Media Forms

 

In Iraq, the best digits cost a mint

The market for ‘distinguished’ cellphone numbers has prices that rival those at gold and gem exchanges.  In Iraq, owning this special item can grease the skids in business, get a politician to stand at attention and even inspire affection in a sweetheart.This key that opens so many doors is a cellphone SIM card.

But not just any SIM card. It must be “distinguished,” associated with a phone number considered prestigious because it has a distinctive or beautiful series of digits. Say, for instance, a string of sevens or zeros, or a repeating pattern of numerals.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/world/wp/2018/02/13/feature/trade-a-lexus-for-a-prestigious-phone-number-in-iraq-the-best-digits-cost-a-mint/

Using Comedy to Strengthen Nigeria’s Democracy

A news-satire series modelled on “The Daily Show” aims to empower viewers. Will the joke get lost in translation?

“The Daily Show” was only the latest example of the American tendency to look to satire as a means to advance liberal-democratic values.  The image of the heroic, dissenting satirist went abroad, where, it appeared, the struggle between the forces of democracy and authoritarianism loomed larger. It was easy to see political satire as an innovation, like the Internet, that could help democracy take root around the world, not through patronizing and coercive “nation-building” projects but as a natural result of giving people a product that they wanted and enjoyed.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/22/using-comedy-to-strengthen-nigerias-democracy