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- The West’s favourite African dictator
The West’s favourite African dictator
👨🎨 Georgian celebs | GenZ girls ↔ GenZ boys |🍒 Dodgy photoshop
Paul Kagame. Luke Dray/Getty
The West’s favourite African dictator
Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda since 2000, is “possibly the West’s most important African ally”, say Neil Munshi and Simon Marks in Bloomberg. The British paid Rwanda £240m last year to take in thousands of migrants (in theory, at least). America is keen for the Rwandan army, “arguably the best-trained and most respected” in Africa, to expand its already-extensive peacekeeping operations on the continent. Vaccine maker BioNTech is opening a factory in the country, and Volkswagen already have. Kagame was among the rebels who defeated the government waging the Rwandan genocide of 1994, which targeted the country’s Tutsi ethnic minority. He is a Tutsi himself, and the group now dominates the country’s elite.
By many measures, this landlocked, Belgium-sized state has risen “phoenix-like” from its civil war. Life expectancy jumped from 47.1 in 2000 to 66.4 in 2019; economic growth has hovered around 8% in recent years. The verdant capital, Kigali, is packed with “modern buildings, upscale restaurants and spotless streets”. Police don’t solicit bribes and petty crime is “non-existent”. The Rwandan government, driven by a cadre of young, Western-educated technocrats, operates a consultancy that shows off its methods to other African countries. But there is a dark side to this success. Kagame, 66, is an autocrat who brooks no dissent and used to personally beat his advisors; his regime is believed to operate a “global assassination programme” that has murdered hundreds of political opponents. He has little time for such criticism. “When it comes to defending this country that has suffered for so long,” he said in a speech last month, “I don’t need permission from anybody to do what we have to do to protect ourselves.”
Cliff Romme, a 77-year-old amateur golfer who hit two holes-in-one in a single round in Arizona. America’s National Hole-in-One Registry says the odds of doing so are around 67 million-to-one.
Dog owners in the Italian province of Bolzano, who are being told to submit their pooches for DNA testing as part of a crackdown on dog poo in the streets. In theory, the doggy database will enable police to match the mess with the culprit, with owners liable for a fine of up to €1,048. Buona fortuna.
Rishi Sunak, says Kevin Maher in The Times, for being the only man in Britain to practise intermittent fasting and not bang on about it. It was only when a friend blabbed to the media that we learned that the PM fasts for 36 hours each week, from 5pm on Sunday to 5am on Tuesday. This really is revolutionary. The “essential truth” about all diets is that when you are on them “you always end up discussing them”. Yet Sunak has “kept his mouth shut. Literally.”
Japan, for finally entering the 21st century. The country’s trade and industry ministry has announced that next year it will no longer require businesses to submit financial information on floppy discs and CD-Roms. The Japanese are way behind the US, which stopped using floppy discs to coordinate nuclear weapon launches all the way back in 2019.
THE VILLA This five-bedroom medieval chateau in the French village of Nerac enjoys panoramic views over open countryside stretching towards the Pyrenees. Interior features include a limestone staircase, exposed ceilings, terracotta flooring and open fireplaces, while the grounds include a walnut orchard that could be replanted as a vineyard. Toulouse airport is an hour-and-a-half drive. €1.74m.
Taking Physick; or The News of Shooting the King of Sweden! 1792, by James Gillray.
When caricatures were a “fast-track to celebrity”
The only downside for modern audiences trying to enjoy James Gillray’s witty and daring 18th century caricatures, says Laura Gascoigne in The Spectator, is that without a grasp of the politics of the age, “his best shots are liable to fly over their heads”. That’s why the new exhibition of his works at Gainsborough’s House, in the Suffolk town of Sudbury, has sensibly focused on his most famous barbs. There’s George III and Queen Charlotte sharing a “double commode”; the corpulent prince regent “straining the buttons of his waistcoat”; the ascetic Edmund Burke stripped down to just spectacles, a nose and a pair of bony hands; and the lanky, virginal then PM, who Gillray called “the bottomless Pitt”.
From his lodgings above a shop in St James’s, Gillray took aim at all kinds of public figures. And the odd thing was, most of his targets loved it. As Samuel Johnson said when he learned that Gillray had caricatured him as “Dr Pomposo”: “I hope the day will never come when I shall neither be the subject of calumny or ridicule, for then I shall be neglected and forgotten.” In Georgian London, a caricature was a “fast-track to celebrity”. When Gillray finally got in trouble over an “innocuous parody” of the Three Wise Men, a young George Canning – “who had been badgering him for a caricature” – took the opportunity to weigh in. The blasphemy charges were dropped, and Canning, who went on to become prime minister, got his caricatures. Eighteen months later, Gillray was on a government pension, working as a highly effective propagandist. His image of Napoleon “Little Boney” Bonaparte as a “vertically challenged tyrant” has stuck, even though “the Corsican was actually above average height”.
✍️🤔 What’s striking about the new exhibition is the daring of his attacks and the “admirable sang-froid” with which his subjects suffered them. Martin Rowson and Steve Bell, who both cite the Georgian cartoonist as a major influence, were “censored or sacked” by The Guardian last year for far less. “The Georgians had a nerve. Are we losing ours?”
Two generations, not one. Jacob Lund/Getty
Gen Z are reviving the battle of the sexes
One well-established pattern in measuring public opinion, says John Burn-Murdoch in the FT, is that “every generation tends to move as one” on politics and ideology. That makes sense: people of the same age “reach life’s big milestones at the same time”. But Gen Z is different. In countries across the world, an “ideological gap” is opening up within the cohort born between 1997 and 2012: the women are “hyper-progressive”; the men “surprisingly conservative”. In the US, the UK and Germany, data shows women aged 18 to 30 are now between 25 and 30 percentage points more liberal than men of the same age. In non-Western countries like South Korea and China, the divisions are even starker. In effect, “Gen Z is two generations, not one”.
This is partly due to social media, which has left men and women inhabiting “separate spaces” online. But the “key trigger” appears to have been the #MeToo movement, which gave rise to “fiercely feminist values” among Gen Z women. In most countries the divergence is down to women moving left rather than men moving right. But not everywhere: German men under 30 are now “more opposed to immigration than their elders”; almost half of Polish men aged 18 to 21 backed the hard-right Confederation party in the election last year, compared to only a sixth of young women. This may just be “a phase that will pass”. But the ideology gaps are growing, and people tend not to shake off their “formative political experiences”. It’s a shift that “could leave ripples for generations to come”.
💅🙅♂️ A poll released this week showed that British Gen Z males are more likely than baby boomers to believe that feminism has done “more harm than good”. A fifth of men aged 16 to 29 who have heard of the influencer Andrew Tate – a self-proclaimed misogynist who is facing charges in Romania of human trafficking and rape – say they have a positive view of him.
“I have ironed out some of my judginess. I used to be judgy about everything. Now it’s just people on scooters.”