Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"The Help" and SWEDOW

I finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett the other night. Having come highly recommended from more than a few friends, I finally got it on my kindle and really enjoyed it a lot. And because it's a kindle edition, I can't tell you which page the paragraphs below come from, so if you have a chuckle now, you'll just have to go and read the book for yourself.

If you're not familiar with the (fiction) book (or the recent film adaptation), it tells the story of a white woman who convinces a number of the maids in Jackson Missippi in the early 60s (where segregation was still in full swing) to tell their stories anonymously in a book that scandalises the town. Most of the stories the maids tell are sad and awful (though beautifully written), and reading through I couldn't believe that, while fictionalised, such things were still happening only 50 years ago; how the attitudes back then were so ill-informed and how far we've come since then. Until I got to this part...

And Hilly's behind a podium telling sixty-five women that three cans apiece isn't enough to feed all those PSCAs. The Poor Starving Children of Africa, that is. Mary Joline Walker, however, thinks three is plenty. "And isn't it kind of expensive, carting all this tin across the world to Ethiopia?" Mary Joline asks. "Doesn't it make more sense to send them a check?"

Hilly rolls her eyes. "You cannot give these tribal people money, Mary Joline. There is no Jitney 14 Grocery in the Ogaden Desert. And how would we know if they're even feeding their kids with it? They're likely to go to the local voodoo tent and get a satanic tattoo with our money."
When it comes to SWEDOW, we definitely haven't come that far...

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