Planning on opening a new ethnic restaurant?

Try this recipe for the Haitian Mudburger:

In Haiti, where three-quarters of the population earns less than $2 a day and one in five children is chronically malnourished, the one business booming amid all the gloom is the selling of patties made of mud, oil and sugar, typically consumed only by the most destitute.

“It’s salty and it has butter and you don’t know you’re eating dirt,” said Olwich Louis Jeune, 24, who has taken to eating them more often in recent months. “It makes your stomach quiet down.”

But the grumbling in Haiti these days is no longer confined to the stomach. It is now spray-painted on walls of the capital and shouted by demonstrators.

In recent days, Mr. Préval has patched together a response, using international aid money and price reductions by importers to cut the price of a sack of rice by about 15 percent. He has also trimmed the salaries of some top officials. But those are considered temporary measures.

Real solutions will take years. Haiti, its agriculture industry in shambles, needs to better feed itself. Outside investment is the key, although that requires stability, not the sort of widespread looting and violence that the Haitian food riots have fostered.

Meanwhile, most of the poorest of the poor suffer silently, too weak for activism or too busy raising the next generation of hungry. In the sprawling slum of Haiti’s Cité Soleil, Placide Simone, 29, offered one of her five offspring to a stranger. “Take one,” she said, cradling a listless baby and motioning toward four rail-thin toddlers, none of whom had eaten that day. “You pick. Just feed them.”

From the very bottom of page two of this NYT article.

I don’t know how familiar you all are with typical newspaper journalism, but the way articles are constructed is that everything is arranged in bite-sized paragraphs with the most critical at the top and less relevant/important stuff at the bottom, so that if space is limited the editor can just cut at a convenient paragraph break and send it on out the door. It still holds for online articles somewhat, because once people start seeing familiar info or less relevant detail, they’ll start skimming and pretty soon after hit the back button or pounce on another link.

I’m not going to give voice to the raging torrent of bitterness in my head at the moment. That’s too easy. I challenge you to think about why this snippet of text was all the way at the bottom of the second page of a two-page article, and, when you’ve decided you know why the editors chose to compose it this way, you give voice to how you feel about it.

It’s pretty bad out there already. And it’s a little early for this year’s bout of droughts, floods, superstorms, wildfires, and whatever else you can count on to ruin the odd crop here or there.


April 18, 2008 · by xalieri · Posted in Everything Else  


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