Thursday, August 25, 2011

His Darling Condoleezza

Gaddafi apparently wasn't kidding when he said, a few years ago (of then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice):
“I support my darling black African woman,” he said. “I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders … Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. … I love her very much. I admire her and I’m proud of her because she’s a black woman of African origin.”
A news story today reports that he's been scrapbooking her photos. Eeesh.

On a serious note: if the description of admiring someone for "leaning back and giving orders" strikes you as bizarre, consider it in light of my suggestion a few days ago about tribal societies having very different values (also, have a look at the discussion currently going on in the comments beneath that article).


Ghalib Suleiman said...

Perhaps I should add this to the other thread, but as I alluded there, even in the Arab world Qaddafi's behaviour is seen as utterly bizarre. You'd be hard-pressed to find any sane person not cringing at such statements of his!

It's a mental issue local to him, not a cultural one.

Jim Leff said...

I should have taken time to draw the distinction more carefully. Yeah, he's a frothing madman, fer sure. And the whole Condoleezza thing isn't even half of it. I was just playing that part for laughs.

But that one single macho nugget struck me as cultural rather than mental. Am I off on that, do you think?

A segment of otherwise mild-mannered Americans would share his innate attraction to an image of brutal, commanding force (romantic issues aside). But not many. But in places where machismo prevails (and the Middle East is not the only such region, of course), I think it'd be more appealing. And in machismo places with a tribal culture (i.e. authority is the high rung on the primary societal ladder), I'd imagine it would be more attractive still (though by no means to everyone).

But if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. What do you think?

Ghalib Suleiman said...

As it is machismo that is prevailing, the qualities you allude to are considered most attractive on a man, and the exact opposite on a woman! Add to the fact that many Arabs are racist against blacks, and you end up with a most puzzled reaction towards what Qaddafi said.

No, I think the nugget you quoted has a simple explanation: one of Qaddafi's many deluded identities is one where he is the self-declared proud lion-like representative of Africa vs the Arabian idiots that lie to the east of his country. He was simply assuming that identity during the interview.

Jim Leff said...

But hold on. Again, leave aside the romantic element, which is clearly pure bonkerhood. Forget Condoleezza. Just take this one statement in and of itself under a magnifying glass (which was my intention):

"I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders"

Crazy or cultural?

That's not a rigged question. I really trust your perspective.

To me, it's downright alien. But then again, I dislike authority (having it, hewing to it, aspiring to it, etc).

Anonymous said...

Oh, hmm, I will have to admit ignorance on this one I'm afraid! I simply don't know.

Ghalib Suleiman said...

That last comment was from me, oops.

Jim Leff said...

Well, then I'll leave the posting as-is, because I certainly don't push very hard on the point.

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