The holiday season was a kind of news ceasefire. Notwithstanding the awkward intrusion of reality afforded by the assassination of Pakistan's Bhutto, the airwaves managed to soothe us with soft news, such as NPR radio's extensive rhapsody to the potato.
But we're off and running again at the top of January with mayhem in Kenya --- and proof once more that if nations didn't have each other to fight, then the tribes within each nation would fight each other. And if the tribes didn't have each other to fight, then the members of a family would fight each other.
Good thing there's no such thing as sin.
You wonder, though, considering the state of things, how the news outlets get along without that particular lexical item --- "sin." Think of how these emporiums of word-smithing unnecessarily hamstring themselves in editorial analysis by their quaintly obstinate refusal to add to their journalistic stock in trade the most perfect word ever coined for capturing all the nuances of the terrible actions they will be reporting in 2008 --- "sin."
Explanations like "poverty" or "discontent" or "frustration" or "long simmering tensions" or "internecine strife" or "tribal divisions" are all well and good, but just don't cut it when describing why a wealthy politician extorts bribes, or why a Kenyan mob would douse with gasoline and set afire a church full of women and children.