WTF Friday, 6/29/2012

If you’re ever in need of some good, hot WTF action, here’s a pro tip: Head on over to Kickstarter, and type the name of any African country into the search bar. We tried “Congo” yesterday, and uncovered these gems:

  • The crew over at 1 Million Bones raised more than $25,000 to create “a 2-minute time-lapse video shout-out to the entire country to tell them about One Million Bones.” They promised that supporters who pledged $15 or more would be entitled to “have a bone made in your name.”

    We don’t even know which way to joke about this. On the one hand, the reality of this is so strange that it almost transcends humor: Is the idea that these supporters are being pre-memorialized now in case they are genocided at a later date? Is it a way to get an authentic “victim of mass murder” experience without having to go to the trouble and expense of being brutally killed first? A statement that the memory of a genocide victim should carry roughly the same weight as that of an individual who donated approximately two Chipotle burritos’ worth of money?

    But on the other hand, there is a whole range of “I’ve got a big bone with your name on it” jokes available to us here, and we’re reluctant to just let them go.

  • These modern-day Dr. Livingstones raised nearly $29,000 to go exploring in the Republic of Congo to see if they could find living dinosaurs. They helpfully point out that “the The Congo Basin is a region of Central Africa larger than the state of Florida, more than 80% of which has been totally unexplored.” (We assume they are using the standard “photographed and posted to Facebook by white people” definition of “explored.”) Their rewards were pricier than 1 Million Bones,’ but how could anyone resist “a handcarved Spear made by the Baka Pygmy people along with a picture of the person who carved it holding YOUR spear” for the low, low price of $100? Or corporate naming rights to one of the many new species the group plans to discover, for only $1500? (First 5 pledgers also receive free Pygmy crossbow!)

    For an extra dose of WTF, please refer to this Huffington Post article on the project, which refers to the research destination as “the African Congo.” Look, we know the search for a modifier with which to identify which Congo you’re talking about is time-consuming and tedious for all of us. Congo-K, Congo-B; Heart-of-Darkness-Congo, Heart-of-Darkness-Adjacent Congo; etc. Why don’t we all just agree to call them “Rape Congo” and “Dinosaur Congo” from here on out? Sound good to everybody?

And, some late-breaking WTF news from Peter Doerrie’s always-interesting Twitter feed: Apparently, Zimbabwe suspended all weddings this April in order to “curb fraud.” Marriage officers have been warned that if they perform marriages in spite of the ban, “jail is waiting for you.” According to The Scotsman, “The authorities complain foreigners, mostly from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are paying Zimbabwean women to enter into marriages of convenience so that they can obtain residence permits. In a case that recently came to light, a desperate local street vendor agreed to marry a Nigerian man for just £6 in 2006.”

Amanda and Kate


  1. HAHAHAHAHAhahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! Man this is funny! I’m glad I subscribed to your site! I just don’t know if banning marriage for a month is the right thing to do. What’s next, they gonna ban condoms cuz a guy loved on a chicken?

  2. You have to admire the research that went into the ban though, with them finding a case from 2006 involving 6 dollars. (Or is this satire? I can never quite tell with this blog and life in general).

  3. I have commented a few times in the past..99.9% of the time in agreement with your biting but very funny and insightful posts. However, I think you can be over-zealous in your concepts of what is ok or not, and what is allowed or not. I think you have many ! fair and insightful posts, but you are also just another indivual (or, two individuals) – not the world’s last word on what consitutes an act of kindness, an act of good, or a worthwhile act of engagement. There is more than one way of seeing the world and more than one way of being educted about things – and god forbid it this is reduced to one way of seeing the world and only one way of contributing – which is dependent on your standards. Ok, yes you have law degrees in human rights – that’s good. I have a PhD in development – and yes, that’s good too. But that does not mean there are not other ways of being engaged in these isses. There has to be an allowance for people to discover and be allowed to be part of a dialouge – and not soley from having a degree in it/ then career. In the case of the Kony debacle the amount of censure they received was not only just but not heavy hitting enough (your posts on it notwithtanding!). But, the One Million bones, is not an NGO or an ideological looney bin like Kony was, or to a lesser degree that one million t-shirts guy a couple of years ago. I have never heard of 100 million bones before now – so read it from the link provided, and from what I can tell – from what they explain about the project – it is an installation in Washington to raise awareness. Not the most stupid idea by a long shot. Worthwhile even. That there can be different avenues to being part of the dialouge about development/human rights issues is a Good thing. They are not hurting anyone, and they may likely raise some awareness. If other information comes out about it that show it in a different light – then I may have the same disregard as you do. But – going by the current information I think you are being overly critical. With regard to the bone gift to sponsers – sure, it could be taken as a insensitive, offensive, stupid, half-wit idea..on the other hand, all humans are made of bones – and I imagine the point is that they are an extension of the instillation, a way of reminding the sponser that – utlimately – we are all the same, tied with an awareness of the fragility of life. And, yes, it costs money to do this installation, and yes people are giving money to fund it…but to assume this money would have otherwise been spent more wisely (peadiatric health say) is not logical. More likely this is money that would otherwise been spent on a smoothie and a movie.

  4. I think you have forgotten one very important thing:

    CLEARLY there are dinosaurs in Africa. But naming rights? Now they’re just being ridiculous. Everybody who is anybody knows that the dinos in Africa are brontosauruses. Brontosauri? The real crime is that they are simply doing what’s been done. Now going to South America and finding living Giant Ground Sloths? That’d be worth a few bones.

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