabwe that has jobs work for the last white farmers in the country. They can no longer own land, of course. They do farm land owned by blacks.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

And while we're on the subject, what the fuck is going on with the Pope's visit to Philadelphia? You wouldn't believe the media hype that's going on here.

And I'm all, like, who the fuck cares that the Pope is coming to Philadelphia? What fucking difference does it make? You want to know what the Pope's got to say, read what the Pope fucking says, for Christ's sake. What's so fucking important about being physically close enough to him that maybe you might actually get a chance to see him?

And then it dawned on me: People are so fucking sad and pathetic and desperate and stupid and superstitious that they think that maybe, just maybe, if they can get close enough to the Pope, then maybe, just maybe, God Himself will intervene and grant them a wish.

Hey listen up, people, if it's a little something extra you're after, get yourself a rabbit's foot or some powdered rhinoceros horn, or maybe a slice of cake from Mugabe's birthday bash, or maybe some of that Whole Foods asparagus water.

Stick with science, baby.

cubanbob said...

Zimbabwe is a disaster but all the same Victoria Falls is spectacular and the area around the falls is alright. The country needs the money from the tourists. I was there last July and stayed at the Victoria Falls hotel. Truly wonderful and once can walk in the the national park from the hotel. The local people you meet are all very friendly and courteous, their truly livelihoods depend on it (and who knows how many relatives)but you can sense the undercurrent of unease. Having been to Namibia and Botswana on the same trip I could tell the difference. While I'm never a cheap tipper, I tipped very, very well by local standards. Interesting I went to a restaurant in town that also had a great African themed show that the only blacks dinning there that weren't foreign tourists were a group of government officials who were eating and drinking quite well and were all quite plump. Next time I will go to the Zambian side of the falls.

I suspect that if a fair and free (and free from fear) election were held today between Mugabe and Ian Smith, Smith would win at least among the older set.

Michael K said...

There is a good book about Mugabe and Zimbabwe called Dinner with Mugabe by a white woman who was quite sympathetic to him. According to her, he wanted the whites to stay and especially some who were helping him but his supporters wanted the graft.

Another good piece about the country is by Theodore Dalrymple and called After Empire in City Journal and it explains a lot about Africa.

tim in vermont said...

I am currently reading a book called Elephant-Hunting In East Equatorial Africa - Being An Account Of Three Years' Ivory-hunting Under Mount Kenia And Among The Ndorobo Savages Of The ... A Trip To The North End Of Lake Rudolph

It is written as an account of an ivory hunter in the 1890s out of Mombasa. Once you get past the gore and feeling bad for all the elephants and the rhinos, there were rhinos everywhere, and they traveled in family groups, and he generally shot the parents, and you couldn't help feeling bad for them. But then you get over it and it is an amazing account of Africa while parts of it were still trackless and untraveled.

For one thing, he runs into a group somewhat like Boko Haram, I guess, who were on a "kidnapping raid" to grab women and children to "adopt" into their tribe.

This guy might have been the model for "Van Pelt" from the movie Jumanji, who shot just about everything that moved. But it is kind of like reading Das Boot. Yeah, you know they are Nazis sinking Allied shipping, but somehow you get wrapped up in the struggle against the elements and even the struggle against the Royal Navy.

Krumhorn said...

Wasn't Rhodesia the richest country on the continent prior to the rule of this assclown?

- Krumhorn

mikee said...

I still find it hilarious that the most famous lion in Zimbabwe was named after the country's colonial exploiter, tyrant and scholarship founder, Cecil Rhodes.

Who named that lion, and why hasn't anyone reported who that person is, to make him/her as famous as possible for the near infinte po-mo irony required to do such a thing?

I don't see many Adolfs around these days, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

mikee said...

Re Das Boot: I watched it in a theater in College Station, Texas, with a lot of Texas A&M Aggie military cadets in the audience. We all cheered when the sub pen was bombed. The rest of the audience was shocked for a moment, then joined in, too.

God, I love Aggies.

tim in vermont said...

@mikee LOL :D