A few days ago I posted an impromptu distillation of William T. Vollmann's article about Madagascar ("The Jealous Ones"). I was struck by Vollmann's uncharacteristic dislike of pretty much everything he saw and everybody he met in that country (and I actually wrote the distillation before I'd gotten to the REALLY disturbing stuff).
What are the chances that somebody reading this blog is actually FROM Madagascar? It's a small world after all, and one reader made it clear that they didn't much like this characterization of their country.
Here at The Muffyblog we like to be fair to everybody except Anna Nicole Smith. Aware that I should never swallow somebody's viewpoint without independent verification I decided to learn what OTHER people have to say about Madagascar. I figured I'd find all sorts of websites warning travellers away from the country...but other than comments that it "isn't for everybody" and that you shouldn't walk around outside at night, I couldn't find a single Vollmann-style negative comment about rampant thievery or people getting ammonia sprayed in their eyes. Shock!
I trust Vollmann's characterizations but in this case he's outnumbered. I don't know the real story -- I'd have to actually GO there to find out -- but I can at least say that if other people find the country as unpleasant as Vollmann did, they either aren't posting reviews online or they didn't survive to tell the tale.
So in the spirit of Valentine's day -- and since I don't have Somebody Special of my own -- I decided that MADAGASCAR is my valentine. To prove it, here's a picture of me comparing my ring-legs to a ring-tail, next to the Lemur who loves me: