AUTHOR: Former NBA player Paul Shirley on his personal blog
LENGTH: 1,946 words
THESIS: We should not help Haitians--we should "reprimand" them
FOR WHAT: The "abject poverty [that] exacerbated the extent of the crisis"
LOGIC: It's Haitians' fault they have a government which screws them ("It is the people's responsibility to change the government. Not the other way around.")
ELEMENTS OF SHIRLEY'S OPEN LETTER TO HAITI ON BEHALF OF THE WORLD:
- PRELIMINARY PATRONIZING CONGRATULATIONS: "First of all, kudos on developing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Your commitment to human rights, infrastructure, and birth control should be applauded."
- REQUEST REGARDING INFRASTRUCTURE AND CONDOMS: "If it's possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor? Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while?"
SHIRLEY'S POSITION: "I recoil at the notion that I'm SUPPOSED to do something. I would like to help, but only if I feel that my assistance is deserved and justified."
SHIRLEY'S ANALOGY: "Imagine that I'm a caveman. Imagine that I've chosen to build my house out of balsa wood, and that I'm building it next to a roaring river"
ANOTHER BAD IDEA, ACCORDING TO SHIRLEY: Sending food to Africa
The people of whom I write are adults. Functional, human adults with functional, human adult brains. It is not too much to ask that they behave as such. That they stand up and say, "Yes, we screwed this up the first time. We are forever indebted to you. Now show us how we can do it right. So that, next time, we won't need your help."
SUCCINCT RETURN LETTER FROM JOURNALIST AT THE NATION: "In most cases, I've believed strongly in the right of professional athletes to state their political beliefs loudly and proudly." However:
Dear Paul Shirley, I only wish your father had taken your own advice and worn a condom. Go to hell. Sincerely, Dave Zirin
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.