The Beverly Hillbillies Effect Bamako, Mali, West Africa Monday, September 24, 2007
There is an intriguing phenomenon to observe on the planet, the best way I can explain is by calling it, - The Beverly Hillbillies Effect -
When a person with who comes from a primitive background suddenly lives in a more developed world because of new found money, and become pompous yet still behaves as they was raised.
The Beverly Hillbillies was a television show in the USA about a family of Hillbillies from up in the hills somewhere who hit gold, black gold. The found oil on their land and became incredibly rich and because of this great wealth their friend told them to move to California, and go live in Beverly Hills, California, the place to go when New York is a Mercedes, and you want a Lamborghini.
The world is developing and changing at an every increasing speed, while the base lifestyle does not. You can take the man out of the country, but you cannot take the country out of the man.
I was having an ugly feeling laugh and a cringe this morning, there is a man in the Hotel, he is in the Air Conditioned room next to mine. He has a radio blaring away at 3:00 AM in the morning in French, I suppose he does not understand French and must hear it at high volumes to separate the words, or he is enamored by the sounds. Well, after a few obnoxious hours, he gets up, the door close, I hear him clear his throat and spit, I am positive I am putting on my sandals to walk to the shower.
Later, I decided to go and get a dipper of water to make some instant coffee, the radio has stopped, it is quiet, I am happy. I go take a peak out the front balcony to see what the day is bringing, it is now about 5:00 AM and everyone is out swearing allegiance. I see the man over by the bushes and I start to chuckle, I try not to be obvious, but here is a tall man in a leisure suit, typical here, quite nice actually, a grey, not the normal I pajama colors.
He is brushing his teeth over by the bushes!
Ok, this is happens, the normal person of West Africa is diligent about brushing their teeth. The normal way it to walk outside, hand around a bush or the gutter and spit the toothpaste in the bush. The Hotels in this area of the world often do not have sinks, mirrors, or any method to wash your hands, or brush your teeth. They have caught on to the idea that a shower is nice, but the idea of brushing your teeth inside the hotel room is still sort of a mystery. I love when a girl from the hills takes a shower under what we would call a normal shower; they become thrilled by the idea of running water.
Ok, this man just is clueless, he cannot hide behind that leisure suit, and he cannot pretend to be something. We have a very nice set of sinks, complete with mirrors and half the faucets work; these are less than 10 feet from his room.
The difficult part for me about The Beverly Hillbillies Effect is not his lack of understanding of the modern world. I do not see any reason why he needs to speak French, I do not care that he brushes his teeth over a bush; I do not like that he spits on the floor in front of my feet. The problem is the arrogance that comes with new money, when you give a Hillbillies new found wealth; they do not become loveable like the show the The Beverly Hillbillies, the opposite, a person with money believes they are someone special, and they demand you say they are special. I try my best to talk about football and escape. A normal person from the hills, living in the hills, accepting reality is ten time the aristocrat of a person who wants to be something they are not, you cannot remove the basic culture and lifestyle of a person and the last thing in life I want to listen to is a person pretending to be something they are not, it is like watching a lie in action.
I came from Indiana, I am a Hoosier, this is not sophisticated and that is ok today.