Earlier this week I went on a very long rant about this Dana Parsons article in the LA Times on the sex trafficking of Nepali girls. Today Dana Parsons’ column takes sensationalist trash to a whole other level. Normally I wouldn’t subject anyone to yet another lecture on primitivism, but I think this particular piece is too precious to keep to myself.
Parsons’ article concerns his attempt at something called “perspective.” He received an email recently from his cousin who is on business in Mumbai, filled with details on the horrible living conditions there. Because of this said email, Parsons now feels a sense of enlightenment and gratitude at the fact that he doesn’t have to live in the squalor that his cousin describes.
You can already guess where this is going. The column outlines the horrors of Mumbai, as narrated by Parsons’ cousin:
There are animals everywhere. Common to see dogs lying in areas by the road. I don’t know how they survive, but I’m told animals are sacred and you watch out for them. There are cows wandering through the streets.
We saw several naked people. Not always children. Several relieving themselves.
Our driver pulled over near some marshy area that I took to be rice fields. I got the camera out and was ready to shoot when we saw that the driver was relieving himself at the side of the car.
Ok, we get it — animals, nudity, and public urination, oh my! How is this substantive news by any standard, and more importantly, how can anyone find these details enlightening, as Mr. Parsons claims?
Truth be told, I’m really not surprised that there are people who view the world the way that Dana Parsons does. What I do find upsetting is that the LA Times is carrying this trash and passing it off as journalism. Then again, what else should I expect — time and time again I have been appalled at their international coverage. I will concede, however, that the LA Times is good for covering a few things, namely: state and local politics, the Hollywood industry, and most importantly, a certain college basketball team that’s going to rout Florida on Saturday. But even if the LAT has no intention of upgrading their international coverage, it’s time for them to cut Dana Parsons off from covering anything related to South Asia. He really needs to be stopped.