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#53 Hating on books like “Three Cups of Tea”

May 6, 2011

Few things bring more meaning to Expat Aid Workers’ dull lives than having a solid reason for righteous indignation.

There’s enough food in the world to feed everyone (thank you @Josette_Sheeran!), the cure for malaria is within our grasp (thank you @bill_gates!), and CARE, Starbucks and some singers with flagging careers are teaming up to sort out the rest. Pretty soon there won’t be anything left for EAWs to do…

…except find fault with those who try to encroach on the sacred space in which they alone save the world.

Sparring via aid blogs and twitter sort of gets you there — and true, nothing really knocks the wind out quite like a hard kick to the groin via a nasty remark in one’s comments thread. But books about whites-in-shining armor “inspirational”  development heroes who blindly stumble on apparent solutions in difficult countries are total low-hanging fruit for a bit of EAW ire.

low-hanging fruit

R&R in the Seychelles got your cynicism on the run? No worries: hit the tikki bar, knock back a few, and unleash a little vitriol about The Blue Sweater to the unsuspecting adventure tourists on the adjacent stools.

As they start to look uncomfortable (or bored – who the hell is this Novogratz woman anyway?), switch your rant to the for-profit mogul-who-grows-a-conscience and becomes “committed” to “doing whatever it takes” (short of actually giving away any personal cash) to fix the world, thus proving that capitalism can be “good for everyone.” (Uh, yeah – obviously. Poverty is totally on the run in all of the capitalist countries in the world).

In the end, as all good EAWs know, aid workers are the only ones who really know what it takes to solve the world’s problems. So you’re totally justified in ranting  on a bit about  Philanthrocapitalism.

Tough day in the cubicle? Review the 2011 Sphere manual? Bone up on the latest studies from ALNAP? Write a life-saving trip report (code for “accountability”)? Or… jump on the Greg Mortenson dogpile?

Total. No. Brainer.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2011 7:53 am

    >> Tough day in the cubicle? Review the 2011 Sphere manual? Bone up on the latest studies from ALNAP? Write a life-saving trip report (code for “accountability”)? Or… jump on the Greg Mortenson dogpile?

    As if its either/or. The paths to motivated professionalism are many… love of best practice for the pure at heart… loathing of shite practice for the EAW grouch. While one might get through a first read of the new Sphere 2011 manual in a bout of starry-eyed, positive and enthusiastic pro-best-practice bedtime reading, *of course* the cynic EAW is going to be much more motivated to do so if they’ve just buffed the chip on their shoulder and taken a few pot shots at 3cups. No way that lame three cups guy has done this, I’m the real pro here, take that Sphere manual! Read! Done! Hah!

    Mortenson is now serving a true purpose and noble calling: an object lesson. We should thank him.

    • Darkwing Duck permalink
      May 13, 2011 3:00 pm

      “Mortenson is now serving a true purpose and noble calling: an object lesson. We should thank him.”

      I concur. Recently I had such an object lesson myself…they hired you as a cultural consultant? That doesn’t mean they want to know what you think. It means they want you to help them convince a village to accept a really raw deal so that they can collect some data. I was sooo naive. And now I’m not. And neither are all of those people who might blithely be donating to charities that aren’t what they seem. (Um, not that any charity is what it seems but you get the idea…)

  2. Caro permalink
    May 6, 2011 11:26 pm

    The blog is often hilarious, this contribution is utterly boring…

  3. Cynthia Yagi permalink
    May 8, 2011 11:14 am

    Court- Your humor just KILLS me! After seeing the title of this blog entry, I decided reading it was the best way to start my Sabbath.

    Love you “solver-of-world-problems,”
    Cynthia

  4. May 23, 2011 2:20 am

    More fuel for the fire: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2066239,00.html

    :)

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