"Elias Nebula is practicing Japanese but no one knows."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"They Say The King's Gone Mad."


I confess to the tribunal that I had been disturbed by all the vicious footage of Qadaffi's decline and fall. Not having stayed as close as perhaps I should have to the arab street or the revolutionary underground in Tripoli over the past forty years, I couldn't in good earnest summon enough righteous angst in support of the bloodthirsty masses of crowing tweeters and Youtube snuff posters. I say, I wasn't slavering and honking a klaxxon when I heard of how they had "scourged" the Colonel with a cattle prod &c. I really couldn't seem to get into the democratic moment and share in the joys of the Arab Spring. I felt like a terrible reactionary. That is, until I read the New Yorker piece about Qaddafi's last days and I was illuminated.

I was reading it while my wife overslept. I roused her with excerpts.

“You know what they called Qaddafi towards the end of his reign?" I asked her. "They called him ‘Abu Shafshufa,' which means ‘Old Frizzhead’. His problem hair was the subject of national mirth and satire.”

Nothing daunted I went on, “The truly amazing thing is that when he had fled his compound and the rebels broke in and sacked the place, alongside all the other outrageous luxuries there abounding they found a personal hairdressing salon. Can you believe it? A hair salon for Qaddafi! And still he looked like that. Whoever was doing his hair, he should have fired them.”

Finally my wife drowsily responded, with a woman’s patented insider knowledge of such things: “He was very vain, that’s why he looked that way.”

Only now did the penny drop for me. “What, do you mean you think he intended to look that way? And he thought it looked good? My God... the man was insane.”