Lucky Pierre #2

The Chronicle Of Higher Education (subscription required) carries a nice, fluff piece on Binyavanga Wainaina.

Somehow, the writer manages to make him sound like a cosmopolitan native.


Slate’s Jon Cohen reviews a new book by AIDS researcher Helen Epstein.

Opening paragraph:

In 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV has infected 10 percent or more of adults. No other region of the world has a country with a prevalence rate in the double digits; in North America and Europe, HIV infection has never even reached 1 percent—anywhere. To tease out the reasons for the difference, epidemiologists have journeyed deep into one of sub-Saharan Africa’s thickest and dankest jungles: human sexual behavior. AIDS researchers over the past two decades have dissected when Africans start having sex, how many partners they have, how frequently they do it, their marital status and condom use, whether sex involves the exchange of money or a gift, the ability to refuse, exotic ritual practices, and orifice preferences. Uganda has received particularly close scrutiny, and is at the hub of Helen Epstein’s new book, The Invisible Cure: AIDS in Africa.

Edgar Rice Burroughs would be proud.

I double-dip.

Salon’s G. Pascal Zachary reviews the same book.

Epstein is especially good on the two questions that have bedeviled others who have grappled with the topic. Why did AIDS begin in Africa? And why has the disease hit eastern and southern Africa so much harder than virtually everywhere else in the world? ………………………………………………..
Her answer to the first question is succinct: HIV/AIDS jumped from chimpanzees to hunters in central and eastern Africa, as the latest research proves.

How to Write about Africa” is still available online. I do wish Slate and Salon writers paid more attention.

2 thoughts on “Lucky Pierre #2

  1. hmm… that comment directing student to look up on a map… wait… this is off-blog conversation! I guess I should start writing you…

  2. Were I in his class, I’d ask the same question. Throughout my African Fiction class, I tell my students I have no clue where places are–Africa is a big, non-specific continent. I am only being partly ironic.

    I failed geography throughout my entire education. Okay, not failed, but hand me a map and prepare to be amazed. All of a sudden, mountains and rivers have changed states and provinces and countries and sizes.

    Geography is magic!

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