Monday, July 18, 2005

A Man for all Seasons

Once upon a time in the antique land of Egypt:

There was a wily climber,
ardent and ambitious was he.
Obsessed with fame and power,
he craved nothing but power's propinquity.

He used to be a leftist,
a 'communist', whispered he.
But when he got a beating,
he sought refuge in the PhD.

No one knows what he wrote on,
who cares about such particulars?
What matters is to coax and flatter,
and pen the ruler's circulars.

In the 1980s he became a nationalist,
in the 1990s a "liberal" free marketeer.
Whatever could secure him,
the coveted title of press vizier.

When the dauphin happened on the scene,
with his modern "scientific" plans,
our good doktor covetous
led the pack of ardent and obliging fans.

He traveled with the troupe,
to nations far and wide.
Singing the praises of the dauphin,
and refining his stale bromides.

He mouthed and he scribbled
utter palaver with amazing alacrity.
Ambiguous words and vague notions,
to preserve a halo of deniability.

His favourite concept of political culture,
he wrapped in layers of mystification.
Then he touted it like a talisman,
an all-purpose totem of divination.

But troublous winds stirred,
the ship of state was set a-rockin'.
The dauphin's project teetered and swayed,
as democracy's gales came a-knockin'.

Our good doktor analyst,
surmised carefully and weighed the matter.
Jumping ship would be an apt move,
before the bow or stern shattered.

So a new story was spun,
complete with props and new raiment.
And our good doktor strategist,
morphed miraculously into a dissident.

A courageous insider stung by his honesty,
a scrupulous democratic theorist.
A critic all along, you see,
of political power gone personalist.

I sit on the edge of my seat, gentle readers,
consumed by anticipation.
Awaiting the next sauve qui peut defection,
dressed up as thoughtful dissension.