September 21, 2006

Something of a buffoon

A few lines about a certain politician whom I'll call "X":
    X's antics have inspired considerable confusion. Among the ... upper classes ... there has long been a tendency to dismiss him as something of a buffoon, an uneducated provincial lacking in self-control and basic manners.

    [An outside observer has] discouraged searching for significance in X's bombastic, sometimes bizarre, public appearances. "Watch what X does, not what he says," [the observer] declared.

    But X is not just a clown ... He is a deliberate strategic thinker -- ham-fisted at times, but also capable of tactical brilliance.
Questions:

1) Who does this put in your mind?

2) Who is X?

3) Are the answers to questions 1 and 2 the same person?

4) Where are these lines from? (Usual: no Google).

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Easy - Laloo Prasad, surely.

best,

Ravi

Pankaj said...

Speaking of buffoons, maybe the first part of the description could just as well apply to the advertised occupant (AO) of the coffin in that procession ;)

Ok I googled.

Yes, the first part only. But not the last line definitely. No tactical brilliance in the coffin's AO. While on the AO, a personality who seems moronic, but who has immense power at his disposal, is in a belligerent mood, and is now desperate at being hounded by an increasing number of his own people, this is a very, very bad, very sad, very dangerous shortcoming.

Coming back to the subject of your post, I remember Ramchandra Guha's observation in his essay "An anthropologist among the marxists", that in most Indians there is a Gandhian and a Marxist existing side by side. That second resident in me roots for the subject of your post and hopes that he turns out to be more than just an impresario. That he, unlike his dogmatic predeccessors of another era in other countries, can adapt the dogmas of his philosophy and the wealth of natural resources in his land for the good of his people and his region.

Some more multipolarity in the world would be nice, now that we have seen what unipolarity brings.

Pankaj Nikhil Jai Lalita said...

d-clobbered seems to have turned censorfreak again. ta ta, bye bye, cheerio.

kuffir said...

your obsession with personalities..

he called himself hanuman and said he practised brahmacharya..but had a neglected wife and children. he lost several times to the family but never gave up..until he defeated its most autocratic member. and eventually ditched the leader of his party to join a splinter group led by a person he professed hatred for earlier..but now called him his ram. and formed a govt supported by the autocrat.
he was a lohiate too.

who was the politician who defeated the other member of the family?

Sunil said...

laloo......for sure.

B said...

I was tempted to say George Bush, but a deliberate strategic thinker? no.
Second choice: Amar Singh, but maybe not the self control part.
If it was a she, it could have been Uma Bharati.

In short, we are not short of interesting characters.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Pankaj, I'm lost! Who do you mean by AO? Your riddle seems harder than mine!

Kuffir, I'm guessing Shankar Singh Vaghela?

Sunil, B, Ravi: not Laloo, not Uma B, not Amar Singh, not GDubyaB.

Well, I'll say this, Laloo was my answer to question #1.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Pankaj, sorry, what I meant was, I think I know who you mean by AO, but what coffin in what procession?

Pankaj said...

Answers
1/2/3. Hugo Chavez
4. See http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200605/chavez

Coffin and its (AO) advertised occupant - see the second para of the article at the above link.

For Chavez'latest rusticana on the coffin's AO, read this morning's paper:
http://www.hindu.com/2006/09/21/stories/2006092117931600.htm

Pankaj said...

As the Atlantic article goes on to say, the person who made the comments posted by you was the US Ambassador to Venezeula.

Quote:

"Chávez’s antics have inspired considerable confusion. Among the Venezuelan upper classes and opposition, there has long been a tendency to dismiss him as something of a buffoon, an uneducated provincial lacking in self-control and basic manners. Washington, for a time, adopted a variation of this dismissive line. The U.S. ambassador to Venezuela during the Clinton era, John Maisto, discouraged searching for significance in Chávez’s bombastic, sometimes bizarre, public appearances. “Watch what Chávez does, not what he says,” Maisto declared.

But Chávez is not just a clown with some oil money in his pocket. He is a deliberate strategic thinker—ham-fisted at times, but also capable of tactical brilliance. "

End quote.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Sorry Pankaj, I didn't realize you were quoting from the Atlantic article itself -- thought you were seeing something in my little extract iself, and I was baffled ... never mind.

Yeah, Chavez. But I put this up because it so reminded me of Laloo, a man dismissed in similar ways.

I had some problems with the article, incidentally.

kuffir said...

the major portion of my comment was about raj narain..

the question was about another politician - ravindra pratap singh, an ex-dacoit, some said, who defeated sanjay gandhi in '77.

your answer vaghela also seems vaguely right..see, personalities aren't really different..

B said...

The first thing that occured to me after seeing the UN video was that the description here fit Chavez well. I didnt feel like mentioning it only out of respect for his UN act. On the other hand, his devil was no different. G Bus fits the buffoon part well except for the thinker etc.

Sidhusaaheb said...

In the case of Laloo, he made a good decision to let competent people run railways.

Whether that can be termed as 'strategic thinking' or not, I am not sure...

I agree that he does a lot of 'strategic thinking' in terms of politicking and ensuring the desired outcome for the fodder-scam related court cases though.

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