We’d like to congratulate Mother Jones Senior Editor Dave Gilson on the in-depth investigative work that went into producing this magical map* of the “celebrity recolonization of Africa”:
Gilson may see an Africa half-full, well on its way to the full celebrity recolonization that the Dark Continent has always dreamed of, but (eternal pessimists that we are) we can’t help but see an Africa half-empty of desperately needed celebrity resources. And we know from the work of Nicholas Kristof, the Enough Campaign, Save Darfur, Invisible Children, and others that Africans unattended by celebrities will all die slow and painful deaths, often while being raped by lions.
Obviously, this is an incipient crisis of epic proportions, so we need to work fast. While nearly overwhelmed by the scale of this tragedy, Team Wronging Rights has sprung into action. Using our crack “looking at the map and counting things” methodology, we have identified the following countries in desperate need of a celebrity spokesperson: Western Sahara, Mauritania, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Plain Vanilla Guinea, Gabon, Other Congo, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Zambia, Benin, Togo, Eritrea, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
In order to achieve Full Celebrification In Our Time, we recommend celebrities be allocated as follows:
Somalia: Johnny Depp, because the pirates will respect him. (As several alert readers pointed out, it’s actually Eritrea, not Somalia, that lacks a celebrity. However, we think Depp is the right man for the job, so we recommend Clay Aiken be bumped over to Eritrea.)
The Gambia: Game (formerly “The Game”) in the hopes that he can convince the country to drop the definite article as well.
Guineas 1 through 3: Josh Groban, on the theory that nothing papers over the memory of a gruesome massacre of political opponents in your capital city’s football stadium like an arena concert by America’s favorite singer-songwriter. (Sorry Guinea-Bissau, we know you have no particular history of slaughtering your opposition on the sites of major sporting events, but if you want to avoid confusion, you should probably go ahead and get a new name.)
Chad: Julianna Margulies, the currently-second-most-prominent-former-castmember-of-ER. Because if there’s any force on earth more powerful than the fractious regional politics of Chad/Sudan, it’s ER fans’ eternal-springing hope that Margulies’s Nurse Carol Hathaway will reunite with Clooney’s Dr. Doug Ross. Seriously, would it be possible for the fighting to continue if peace could give those two lovebirds the chance to meet cute over a treaty-signing, realize that Doug should never have abandoned the lovely nurse and her twins, and ride off into a spinoff together? The answer is clearly no, not possible.
The Other Congo: To be shared evenly among all the least prominent members of famous Hollywood families (we’re looking at you, Emilio Estevez and Lesser Baldwins). Because, let’s face it, sometimes it sucks being The Other Congo.
Lesotho and Swaziland: Oprah, because she’s already got South Africa covered, and is so wealthy that chances are good that she already owns those two tiny landlocked nations without even realizing it.
That leaves Western Sahara, Mauritania, Cameroon, Gabon, Niger, Zambia, Benin, and Togo still in desperate need of celebrities. We know you won’t let them down: post your recommendations in the comments. (As usual, Lucky Charms-based awards will be available for feats of commenting awesomeness.)
*Note that the actual map is interactive and therefore infinitely more awesome and informative than the screengrab we’ve included here.