August 31, 2005

"The Constant Gardener"

Everybody else is giving this adaptation of John Le Carre's bestseller about corporate conspiracies in Kenya dutifully rapturous reviews. From my review in the Sept. 28th issue of The American Conservative

"Hotel Rwanda," despite its catering to white liberal self-obsession, at least was about some closely observed Africans. "The Constant Gardener," in contrast, exemplifies how cinematic political correctness, the fear of showing human differences, strips Africans of their distinctiveness, rendering them ciphers who merely suffer nobly at the hands of fascinating white villains.

"The Constant Gardener" of the title is a handsome but passive British diplomat (Ralph Fiennes of "The English Patient") married to a feisty but gorgeous activist wife (Rachel Weisz of "The Mummy"). Her anti-racist dedication is so saintly that she refuses to have their baby delivered at a white-run hospital. (If Weisz's character were real, she'd be appalling, but, fortunately, even the most radically chic put their own babies' survival above their ideological fashion statements.)

When she loses the child in a hellhole slum clinic, she barely notices because she can tell that the European scientists examining the dying tribeswoman in the next bed are up to no good. She discovers that the nefarious multinational pharmaceutical firm is testing a new tuberculosis drug in Kenya on patients dying of both AIDS and TB without obtaining -- you'll be shocked to learn -- their fully informed consent. (Although Le Carré's Cold War spy stories were endlessly praised for the moral ambiguity he discerned within the KGB, he portrays "Big Pharma" as the epitome of evil.)

Objectively speaking, overly aggressive clinical trials must rank about 312th on the list of Africa's most pressing problems, in-between overcrowded buses and hostile hippopotamuses. (Ludicrously, the screenplay claims that the evil corporation is cutting corners to rush the pill to market because of the obscene profits it will make preventing an epidemic of a new antibiotic-resistant form of TB that threatens to kill two billion people. In that case, the drug company would deserve a tickertape parade.) But, unlike Africa's major tribulations -- many of which stem from its traditional polygamous and matrilocal family structures that are profoundly dysfunctional in the modern world because they lead to low paternal investment in children -- slipshod drug testing is one that can be rightfully blamed on white people.

Don't assume, though, that Le Carré and the American critics who revere him are consumed by White Guilt. They're not blaming themselves, just white people they already hated. White culturati use black victims as props in their endless competition to win superior moral status over other whites, especially ones who make more money than they do.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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