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Fate Of A Misguided Scholar 1

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

Thus, Chinua Achebe, an antagonistic hero of the so-called Biafran Secession War, reminds the yechy unrecognized self-styled poet and writer, a bastardized ideological scion of The Brethren, writing:

“The fiction which imaginative literature offers us…does not enslave; it liberates the mind of man. Its truth is not like the canons of an orthodoxy or the irrationality of prejudice and superstition. It begins as an adventure in self-discovery and ends in wisdom and human conscience.”


Question: How dare he, Achebe? Everyone knows it for sure! It? About what? Moral, spiritual, and intellectual decadence in the body politic, The Country! Well, everyone is fully aware it is not beyond the bounds of decorum to acknowledge Achebe’s advisory agency as a timely gesture of agreeable community, for the yechy unrecognized self-styled poet and writer, so-called, stands intolerably short as a hopelessly irretrievable national disgrace in the pageantry of civilizational sentience. Everything he supposedly poetizes about emanates from his schizophrenic, scrappy persona. Yet he sees himself essentially a “scholar” in his self-contrived wasteland of deranged consciousness. As a matter of principle, the scholarly community lacks a critical scope of accommodation with regard to his shallow, shoddy scholarship, hence his euthanasic narcissism, hence his manic persona.


That kind of “scholar,” a fetishistic victim of penile atresia, is the bane of civilizational de-colonialism, the proverbial spoke in the wheel of intra-national coherence. Even of his own mental integrity. Importantly, his viscous relationship with citizens whose progressive sense of community is not in question usurps the aristocratic conscience of national discourse, whence comes Chinua Achebe’s intercessory wisdom. In consequence, the moral caliber of “the fiction,” Achebe’s phraseology, is all there is to it, no doubt, though it resists the textural candor of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”


Even of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Realpolitik. Doublespeak…The poetic realpolitik of the “scholar.” The poetic doublespeak of the “scholar.” Achebe said it in the nebulous archeology of Yesterday. In the substantial space-shuttle of Today. And in the nebulous time-warp of the Future. That the poetic realpolitik of the “scholar,” that the poetic doublespeak of the “scholar,” that he, the “scholar,” has no verifiable interest in the unity of The People, in the positive development of The Country. Stoking the embers of disunity, of ethnocentrism, of ethnic nationalism is his thing, his patriotic duty! In one sense, therefore, the phraseologic aesthetics of Achebe’s “the fiction” beggars his, Achebe’s, advisory largesse. Surprising? Not necessarily! In another sense, however, Achebe’s “the fiction” is the kind of national ethos whose cultural and philosophical actuation The Scarab Beetle had wanted to graft onto African Personality…Through The Scarab Beetle’s conscious replacement of old-fashioned colonialism with progressive instruments of de-colonialism, of poetic consciencism…Until The Brethren subverted it.


Oh, the Sisyphean weight of guilt will forever intrude upon The Brethren’s splintered conscience even as it denies them a scintilla of sleep in the agoraphobic graveyard of moral accountability. This is the kind of heavy moral burden those who hate men and women of conscience without justifiable grounds bear. The scorching guilt of immorality, of indiscretions! Maya Angelou actually recalls this physiologic-moral dilemma in “Insomniac”:


“There are some nights when sleep plays coy, aloof and disdainful. And all the wiles that I employ to win its service to my side are useless as wounded pride, and much more painful.”


Obviously a creative response to Maya Angelou’s physiologic-moral dilemma is The Voice, Achebe’s “the fiction.” Let the world be told in black and white that the yechy unrecognized self-appointed poet and writer, the dregs of human civilization, has neither natural intelligence nor artificial intelligence. Where is the whereabouts of the poet’s apperception? The Earth, a polluted earth. Oh, The Voice, O Great People of the World, of The Earth. Indeed, that ostensibly authoritatively nebulous-voice, The Voice, The Scarab Beetle’s, arguably, O Great People of the World, imbues the auctorial, cognitive ballpen-voice of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Teju Cole. Doreen Baingana. Taiye Selasi. NoViolet Bulawayo. Dinaw Mengestu. Helen Oyeyemi. Ogochukwu Promise (Founder of The Lumina Foundation). Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. Aminatta Forna. Véronique Tadjo. Antjie Krog. Ishmeal Beah. Sarah L. Manyika. Okey Ndibe. Mukoma wa Thiong’o. Nnedi Okarafor. Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani…literary disciples of Achebe’s “the fiction”:

…A set of literary dwarf-giants splattering their auctorial aureola on the world of creative literariness; a newfangled articulated-vehicle of authorial profundity, of literary dapperness! The fiction! With tonic ancestral wisdom from The Scarab Beetle. From afar. Asymptotically close to the philosophical ionosphere of moral truth! This new wave of African voice, The Voice, represents Africa’s moral conscience in the auctorial globality of rococo literary expressiveness! The fiction!


…A set of brilliant young women writers from the African world who have managed to push their art beyond the strangulating encirclement of Virginia Woolf’s “Professions for Women,” even breaking out of the glass-ceiling gloriole of social antifeminism!


Woolf writes in effect: “My profession is literature; and in that profession there are fewer experiences for women than in any other…” You say “A factual ancestral statement of yesteryear.” It seems. What of today? Again, Woolf writes poignantly of women’s social dilemma, their near-inescapable social entanglement in James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World,” another frank admission typical of the forlorn days of yesteryear. As of today. But is today really looking up? Woolf addresses the question, thus writing of the pariah woman of The Man’s World: “She was indeed in a state of the most acute and difficult distress. To speak without figure she had thought of something, something about the body, about the passions which it was unfitting for her as a woman to say. Men, her reason told her, would be shocked. The consciousness of what men will say of a woman who speaks the truth about her passions had roused her from her artist’s state of unconsciousness.”


Is that so? More like the pariah woman looking over her trembling shoulders in The Man’s World. Not surprising, eh? Here is another dialectic dilemma: The name “Virginia Woolf”! The state of “Virginia” itself identifies with one of the earliest historical records on formal institutionalization of slavery in the United States. And “Woolf”? Oh, could it be “wolf” instead, something to do with cruelty, greed, predation? If so, then, this wardrobe of facts may consign “Virginia Woolf” to an internecine location of etymological wonder. Virginia Woolf, her bipolar disorder, her suicide…Thus, “Virginia Woolf” may appear as a moral trope evocative of the streams of predicaments forced on the Chibok girls, Witch Camp girls and women, trokosi girls, Eastern Congolese women and girls…The curse of male chauvinism. Question: Is there a possibility that “Virginia” shares an explanatory space of etymological consanguinity with virgin, vagina, chastity? Does “Virginia” not mean a “Country of the Virgin”? Yet an etymological alloy of “Virginia” and “Woolf” indelibly points to situational predation of a woman’s virginity, a woman’s lotus, cornucopia…The lotus and Buddhism!


Certainly Woolf’s “she” and “women” are meaningfully if exchangeably the plot-contexts assumed by “the woman” and girl-child of Akua Dorkenoo’s “Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation: The Practice & Its Prevention.” Anowa of Ama Ata Aidoo’s “Anowa.” Pecola Breedlove of Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” Celie of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple.” Eulalie of Ama Ata Aidoo’s “The Dilemma of a Ghost.” Sethe and Beloved of Toni Morrison’s “Beloved.” The Caged Bird of Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Esi’s and Opokuya’s Ama Ata Aidoo’s “Changes: A Love Story”…Actually, Woolf’s typical professional expectations of a woman, any woman, all women, is in the vein of Waris Dirie’s “Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad”…Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s…The fiction!


Oh yes, of course, O Great People of the World, Virginia Woolf’s pointedly descriptive preoccupation has everything to do with social mishandling of women, nature’s virginity; of Maya Angelou’s Caged Bird, herself, in the epochal yesteryear of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”…Male chauvinism, Rowling’s Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord! It is, however, acknowledgedly worrying to see the shambolic autocracy of male chauvinism deny the social, political, and economic benefits of J.K. Rowling’s Slytherin House, a house of opportunities, of equality, to The Caged Bird in the not-too-distant past. It is no wonder Woolf’s “the consciousness of what men will say of a woman” is understandably untypical, even undescriptive according to the moral conscience of ethno-animal humanity, of The Scarab Beetle, who, among his notable string of achievements, worked tirelessly to reverse the plight of women, of the girl-child.


Oh, lest we forget, what does Chinweizu’s “Anatomy of Female Power” got to say about the relational dynamics of sexism? Is that even a necessary query? Let us put Chinweizu and his “Anatomy of Female Power” aside! Why does the brave “woman” of Bob Marley’s “She’s Gone” refuse to be a prisoner held in the Military-Industrial Complex of Male Chauvinism? Likewise, Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” is as confident and self-reliant as Bob Marley’s brave “woman.” This is poignantly of today, not of Woolf’s yesteryear, of course. Thus, Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” intones rhapsodically: “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I‘m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size. But when I start to tell them, they think I’m telling lies…”

The fiction. The Novel. And here goes the angelic, godly voice of Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”: “I say, it’s in the reach of my arms; the span of my hips; the stride of my step; the curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me. I walk into a room just as cool as you please; And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swam around me. A hive of honey bees. I say, It’s the fire in my eyes; And the flash of my teeth; The swing in the waist; And the joy in my feet…Men have wondered what they see in me. They try so much; But they can’t touch my inner mystery; When I try to show them; they say they still can’t see. I say, It’s in the arch of my back; the sun of my smile; the ride of my breasts; The grace of my style; I am a woman…” A woman’s “inner mystery”? What is it? It is exactly what the sick “scholar” lacks! The sick “scholar” lacks the magnetic power of Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman,” her majestic gait, her graceful carriage, her appealing sociality, hence his manic-depression, hence his asocial predilections!


Yet the one perennial question The People of the World have asked ethno-animal men and women of conscience is: How did The Scarab Beetle come to possess his envious enlightened personality? The fiction, the answer! In what regard? Achebe’s “the fiction” perfuses the progressive rind of The Scarab Beetle. The fiction, the lotus of Buddhism. As well, the intellectual revenant of The Scarab Beetle, an intersection of, a bridge between, if you like, spirituality and science, is another essential variable holding up in the characterological if equational formation of The Scarab Beetle. The truth, scientifism and spiritualism. The fiction. What else? For great insights at the moral crossroads of science and spirituality, O Great People of the World, look no further than the intellectual contours of the Dalai Lama, his “The Universe in One Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality.”


The fiction…The truth…Intersection of science and spirituality…Progressive nature…Inner Mystery of Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman…The Scarab Beetle.


Again. The fiction. Before long Virginia Woolf’s “Professions for Women” variously resolves into a revolving rhythmic metempsychosis of…a literary revenant of The Scarab Beetle’s “Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah.” Of Wole Soyinka’s “The Man Died: Prison Notes.” Of Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s “Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary.” Of Kofi Awoonor’s “The House by the Sea”…The Country’s great prison memoirs; great symbols of human liberation! Of Chinua Achebe’s “There Was a Country.” Of J.M. Coetzee’s “In the Heart of the Country.” Where is the noble place of Nadine Gordimer’s “Burgher’s Daughter” in the great pantheon of creative literaryism? Right there, in Biafra’s “There was a Country,” Apartheid South Africa, South Sudan, Boko Haram’s Northern Nigeria, Al-Shabab’s Somalia, Northern Ghana’s Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis, right down here!


Then, O Great People of the World, where are Virginia Woolf’s invisibly ostracized women now that Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” has a colorful voice of political representation, of social presence, in the corridors of power? “God bless the Women,” says Lucky Dube!


Hopefully Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” summons Tope Folarin’s Caine Prize-winning short story “Miracle,” with both coming across as iconographic echoes of “the fiction.” Miracle, the where? Anyway, is the “inner mystery” of Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” not conflated with the “scholar’s” intellectual and characterological timidity in the magical obscurity of Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”? Still, it turns out only Molefi Kete Asante’s “As I Run Toward Africa” and Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom” allow them, Virginia Woolf’s invisibly ostracized women, authentic freedoms of social maneuverability, of professional motility; that authentic definition of women’s liberation. The Scarab Beetle and women liberation! Yet the ideological marriage between the filthy male-kayayoo “scholar,” the so-called yechy unrecognized self-styled poet and writer, and The Brethren, O Great People of the World, clearly makes for moral negation of progressiveness.


Question: Where is the locational compass of nostalgic urgency to accelerate the consummation of the unfinished business which The Scarab Beetle initiated, as Okwiri Oduor’s Caine Prize-winning “My Father’s Head” seems to imply…memory and loss?

Possible Answer: The Fiction.


Maybe a war of moral conscientization. Maybe the truth. Maybe “the fiction.” Maybe consciencism. Maybe categorical conversion…Maybe the presence of the absence of political lies, of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” of realpolitik, of doublespeak. And who says there are no literary parallels between Chris Abani’s “Masters of the Board” and “Sirocco” on the one hand and Dennis Brutus’ “Poetry and Protest” on the other hand? There are. Many. Of course. The fiction, the antithesis of the yechy unrecognized self-styled poet and writer; of the “scholar”; of The Brethren. The Novel. Science…Slavery…Colonialism…The Avoidance of Discrimination Act…One-Party Democracy. Organization of African Unity...Ubuntu…African Union…African Personality…Oneness…The Gold Coast…Ghana…Africa…The World…The Universe…


Tropes of collective joy, of collective self-consciousness…Progressive imageries of togetherness…The Dalai Lama…Agreeable community of science and spirituality…The Scarab Beetle…Spirituality.


The fiction. Oh yes, let “the fiction” wage its war of moral conscientization on the “scholar,” yechy unrecognized self-styled poet and writer, so-called, who mistakes a receding mirage for an approaching self-definition, a poisoned Atlantic ocean for a decent cup of potable water. Let Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” ceaselessly impose its sledgehammer of psychological war of attrition on the diseased psychology of the “scholar,” given his and The Brethren’s scorching distaste for the Avoidance of Discrimination Act, namely, Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers”; namely, The Scarab Beetle, a uniter of opposites, a compromising bridge between seemingly irreconcilable contradictions, a de-polarizing cultural agency of ethno-animal human misconsciousness…


No question. You may want to see it, “the fiction,” as Wilson Harris’ brand of quantum fiction if you so much as desire to label it as such. No debate!


Well, O Great People of the World, how great is The Voice, the “Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize (For Creative Work),” an award named after Ama Ata Aidoo and Margaret Snyder? Margaret Snyder, an American social scientist and founding director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)! The Lumina Foundation’s “Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa”! African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award! Transition Magazine! Kwani?! The United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize? All because “the fiction”…The Novel…The Scarab Beetle made these memorable things happen. For real! That is why The People say “good name” is everything, you know! Mystery itself is of “good name,” the mystery of Life, of Death! The inner mystery of womanhood is of “good name” as well.


What is next for the mentally challenged who sees himself as a sick “genius”? Realpolitik. Doublespeak. Simple. The textural personality of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “Animal Farm” are intertwined with the “scholar’s” misaligned infrastructural characterology! How so? The “scholar” is not of “good name,” on the contrary. The shame of helplessness, the “scholar,” the so-called yechy unrecognized self-styled poet and writer! The Brethren…The prideful cloudiness of hopefulness, “the fiction,” The Novel, The Scarab Beetle...The “scholar” and The Brethren, a moral and phenomenological friction sandwiched between the receding shadowiness of Life and the approaching concreteness of Death; which is Somali Mahmood Gaildon’s “The Yibir of Las Burghabo,” possibly, O Great People of the World, an exegetical play of textual variation on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The “scholar,” an Uncle Tom locked up in a cuckoo’s nest of his own making

Yet again, “the fiction” is an irrefutable response to the “scholar’s” mental misalignment. And who says The Scarab Beetle’s signal contributions to human civilization did not make it all possible, all happen? Human possibilities. Creative possibilities. Intellectual possibilities. Cultural possibilities. Political possibilities…And what have you! Chris Abani, Wole Soyinka’s literary atavism. Alain Mabanckou. Segun Afolabi. Uzodinma Iweala. Binyavanga Wainaina. Monica Arac de Nyeko. Olufemi Terry. Tope Folarin. Brian Chikwava. Owen Akpan. E.C. Osondu. Waris Dirie. Mary Watson. Mamle Kabu. Unoma Azuah. Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. Henrietta Rose-Innes. Helon Habila. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Rotimi Babatunde…This boulevard of creative men and women is the new advertorial face of African literature, “the fiction,” The Novel, the moral antithesis of the “scholar”! Yet that baroque “face” of literariness, of quaintly charm, equally belongs to the trailblazing intellectual and political footpath of The Scarab Beetle! As it were.


The Novel. The fiction. O Great People of the World, this wide spectrum of ornate literary innovators now replace the old-face authorial erudition of yesteryear. Mainly those of Ama Ata Aidoo. Of John G. Whittier. Of Wole Soyinka. Of Alfred L. Tennyson. Of Chinua Achebe. Of Francis A. Irele. Of Henry D. Thoreau. Of Toni Morrison. Of Henry James. Of Mariamba Bã. Of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Of Rudyard Kipling. Of Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Of Sindiwa Magona. Of Wilson Harris. Of Henry R. Haggard. Of Martin Carter. Of Nadine Gordimer. Of Robert L. Stevenson. Of Nuruddin Farah. Of Nawal El Saadawi. Of Gustave Flaubert. Of Jane Austen. Of Alice Walker. Of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Of W.E.B. Du Bois. Of Wangui wa Goro. Of Emily and Charlotte Bronte. Of Karl Marx…The greatest writers of all time! The Scarab Beetle!


In the end, that productive, influential new face of global African literariness, Chinua Achebe’s “the fiction,” belongs to Bob Marley’s brave “woman,” Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman,” The Scarab Beetle’s “Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization,” his categorical conversion…The sick “scholar,” a poetic nonentity and novelistic outlier, belongs to the nonsensical sanatorium of his torpedo-head. Or, The Country and The People must force him to commit suicide as Achebe’s Okonkwo did if he wants to circumvent the abject failure of his sick head. Or, The Country and The People may force Michael Foucault’s critical study “Madness and Civilization” to examine his non-productive sick head, his well-known insanity in the age of reason.


The “scholar,” that “absurd man” of Albert Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus,” needs psychiatric salvation. The “scholar,” the titular evil of Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil” needs help. Is Nietzsche’s God, like the “scholar’s” sick mind, actually dead? Could the scholar’s” mental sickness have resulted from “situational predation of a woman’s virginity, a woman’s lotus, cornucopia”? Is there a marked phenomenological conflict between “the lotus” and Buddhism? In fine, the sick mind of the “scholar” sings: “Science in its true condition of wonder is as religious as any religion. But didactic science is dead and boring as dogmatic religion. Both are wonderless and productive of boredom, endless boredom…Heaven is one of the instinctive dreams. Right and wrong is something you can’t dogmatize about; it’s not so easy. As for my soul, I simply don’t and never did understand how I ‘save’ it. One can save one’s pennies. But how can one save one’s soul? One can only live one’s soul.”


Yes, the sick “scholar” acknowledgedly diagnoses his condition as hopelessly irredeemable! Say what, D.H. Lwarence’s “Hymns in a Man’s Life”!


We shall return…

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis