New York Times almost writes a sensitive article about Vodou

Dan Bilefsky's effort at a cautious, politically correct and balanced article about New York area practitioners of vodou was reading better than I might usually expect on the subject from the New York Times, until I reached the last paragraph. After framing his story around a ceremony to celebrate computer engineer Jack Laroche's ritual marriage to the lwa Ezuli Frida, such weddings being a common mode of expressing allegiance and affiliation with a particular spirit, he concludes with the non-observation that Laroche "sees no contradiction between wielding an iPhone and marrying a voodoo bride." (After all, what would those pagan pin-pushers be doing with a mobile telephone? What if you were to spill goat's blood on it?)

You don't have to have been to journalism school to know that "sees no contradiction between" is a construction that does absolutely nothing except raise the spectre of just such a contradiction. Now go back to that sentence and replace "marrying a voodoo bride" with "keeping kosher" or "lining up in church to receive the holy communion." Would Bilefsky have included those sentences in articles about the resurgence of orthodoxy in Jewish youth, or the fascinating Sunday-morning antics of hedge-fund managers?


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