Lobsters, caviar and brandy for MPs at summit on starvation.
August 26, 2002 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Lobsters, caviar and brandy for MPs at summit on starvation. Is this really a scandal? Or typical tabloid pabulum? Yes, it is hypocritical, but is it worse than rich people who don't claim to give a damn about the poor eating caviar and swilling champagne? Matt thinks it's "sick".
posted by goethean (27 comments total)
Rich people don't care about poor people? When did this start happening?

Sorry for the sarcasm, but blah blah blah rich people blah blah blah disgraceful blah blah blah starving children blah blah blah.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:28 PM on August 26, 2002

Better than not attending at all.

I think this just distracts. Why not read about some of the actual issues discussed at the summit instead?
posted by muckster at 8:44 PM on August 26, 2002

Does he think they should starve for the entire week just so they can 'see what it's like'? In that case perhaps Americans should grind to a halt for a week, refuse to do any work, and wipe their asses with their hands, just to develop some compassion for the third world, eh?
posted by wackybrit at 8:45 PM on August 26, 2002

posted by crunchland at 8:52 PM on August 26, 2002


screw you, I wanted to talk about it!
posted by goethean at 8:58 PM on August 26, 2002

Why not read about some of the actual issues

From your link:
A global human society based on poverty for many and prosperity for a few, characterized by islands of wealth, surrounded by a sea of poverty"

Sounds like the point goethean was bringing up.
posted by HTuttle at 9:05 PM on August 26, 2002

This is not an op-ed. It is a newspaper article, purporting to report a facet of a news event. It is an English paper, however, which normally means a higher level of opinionated word choices and juxtapositions than most U.S. dailies.

An "op-ed" is an opinion column, usually a writer holding forth with their opinion absent of original reporting. So named because the newspaper page where those columns run is usually opposite the editorial page.

Whether it's too weak for a good thread is still up to you.
posted by sacre_bleu at 9:11 PM on August 26, 2002

I'm with sacre_bleu. If Drudge had written about how sick this is, it would be op-ed. This is just a newspaper article by a nondescript journalist.

That said.. The Sun has a horrible reputation for being one giant column, a newspaper not really full of news, but just full of dire opinions. It's often referred to as a comic rather than a newspaper.. so, perhaps this odd example could fall into the op-ed pile ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 9:18 PM on August 26, 2002

More marxist rebel rousing...
posted by Aikido at 9:20 PM on August 26, 2002

wackybrit: Huh? If Drudge had written the same thing, it would be an op/ed, but if a British journalist writes it, it's a news article?

It's an op/ed. It may be published in the news pages, but this is not journalism that makes any pretense at objectivity.

Of course, all writing from The Nation and Cato and so forth are op/eds. They may contain factual material, but they are written to advance the writer's point of view, and they're linked here all the time.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:24 PM on August 26, 2002

This is not an op-ed.

It's the Sun. The boundaries between editorial and opinion are as scanty and removable as the clothing on its Page Three models. Rupert Murdoch thanks you.
posted by riviera at 9:35 PM on August 26, 2002

Yay! This place has turned into one big metatalk circlejerk.
posted by Mick at 10:42 PM on August 26, 2002

to get back on track. i think the opulence of the conference is inappropriate and obscene.

for news about the conference i enjoy the daily summit for it's background and briefings. details of the daily negociations can be found here in a variety of formats
posted by quarsan at 1:14 AM on August 27, 2002

I seriously doubt the delegates had any hand in planning the menu, so the blame isn't really on them for the opulence of the food -- blame the event organizers and planners for picking a posh hotel with a posh menu for the event, and not realizing how hypocritical it'd come off. Good food, of course; caviar and lobster, hell no. Tacky tacky tacky.

That said, it's pretty weird that food was flown in from other countries just for this conference. Usually host nations take events this big as an opportunity to show off their local cuisines, but with respect to the dietary restrictions of certain guests (halal, kosher, vegetarian, no alcohol, etc). The chef who was bragging to the papers comes off as self-serving and stupid -- sure, now everyone knows you can make a tasty huge spread, but you can bet major events aren't going to booked at a place where the staff is known to talk to the media, especially when what they say comes off as detrimental to their clients.
posted by lia at 1:34 AM on August 27, 2002

[Does he think they should starve for the entire week just so they can 'see what it's like'? ]

Surely there is a middle ground, eh?
posted by revbrian at 2:08 AM on August 27, 2002

Why would anybody be surprised to find extravagant dining at this event? The hypocrisy is par for the course. Case in point: for all the rhetoric about saving the environment and eliminating poverty, why is it that Robert Mugabe is allowed to address the summit? The deterioration of society in Zimbabwe points to the problems that developing nations face when they are ruled by kleptomaniac, autocratic dictators.
posted by alrob at 2:23 AM on August 27, 2002

Ah, but by kicking all the white farmers off their farms, Mugabe is helping the land return to its pristine state, and after enough people die from resulting food shortages, well, there won't be as much poverty, numerically speaking, will there? He's an enviro-hero!

And yes (as people have displayed a worrying tendency to miss the sardonic and satirical of late 'round these parts) I'm joking, blackly.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:30 AM on August 27, 2002

So to speak.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:31 AM on August 27, 2002

Soweto speak.
posted by Nicolae Carpathia at 2:40 AM on August 27, 2002

... give a damn about the poor eating caviar and swilling champagne? Matt thinks it's "sick".

Matt who? Haughey?
posted by matteo at 3:27 AM on August 27, 2002

"In my experience, heads of state don't decide what they want to eat or drink until the last minute. So I have to make sure I have everything they can possibly want.

If that's the case, then the organizers aren't totally to blame for the overwhelmingly expensive choices of food available. It seems that the visiting parties are making choices on what they want to eat, and the hotel is expected to have it all all on hand. Sort of like when a rock star calls room service and wants a jar full of nothing but green M&Ms.

Personally, I think it's all a bit much. It would have shown better form and more class to intentionally "eat down" (as in eating something closer to what a normal person in the area might eat), and donating some money/food/whatever to the local charities.

I was also disturbed to hear about the trees that were cut down so the limos could have better access. Heaven forbid that a government dignitary be inconvenienced by having to actually walk a step or two before dining on caviar and champagne. Much better to chop down hundreds of trees.
posted by Orb at 6:32 AM on August 27, 2002

Huh? If Drudge had written the same thing, it would be an op/ed, but if a British journalist writes it, it's a news article?

Oh well, ALL news stories are written by someone, so all news must be op-ed!
posted by wackybrit at 6:35 AM on August 27, 2002

I may have jumped the gun, calling it op/ed... the "Matt thinks" part is what did it.
posted by crunchland at 6:56 AM on August 27, 2002

Matt who? Haughey?

Was this a serious question?

If it was: if you'd followed the Matt link or moused over it, you wouldn't have to ask, and you've certainly been here long to know to do either of those two things.

If it wasn't: the name Matt was linked to drudgereport, which is obviously not mathowie. goethean should've probably said Drudge or Matt Drudge instead to be super duper clear, but still.
posted by lia at 9:01 AM on August 27, 2002

Yes, I'm sure Mr. Drudge must be horrified to see all of his hard work on behalf of the starving get undermined.

People who eat well while working to alleviating starvation are one infinity less hypocritical than people who call this hypocritical and yet are doing nothing themselves.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 9:29 AM on August 27, 2002

lia, what's your point?

*shakes head*

and yes, it was a joke, you got that right: very simply, I think that the words "Matt thinks" in a FPP are kinda misleading. It's not that hard to add "Drudge" since Matt happens to be the name of this site's administrator. And also, I think the huge majority of MeFi users don't give a fuck about what Drudge has to say about anything. You've been here long enough too, no?

I simply underscored a rookie mistake innocently made by goethean. Thanks for your little unnecessary lesson, anyway

Next time, I'll put footnotes under my post, 'mkay?
posted by matteo at 11:21 AM on August 27, 2002

wackbrit: a good postmodernist would say that all news is op/ed.

[And a good critic of postmodernism would say that while there is some truth in that, it's a vast oversimplification.]
posted by Slithy_Tove at 5:50 AM on August 29, 2002

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