Saturday, January 28, 2006

Newsflash! UberJohn Kristof Still a Cock!

Whee! The brilliant and furiously eloquent Alexander Cockburn has just dealt out a well-deserved spanking to White Christ of Cambodia, aka Nicholas Kristof, Shady Purchaser of Prostitutes.

Seems Nick the Chick-Picker has branched out, geographically if not thematically, and is taking his annual brothel-crawl in India (registration required) this year. We all need a change once in a while, or things just get stale.

OK, I'll be honest. I haven't read this round of columns. I couldn't stomach it; man makes me sick. I couldn't choke down another bolus of that ultrasmarmy, self-adulatory, liberal-patronizing, wildly ahistoricizing indignation that is 'Hard-Bargain' Kristof's specialité de la maison. But luckily, turns out I don't have to. Cockburn's done it for me, and provided a far better-researched and more thoroughly indicting riposte than I could have managed.

In the tradition of my original post on WCOC, and indeed that of every reasonably intelligent, reasonably leftish response to his prostitutopsonatory oeuvre, Cockburn pours scorn on His Acquisitiveness of Poipet for crusading against prostitution without emitting the tiniest squeak about the socioeconomic conditions that make prostitution an inevitability. Happily, Cockburn goes on to correct that minor oversight for him, providing a substantial and compelling exposé of the depradations wrought on India's rural population by neo-liberal reform, as well as (not quoted here, but well worth reading in the piece) a look at some pretty great people who actually are finding ways to help prostitutes that don't involve personally retrafficking them.
India has endured more than a decade of virtually unimaginable rural torment amidst the imposition of the neo-liberal "reforms", endlessly hailed by New York Times reporters and editorially endorsed. With withdrawal of subsidies, collapse of farm credit and of markets there is a gigantic rural crisis, affecting millions of families.

As The Hindu newspaper's chronicler of these rural catastrophes, P. Sainath, (with whom I traveled around India last year) wrote to me this week, "Take Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh which saw the maximum numbers of farm suicides for any district in India (over 3,000 during the years of the NYT's poster boy of the reforms, Chandrababu Naidu [at that time the state's chief minister], every single NGO and social organization dealing with women's issues worried about how bad was the rise of prostitution as the agrarian crisis bit deeper and deeper.

"If you drove from Anantapur in Andhra to India's 'Silicon Valley' in Bangalore in the neighboring state of Karnataka, as I often did and do, you could see dozens of women hanging about the highway waiting for pick ups, mostly truck drivers. This was simply not seen on those roads ten-twelve years ago."
Take fucking that, Kristof you sanctimonious cock. You just keep riding around on your fat crusader ass, rubbing up against the most damaged women you can find and grinding their misery into columnfodder for that foul neo-liberal-boosting rag you pimp for. People are so on to you.

[Thanks CM for the pointer.]

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