Writing for the UK’s Daily Mail on Friday, American writer Leslie Larson expresses shock that US Republican Party ideological icon Dinesh D’Souza is facing an allegation that he cheated on his wife – from whom he claims to have been separated for two years.
Pleeease, Ms. Larson: be serious!
What, pray tell, is shocking about this allegation?
How does this behaviour differ from Dr. D’Souza’s luminous lunatic, racial rants against US President Barack Obama, and people of African descent generally?
How does it differ from the Jesuit trained, supposedly “non-denominational” Christian’s uncritical propagation of capitalist doctrine?
“Mammon-maximizing” Mormons like Mitt Romney, the “pecuniary priestcraft” profiteering Talibankers of Wall Street, and other carnivorous capitalism conserving – as opposed to reforming - Christians could hardly find a better advocate of Bain Capital, DPGS-Domino’s Pizza and similar models of wealth aggregation and defence than D’Souza.
What exactly about his marital fidelity fractioning or flip-flopping faith could possibly surprise anybody, Ms. Larson?
Perhaps Dr. D’ Souza’s reported belief that he is entitled to get engaged to another woman while still married offends your feminine sensibility (I am assuming the writer is female).
But surely D’ Souza’s declaration that the only thing wrong with Europeans’ colonization of Africa is that it did not last long enough, should have prepared you for the revelation that he is not the most sensitive being.
Barbados-based (Trinidadian) educator, feminist activist and creative entrepreneur Dr. Viola Davis frequently makes the point that character is destiny.
She would say D’ Souza’s disgrace was predictable, forecasted by the lop-sided, unhealthy eurocentrism of his pedagogy.
In her latest book “Derek Walcott: dramatist” (Intelek International, 2012) Davis observes “Hybridity recognizes value in all cultures. This serves to disturb the calculation of power and knowledge, producing gaps in what it all signifies.”
I believe those “gaps” can be usefully thought of as Christ-like wounds – individual and social openings, creating a broad access to the grace of God: the Most High’s sovereign expression of his image and intent in humanity.
D’Souza’s academic refined rants against multiculturalism, Africans, socialism – all in their own flawed, imperfect ways as much expressions of divine providence as nationalism, Europeans and capitalism – suggests that he has been operating outside the grace of God for some time now.
But maybe that doesn’t matter that much to him, as long as he is in the favor of the Republican Party.
Another Allvoices.com writer, Herbert Dyer Jr., has noted the similarity of D’Souza’s hypocrisy and that of his fellow conservative prophet Rush Limbaugh – a Viagra-banking, prescription drug-addicted advocate of wholesome conservative morality.
I think another useful comparison may be between D’Souza and another cigar toting DJ – the now deceased and disgraced Jimmy Savile, of BBC-Savile blinking (cover-up?) notoriety.
The infantilizing pedagogy in which D’Souza has been indulging shares significant features, I think, with Savile’s paedophile reverie. The comparative youthfulness of Denise Odie Joseph II, the 51 year-old D’ Souza’s former “fiancé” surely reinforces the D’Souza-Savile analogy.
His seemingly self-serving but ultimately self-defeating analysis suggests to me that D’ Souza could be put in the same intellectual category as the 2001 Nobel Prize winning writer V.S. Naipaul.
I’ve only read Naipaul’s “The Mimic Men” so far, but that was enough to convince me of the Trinidad-born, Caribbean heritage disowning literary luminary’s antipathy toward black people.
His comments about being the one who taught India English, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize, convinced me of his conceit. And we may note a correspondence here with Savile’s grandiose claims about what he has done for deejaying universally.
Like D’ Souza, Naipaul is full of praise for European culture – and especially the English language in which he plies his trade.
This Anglophilia is fine, within limits.
Having acquired the English tongue myself – and via no less a medium than the BBC - I can attest to its potential efficiency, expressiveness and beauty.
But unlike Naipaul and D’ Souza, my love of English does not blind me to the limitations and fallibilities it shares with other languages.
And, more broadly, my appreciation of Anglo-American and similar European derived cultures do not blind me to the fallible, corrupt and outright ugly that they share with other strains of humanity.
Appreciating and even loving things American, British, French, Australian or German, for example, does not prevent me from abhorring (rightly, I think) the arrogance or evil that any of these states or their citizens have or may yet perpetrate.
Just as loving my island home, Barbados, does not prevent me from publicly castigating its political, business, academic, media or religious elites when I believe the situation warrants it. (And I like to think I denounce the wrong deeds of less privileged Barbadians on an equal basis.)
I cannot embrace D’ Souza’s patently uncritical, simplistic Republican Party propagating, Bain Capital and Mitt Romney campaign platform reinforcing infatuation with capitalism – anymore than I could applaud some trade unionists’ mouthing of simplistic, sentimental laborite ideas (a friend, Hazel, will know where I am coming from here).
But readers would be right in saying that I am more likely to expose or otherwise engage with what I consider the perversity and prejudices of a privileged person like D’ Souza, Romney, Savile or Limbaugh in my writing than I am to name and shame some petty criminal in Barbados, England, the USA or anywhere else.
Apart from the fact that I, like most other people, am to a degree influenced by the celebrity culture that inclines us to engage in various ways with persons on society’s pedestals, I think my interest n such persons stems from a sense of fairness: a fairness implied by the biblical dictum “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48).
It is affronts to this sense of fairness – like Savile’s, Romney’s and the BBC’s – that grieve me most profoundly.
It is the perversion of the privilege with which they are endowed by members of the society – their perverse conversion of our trust, making it a cloak for misdeeds – that disappoints and infuriates us.
This is why for all their former revolutionary, masses liberating triumphs former heroes like Robert Mugabe and Jean Bertrand Aristide will for many remain covered in ignominy.
It is why the BBC will forever, henceforth be regarded with suspicion by me.
Not that it was totally above suspicion before.
I am merely saying that now I am more inclined to look at stories it reports and other aspects of its programming – what it highlights or gives scant attention to - more skeptically.
Take the story it did on English multimillionaire Domino’s Pizza franchisee and Tory supporter Surinder Kandola in August 2007.
I was obliged to revisit that online story recently as I worked on my Employment Tribunal unfair dismissal claim against Surinder Kandola’s company DPGS Ltd, trading as Domino’s Pizza.
Not only was the BBC online story published weeks after similar stories by other media houses, it also treated Kandola more sympathetically (arguably), giving him the last word in its piece.
D’ Souza and Limbaugh may be viewed as treating information similarly, emphasizing what favours the point they are making.
Mitt Romney’s flip-flopping on issues smacks of the same opportunism, essentially.
As perhaps, does the main disappointment of President Obama’s tenure for me: his failure to address the illegality of marijuana.
The evangelical Christian magazine WORLD concluded the article which exposed D’ Souza’s curious ideas about marital propriety to public scrutiny with a prayer.
Providentially, I had prepared a prayer of my own as I reflected on his story. Here it is:
God of light, love, beauty and truth:
Help us to see that our interdependence as human beings means that abuse of another is a form of self-abuse.
Help us to feel the pain we cause others when we do them (and ourselves) ill.
Help us to better understand ourselves – so that we may rightly distinguish between the beautiful and the ugly in and around us.
Help us to know ourselves more fully.
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