Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cultural Alienation - the peculiar case of Dinesh D'Souza



Dinesh D'Souza is widely believed to be a racist and a soft bigot. I wish I did not have to say this, but the fact of the matter is there is no other way to portray him. 


 
Last year, he claimed that African-Americans are better off because their ancestors were 'hauled from Africa to America'. "Did America owe something to the slaves whose labor had been stolen?” - D'Souza asks in his book (America: Imagine a World Without Her).  The answer is yes, but “that debt ... is best discharged through memory", D'Souza opines, "Because the slaves are dead and their descendants are better off as a consequence of their ancestors being hauled from Africa to America.”  D'Souza argued that the problem with Africa is not that it was colonized, but rather that it was not colonized long enough.





He supports the European colonization of India and other countries, claiming that Christian colonization was a good thing for India because it was a way for Indians to escape the caste system, superstitions and poverty.





He also does not find any fault as to how the Native Americans (improperly called the American Indians) were treated in the USA. To him, "Indians have gotten a bad deal.” (You can read about this report by clicking here.)


 


D'Souza has argued that the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal was a result of "the sexual immodesty of liberal America". He further asserted that the conditions of prisoners at Abu Ghraib "are comparable to the accommodations in mid-level Middle Eastern hotels".





I wonder if he had ever visited and lived in any Middle Eastern country.


Naturally, with such provocative remarks, he's a darling to the loonies of the Murdoch Empire!





D'Souza reminds me somewhat of another misfit - V.S. Naipaul from the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. As you may know Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2001, which I consider to have been given wrongly. Although he came from a Third World kind of state, Trinidad, and was the grandson of indentured servants brought from India to work in Trinidad's sugar plantations, Naipaul tried to sound and behave like an arrogant, slimy racist and fascist. 





By the way, I am not alone in this harsh evaluation of the author. 


Naipaul's fiction and especially his travel writing have been criticized for their unsympathetic portrayal of the Third World. To quote Wikipedia, "The novelist Robert Harris has called his portrayal of Africa racist and "repulsive," reminiscent of Oswald Mosley's fascism. Edward Said argues that Naipaul "allowed himself quite consciously to be turned into a witness for the Western prosecution", promoting what Said classifies as "colonial mythologies about wogs and darkies". Said believes that Naipaul's worldview may be most salient in the author's book-length essay The Middle Passage, which Naipaul composed after returning to the Caribbean after ten years of exile in England, and the work An Area of Darkness. Naipaul has been accused of misogyny, and of committing acts of "chronic physical abuse" against his mistress of twenty-five years, Margaret Murray, who later publicly spoke out against his efforts to claim she "didn't mind" the abuse."





Naipaul had a very flawed character, frequenting prostitutes for sexual gratification although he was married then to Patricia who materially supported him for many years.





So, what about D'Souza? Dinesh is a Goanese Christian who was born in Bombay (now called Mumbai), India.  Like many immigrants who have settled in the USA, he is now a naturalized citizen after coming here as an exchange student. He has a B.A. in English from Dartmouth, and that is, nothing else. Yet, he is touted as a 'scholar' by the neocons! He is also a Christian apologetic and now a popular figure among the right wing Christian conservatives.


One would expect the conservative values to include honesty and family values. Unfortunately, D'Souza meets none of those important ingredients. He pleaded guilty last year to violating a federal campaign finance law after making illegal campaign contributions to Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long in 2012 and then providing false statements to the Federal Election Commission. 





D’Souza narrowly escaped prison, and instead was sentenced to five years of probation, a $30,000 fine, and eight months in a “community confinement center.” He continues to blame everyone but himself for his troubles. 


In recent years, we have seen so many of these filthy rich guys who hitherto had come from less than modest income families to become die-hard Republicans or supporters of the so-called neo-conservative causes once they became rich. Interestingly, many of them are utterly morally corrupt. They may preach family values but internally they have none. D'Souza exhibits similar hypocrisy.





Back in 2012 Dinesh D’Souza demonstrated his outspoken dedication to Family Values by sleeping with another woman while both he and the other woman were married. On October 18, 2012, after claims became public that he had stayed in a hotel with a new girlfriend though not yet divorced from his wife, D'Souza resigned his post at The King's College where he was named president.





Last year, according to Talking Points Memo, his ex-wife, Dixie, alleged in a letter sent to the federal court that heard his criminal case that "D’Souza was abusive, that he lied in his defense against the criminal charges, and implied D’Souza had manipulated the couple’s daughter into making positive public statements about him.”  





Dinesh although was married to Dixie for 20 years, he had maintained a premarital relationship with her for 6 years. In her September 22 letter (pdf), Dixie D’Souza wrote, "I was married to Dinesh D’Souza for more than 20 years and together with him for over 26 years. I know Dinesh better than anyone and can attest to his flawed character and lack of truthfulness. Please accept this letter as my effort to correct the record Dinesh created by his false and misleading submissions to the Court regarding me, the extent and nature of his criminal conduct, and my relationship with our daughter, Danielle D’Souza."





In the letter, she attested to what she called D’Souza’s “abusive nature”:


"It is my husband who has an abusive nature. In one instance, it was my husband who physically abused me in April 2012 when he, using purple belt karate skills, kicked me in the head and shoulder, knocking me to the ground and creating injuries that pain me to this day."





To quote Hrafnkell Haraldsson, writing for the PoliticusUSA, "Who knows how many lies and scandals an impassioned, hypocritical liar who has demonstrated absolutely no moral compass, can invent, not to mention how many mistresses he can bed, and women he can abuse, between now and election day? Nothing disabuses the world of Republican notions of ‘traditional family values’ like the story of Dinesh D’Souza, an exemplar of corruption, dishonesty, infidelity, and a complete denial of personal responsibility. And don’t forget the tinfoil hat. D’Souza isn’t contrite. He doesn’t apologize; he doesn’t ask for forgiveness."





When one hears D'Souza in conservative and anti-immigrant media outlets like the Fox News, one cannot but sense a clear symptom of cultural alienation in him, much like the other playboy Naipaul. I used the term 'alienation' and not 'assimilation' for him in the sociological sense, because that is what truly characterizes D'Souza. He is hostile to the very third world culture in which he was raised. 





Probably some explanation is necessary. D'Souza reminds me here of the crow in Aesop's story who did not like his feathers. "I wish I were a peacock!" he would say. One day, the self-hating crow found some of the peacock feathers laying on the ground and stuck the feathers into his wings and tail. He attached a few sticking up from his head.


"Now I am as beautiful as a peacock," he said.


But, when he went to join them in their strutting, the peacocks poked him and pecked him. What a fuss!


"You are not a peacock," they said, "Don't imitate us!"


Bruised and still dragging some broken peacock feathers in his tail, he returned home.


After all his insults, no one wanted his company!


As he sat alone, the other crows said, "It's foolish to try and be what you're not. Learn to love the feathers you've got!"



I wish D'Souza had learned to love 'the feathers' he grew up with and not imitate others. But with all the notoriety he is generating and the wealth he is amassing from his imitation, it may be a tall order for him to modify. [And that is a sad observation given the fact that most Goanese are descendants of enslaved people by the Magh-Portuguese pirates who devastated vast territories of southern Bengal and north-eastern India during the Mughal rule of India. While the Magh pirates put their victims to work as slave labors inside Arakan (today's Rakhine state of Myanmar), who became the ancestors of today's persecuted Rohingya people, the Portuguese pirates forced their victims to accept Christianity and settled most of them in Goa, where they had their fort.]




So what's next for D'Souza?






We are informed by anti-Muslim demagogue Brigitte Gabriel that she has future plans to work with disgraced conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. She has previously said “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim.” She has also suggested a practicing Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”





We’ll just have to “stay tuned” to see what these two conniving zealots will do!


 

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