Friday, March 23, 2007

Just true

From the seventh book, Blue Shoes and Happiness, in the delightful No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, comes some unaccustomed plain speaking about the AIDS epidemic in Africa (and our own multiple STD epidemics). The heroine, Mma Ramotswe ("mma" is an honorific title), and her assistant are talking with a new client:

Mma Ramotswe folded her arms... . "Ever since women allowed men to think they did not need to get married, everything has gone wrong. That is what I think, Mma."

Poppy thought for a moment. "I think you may be right," she said. "Look at the mess. Look at what all this unfaithfulness has done. People are dying because of that, aren't they? Many people are dying."

For a moment the three of them were silent. There was no gainsaying what Poppy had said. It was just true. Just true.

Of course, our betters in the government and academia tell us that it's not true at all, that those three simple women from Botswana have it all wrong. All we have to do, they say, is hand out more condoms, spend a few tens of billions more on an AIDS vaccine, and get those pesky Catholics to shut up about wrong behavior and disordered inclinations, so we can enlarge the sphere of evil things that people can do without fear of consequences. And how's that worked out for us so far, guys?

Even with all the dust, Botswana is looking real good. Some things are just true.