He was less than half his age today when the man who would be awarded the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature confessed: “Once I thought love of country was enough. Now, even if I chose, there’s no room at the trough. I watch the best minds root like dogs for scraps of favor.” Last week Walcott’s doggie minds, at any rate, a current presumptive leader of the pack, found himself irresistibly attracted to what only blinding arrogance and an insuppressible need to impress could’ve led him to perceive as easy meat: my posterior. Which reminds me of the late Eugene McCarthy. While campaigning for President in 1968 the Senator from Massachusetts had underscored for the benefit of Norman Mailer, author of Some Honorable Men: Political Conventions 1960-1972, “the little difference between cattle and pigs that Lyndon [Johnson] has never understood.”
Said the senator in campaign mode: “You see, Norman, he thinks politicians are cattle, whereas in fact politicians are pigs. To get cattle started, you make just a little noise, and then you keep driving them with more and more and more noise. But pigs are different. You have to start pigs running with a great deal of noise. In fact the best way to start them is by reciting Latin. Very loudly. That’ll start them running. Then you have to quiet your voice, bit by bit, and they’ll keep moving.”
That was hardly the end of McCarthy’s pig tales. “It’s a funny thing about pigs,” he went on. “They have an odd way of keeping warm in the winter if they find themselves outside. You see, pigs don’t know when they’re cold, provided their nose is warm. So they stand around in a circle with their nose between the hind legs of the pig in front of them. Wouldn’t you call that a curious relationship, Norman?”
And the prize-winning author replied: “Oh, Senator, I would call that a Satanic relationship!”
Insatiable mongrels rooting at the trough for scraps of favor; grunting pigs with snouts up each other’s rectums—such were the inspired images that crowded my thoughts as I perused a blog delivered overnight to my cell phone by an insomniac acquaintance with nothing better to do in the early hours of a Sunday morning.
I imagined him at a certain Bois Patat watering hole, surrounded by his guilt-ridden posse, their bat brains drowning in ill-gotten Grey Goose, squealing with irrational exuberance as they whatsapped to me what doubtless they considered on par with the best of Earl Bousquet—therefore, deserving of Kenny gold. Of course that did not mean the composer considered his work worthy of his signature. In any event his abecedarian vocabulary betrayed him as a one-trick phony.
In early 1998, when already I had demonstrated my determination never to sacrifice my journalistic soul on the mephitic altar of party loyalty, he had submitted for publication in the STAR a puff piece dedicated to his leader’s genius.
The recalled article (as it turned out, edited and judged “wonderful” by no less than the day’s education minister Mario Michel) opened with fulsome praise dressed up to resemble hosannas. Alas, the scribbler’s previous contributions to this newspaper had already established his ability to separate literary wheat from typed chaff.
As I say, the unsolicited piece started out as a paean to my “indisputable talent as a writer” then quickly segued to my “unstructured learning,” by which he meant to say (he later gleefully informed me) I had not had the benefit of the UWI tutoring that produced Philip J. Pierre and Vaughan Lewis, not to mention his own mentors Mario Michel and Kenny Anthony. Of course he never missed an opportunity to declare himself a fellow imbiber at the famous fount of wisdom!
Nearly twenty years later, as if further to prove the resilience of bad habits, this is how the late-night blogger started his screed: “How can a mature, world-renowned journalist, writer and publisher, and who was also Mr. World, Mr. Universe, Mr. Europe and Mr. America display so much venom and immaturity on a TV screen? Why should he tell a lie and tell that he didn’t lie?”
Surely there would’ve been more to gain from questioning how his adored fellow imbiber at the UWI font could’ve accused Sarah Flood-Beaubrun of misleading the House just prior to the 2006 general elections, after she had mocked his famous “give the people a break for Christmas” appeal to the unconscionable rampant criminals in his constituency.
In response the day’s prime minister had angrily declared Flood-Beaubrun’s barb a false creation by the opposition and the media that could be put right only by an immediate apology from his needler. Several weeks later a telltale video surfaced on TV that clearly established who had been on the remembered occasion a manufacturer of falsehoods.
It may also have served to ask how a self-advertising UWI lecturer on constitutional law could on at least three occasions have enacted legislation later proved unconstitutional. Then there was Rochamel; Frenwell; Grynberg; Chagoury—not to mention the recent uncovering of several befuddling previously secret official appointments—all vital questions begging to be answered.
Undeniable facts versus value judgments that reside close to non sequiturs hardly amount to a contest. They serve only to remind of Eugene McCarthy’s pig-politicians. Make some loud and consistent noises about those who feed them under the table, and off they’ll go, panic-stricken, running this way and that, all the while spewing nonstop pig-politician gobbledygook. My own particular noises that have panicked the rooting pig-dogs at the local trough centered on my documented revelations about a certain internationally notorious Saudi moneybags and his equally well-heeled buddies, most of them official declared Saint Lucian nationals with diplomatic passports.
The noisy question that set the pig-politicians running for cover: “How did these Arabs acquire Saint Lucian passports and nationality three years ago when our government only opened its citizenship-for-sale market on January 1, 2016?”
Somewhere in his rum-soaked dispatch my late-night blogger referred to me as the “Merchant of Venice turned Merchant of Anger.” What to do with such madhouse literary allusions? At what point in Shakespeare’s comedy does the Merchant of Venice metamorphose from Mr. Nice Guy into Mr. Bitter Cum Angry? And anyway, what is the issue here? My alleged anger without cause—or the disturbing question marks over the born-again Saint Lucian-Arabs?
Consider this other bucket of swill, courtesy our pretend litterateur: “Like Tantalus, he keeps reaching out for it; but the more he does so, the more the pound of flesh eludes him.” Where in the myth is Tantalus synonymous with elusive flesh, whether or not by the pound? Perchance you care, dear reader, Greek mythology (pig-politicians have absolutely no use for verifiable reality!) Tantalus was a Greek king so full of hubris he imagined himself capable of fooling even the gods. (Anyone come to mind? Think election-time ID cards! Think Grynberg!)
Tantalus was killed by his own god-father, Zeus. I can only surmise that in pig-lit I am the progeny of a certain self-appointed murderous god that needs no introduction, so well known is his intolerance of challengers and unbending owners of their own minds.
Incorrigibly bent on flaunting his UWI credentials, our mythologist blogger engages in catch-as-catch-can with the mind of Carl Jung. He even takes time to inform his readers that Jung was “a well-known Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who established analytical psychology” blah-blah-blah—yes, a little bit like CNN interrupting its coverage of Nancy Reagan’s funeral with the breaking news that Elvis and Michael Jackson were rock idols. Our UWI-manufactured gem even advised on the correct pronunciation of the “well known” Swiss psychiatrist’s name. Yes, seriously!
Dear incredulous reader, you may be tempted to seek some sense in all of this quoted rubbish. Do your best to resist. By now it should be clear we are dealing with a fool who knows not he is a fool. And narcissistic beyond measure!
Equally true is that for most residents on this Rock of Sages official accountability tantamounts to water from the moon—an impossible dream.
Let us now consider our final paw print lifted from the suspect writer’s blog: “Rick may be proud that he has a universe of facts in his arsenal (including facts related to the aforementioned ‘100% Saint Lucian’-Arabs!) but the observation that he remains largely unstructured lends support to the suggestion that he has not pursued knowledge growth in his vast universe of concentration.” (Emphasis mine]
Almost buried in the mush is that revealing favorite word that strips naked our would-be Mr. Anonymous. And the earlier encountered word is “unstructured.” Evidently, Rick is not the only one who “has not pursued growth in his vast universe of concentration.”
Or is our blathering butcherer of Shakespeare and mythology more proof that those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad?