Polygamy is big attraction for CNN, distraction for Turkey
Turn on Anderson Cooper 360 almost any night and get an eyeful of his fave story - the hunt for Warren Jeffs, the head of the breakaway Mormon sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Polygamy is a sure viewer-getter. Perhaps it's because many North American men fantasize about the prospect of having many sexual partners without having to feel guilty about cheating on their wives or significant others.
Even Anderson Cooper seems to be smitten. As he wrote on his blog,
"I keep staring at those pictures of women in long skirts turning away
from the camera, the few grainy, telephoto images that we have of
Warren Jeffs' thousands of followers. What must life be like in those
You do kind of wonder. Perhaps the women all get along. Sure, there might be fits of jealousy, but that just might make them all want to please you more. No reason to sneak out of the house, make up excuses of late-night business meetings. You just work things out, like adults.
In another Now Public story today, Dan Bilefsky's item for the International Herald Tribune looks into the life of a Turkish man, Aga Mehmet Arslan, who has 5 wives and 55 kids, and wishes he could go back to simpler circumstances. "Marrying five wives is not sinful, and I did so because to have many wives is a sign of power," he is quoted. The problem for him and for Turkey, is that times have indeed changed, and having multiple wives is more of nightmare than a sweet sexual fantasy.
Turkey now wishes to becom part of the EU, but in order to do so must become more western in its outlook. The EU has condemned polygamy, as Bilefsky notes in his article.
But here's the real trouble: the more Turkey and Muslims like Mr. Arslan turn away from traditional values, the more conflict it causes with fundamentalist Islamic movements.
In the west, polygamy exists largely as a cult activity, but enjoyed surreptitiously as an unattainable fantasy.