Your Ashley Judd Post

I didn’t forget. Before heading out to last week’s Clinton Global Fun Week—I mean, Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting—I promised you something about Ashley Judd. So let’s get this over with before I launch into something (or two things) about Haiti and Wyclef, and Sean, and Misha, and….

But I promised you something about how wrong Ashley Judd would be. I promised you that because she’s a celebrity and an activist and so absolutely destined to be wrong. Celebrities are wrong and I am right. It’s the way the world works.

Turns out Ashley and I were both wrong.

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The Invisible Hand Axe

At this week’s Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, in every keynote speech, panel discussion, breakout session, and line in the ladies’ room a phrase that was uttered over and over again was “public-private partnerships.”

Given the nature of the panels and their varied makeup, it makes sense. During a panel on rebuilding Haiti that includes representatives of Haitian NGOs, the Prime Minister of Haiti Jean-Max Bellerive, and the head of Royal Caribbean cruise lines, the topic of private investment in Haiti’s future is going to arise. Bellerive, in fact, made the point that aid dollars alone will not rebuild Haiti. The Royal Caribbean guy, not surprisingly, agreed and said more resort hotels can help. Fact. Overall, Bellerive’s point was that the private sector must be involved if Haiti’s economy is to recover and eventually grow. (More coverage on Haiti forthcoming, naturally. Even a Wyclef Jean sighting to go with it!)

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This Week in New York

This week, along with many of the bloggers to whom I look for inspiration (i.e., they have ideas I like to steal), I’ll be in New York covering the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting and various events around the United Nations General Assembly and the Summit on the Millennium Development Goals. I am, to say the least, very excited to have this opportunity.

To my dear readers, I hope you’ll forgive me for what I presume will be a spastic week of blogging ahead. Short ones, long ones, inane ones, well-reasoned ones—anything is possible. You may have come to expect long, drawn-out treatises on Why I’m Right And You’re Wrong, but this coming week may only entail a barrage of quick, insightful posts on Why Ashley Judd Is Wrong. (Is she A-list? I hope not. I don’t know that I’ve graduated all the way to A-list celebrities yet.)

Fair warning, though: if any panelist at any time uses the phrase “rape cellphone” or “rape laptop” to describe the mineral trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (it’s happened before,) I plan on leaving the conference immediately and heading to the nearest bar. The entries posted after such a hypothetical incident would, of course, be most entertainingly bleak and ranty just so some good could come out of a terrible, terrible situation. In fact, you may want to follow me on Twitter just in case it all goes to hell.

If there are international development or advocacy issues you think are due for targeting by the particular brand of ire and and condescension I bring to the table, please let me know. Issue areas on tap: Haiti, youth education, empowering women and girls, Ashley Judd, and whatever is happening in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.

Who Are You Calling Shallow?

I’ve had the sick, sadistic pleasure of watching college-aged kids learn how to swim. It’s very similar to watching little kids learn how to swim, but for me the flailing and wailing of a six-foot-two, 20 year-old man faced with three feet of water is much more entertaining than the same ruckus coming from a diminutive 5 year-old girl. Hence: sick. Sadistic. But you knew that.

After a few lessons, though, the swimmer, be he or she 20 or 5, will eventually take those first tentative strokes towards the deep end. Spend enough hours in the water and a person who first came to a pool more likely to sink than swim will end up jumping off the high-dive.

But everyone starts in the shallow end, their toes reaching for purchase on the pool floor, their noses firmly set above the water.

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How to Write about Issue Advocacy

I’m reigniting this meme.

First, Binyavanga Wainaina wrote “How to Write about Africa.” Then, Ansel Herz wrote “How to Write about Haiti.” Then, J. at Tales from the Hood wrote “How to Write about Humanitarian Aid Work.”

So, obviously, I had to add my own snarky rejoinder about something near and dear to my heart: advocacy. What aid work and advocacy have in common is how routinely they’re both marginalized by journalism that only looks at one side of the profession. (Though I can’t in good conscience compare the marginalization of either profession to the level of marginalization and exoticism forced upon Africa and Haiti in the mainstream media.)

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I don’t understand your definition of “link dump”

Thematic post titles are thematic. (Let me Google that for you.)

Today, I’m letting other people say things I wish I’d said first. By quoting them liberally. Welcome to the Friday “link dump.”

Before we get started, though, I’d like to give credit where credit is due. I can no longer say Misha CollinsRandom Acts isn’t taking what I say to heart. Check out their page highlighting the “random” acts they’ve undertaken: “The C-List.” Sure, maybe it’s short for “charity,” or maybe it’s named after that one time I called Misha a C-lister. If the latter, good on you, Random Acts! Now about those orphanages… (Aside: I say it with love, Misha! Can we still be frenemies?)

Now to our regularly scheduled programming.

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