Thursday, April 28, 2016

Distant lands of which we know nothing

Forty-some years ago, Le Monde, the most prestigious newspaper in France, ran a series of portraits of great cities. For the USA, it chose Chicago.

Among the reasons it gave for Chicago's rapid advancement was that, unlike Boston, it had never been ravaged by a great fire.


Chicago was then the second city of America and I wondered, is what I think I know about France's second city (Marseille) as weird as what Le Monde thinks it knows about Chicago?

Local knowledge counts for something. I think of the Monde story often, and again today when I read a story about Maui's last sugar harvest in The Guardian.

It is an awfully bad story, although no different from others I have read in the San Francisco and some other papers, all of them based on propaganda from the anticane folks. I am pretty sure that all of them were written by vacationers, either staff or free-lance, who write off their vacations on their taxes by claiming to be doing reporting work. The author, Stephen McLaren, is a freelance photographer.)

(A practice I consider unethical.)

A fair indication of the reliability of the story is that McLaren gets the name of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. incorrect.

He did not bother to interview anyone from HC&S or even from anyone in, say, the general ag community.

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