Bamboozled: Two Recent Biographies Shed New Light on Mahatma Gandhi and Malcolm X

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 09, 2011 5:19 PM GMT
    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/bamboozled-two-recent-biographies-shed-new-light-on-liberal-icons/

    Did you hear that ripping sound? Two liberal icons known by their silly stage names — Mahatma Gandhi and Malcolm X — have just been torn down from their sanctified perches thanks to a pair of massively researched but finally damning new biographies.

    Both men, it turns out, were at pains to take on phony identities. Each hid his homosexuality, each was racist, each took pains to manufacture favorable coverage, each was driven by petty hatreds instead of shining ideals — each of these supposedly principled figures was an out-and-out phony.

    Perhaps the most delicious irony of this myth-busting is that writers with impeccable liberal credentials are the ones who are doing the exposing — and implicitly rebuking the generations of journalists who actively participated in the distortion and exaggeration.


    A lot more at the link - though mind you, it's a libertarian leaning site, but the bios are not written by conservatives - quite the opposite.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 12:34 AM GMT
    First, I don't think that anyone could describe Malcolm X as "liberal" (though the meaning of that description is quite different depending on where you live). And I don't see how him being racist (or prejudiced rather, depending on your definition of racism) should be seen as some great revelation as this is made quite clear in his own autobiography published decades ago. He doesn't like white people (considering US history I find this very understandable), he is an antisemite (not acceptable but shared by the majority of people of his generation, black or white), he has some severe misogynist tendecies (also no acceptable but again, he is a child of his age). Overall I do find him a bit of a hypocrite but I still consider him an important figure in the struggle towards racial equality.

    I'm not sure where you're going with the homosexuality bit, whether or not they were homosexual (which I rather doubt - having an attraction to other men =/= homosexuality, there is such a thing as bisexuality) they both lived in eras where being openly homosexual would be either extremely difficult to the point where no one would listen to what they said, or literally lethal.

    As for phony identities - do you honestly believe that any public figure today or in the past shows his or her true self to the public? Leaders choose what parts of themselves they show to the public in order to further their political agendas. Thinking otherwise is extremely naive and it doesn't make the people in question evil or wrong, just pragmatic.

    Ghandi helped bring the world's greatest empire and oppressive force to its knees. Malcolm X may have been a wanker but he fought for his people and their rights. No, neither one of them were perfect, they both had faults, some of them massive, but you know what? Life isn't a fairy tale or a Hollywood movie. There is no such thing as a flawless hero. And just because someone is not flawless doesn't mean they're not a hero.

    I still don't see what the "delicious irony" is here.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 12:53 AM GMT
    The 'bloggers name is John Boot.

    John Boot is the pen name of a conservative writer operating under deep cover in the liberal media.


    icon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gif

    I smell alot of subversive bias.
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    May 10, 2011 1:01 AM GMT
    Lorac saidFirst, I don't think that anyone could describe Malcolm X as "liberal" (though the meaning of that description is quite different depending on where you live). And I don't see how him being racist (or prejudiced rather, depending on your definition of racism) should be seen as some great revelation as this is made quite clear in his own autobiography published decades ago. He doesn't like white people (considering US history I find this very understandable), he is an antisemite (not acceptable but shared by the majority of people of his generation, black or white), he has some severe misogynist tendecies (also no acceptable but again, he is a child of his age). Overall I do find him a bit of a hypocrite but I still consider him an important figure in the struggle towards racial equality.

    I'm not sure where you're going with the homosexuality bit, whether or not they were homosexual (which I rather doubt - having an attraction to other men =/= homosexuality, there is such a thing as bisexuality) they both lived in eras where being openly homosexual would be either extremely difficult to the point where no one would listen to what they said, or literally lethal.

    As for phony identities - do you honestly believe that any public figure today or in the past shows his or her true self to the public? Leaders choose what parts of themselves they show to the public in order to further their political agendas. Thinking otherwise is extremely naive and it doesn't make the people in question evil or wrong, just pragmatic.

    Ghandi helped bring the world's greatest empire and oppressive force to its knees. Malcolm X may have been a wanker but he fought for his people and their rights. No, neither one of them were perfect, they both had faults, some of them massive, but you know what? Life isn't a fairy tale or a Hollywood movie. There is no such thing as a flawless hero. And just because someone is not flawless doesn't mean they're not a hero.

    I still don't see what the "delicious irony" is here.


    I agree. I think the author of the blog is petty and childish.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 1:30 AM GMT
    ridderler78, you've posted pure crap, to promote a Right-Wing agenda.

    First, Malcolm X isn't a Liberal icon. I didn't like him in the 1960s, and I don't like him now. Don't assign this oddball to the Liberals. Who said he's a Liberal?

    Gandhi is a saint. He went by several names, which were terms of endearment used by those around him, an Indian custom. He didn't adopt "stage names" himself. Why be insulting and call him silly?

    I don't even think of Gandhi as Liberal, or anything -- he's just Gandhi, a remarkable person. Why do you have this Liberal obsession?

    You need to learn a little more history before you post this stuff. I rather think it is you who's silly, or maybe just stupid, when you make the comments you did in the OP here. And perhaps about a billion people are offended that you insulted Mahatma Gandhi, who's not a Liberal icon, but a world icon.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 2:50 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidYou need to learn a little more history before you post this stuff. I rather think it is you who's silly, or maybe just stupid, when you make the comments you did in the OP here. And perhaps about a billion people are offended that you insulted Mahatma Gandhi, who's not a Liberal icon, but a world icon.


    You might be credible if you chose to post anything that resembled content. Are you claiming that the Gandhi biography is untrue?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 3:00 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Art_Deco saidYou need to learn a little more history before you post this stuff. I rather think it is you who's silly, or maybe just stupid, when you make the comments you did in the OP here. And perhaps about a billion people are offended that you insulted Mahatma Gandhi, who's not a Liberal icon, but a world icon.


    You might be credible if you chose to post anything that resembled content. Are you claiming that the Gandhi biography is untrue?

    This is a hatchet job -- as soon as I read "phony identities" and "silly stage names" I knew nothing that follows has any value.

    And you buy into this stuff? No doubt you also think aliens crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, and that Elvis is still alive. When you have something of value please get back to us.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 3:16 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    riddler78 said
    Art_Deco saidYou need to learn a little more history before you post this stuff. I rather think it is you who's silly, or maybe just stupid, when you make the comments you did in the OP here. And perhaps about a billion people are offended that you insulted Mahatma Gandhi, who's not a Liberal icon, but a world icon.


    You might be credible if you chose to post anything that resembled content. Are you claiming that the Gandhi biography is untrue?

    This is a hatchet job -- as soon as I read "phony identities" and "silly stage names" I knew nothing that follows has any value.

    And you buy into this stuff? No doubt you also think aliens crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, and that Elvis is still alive. When you have something of value please get back to us.


    That's ironic coming from you - even more so considering what little you seem to know of either of these people yourself. I personally don't know enough about either Malcolm X or Gandhi (and don't really know or care whether or not either were liberal though it's quite clear many liberals idolize both) but based on a quick google, a few quotes:
    - "I desire to end capitalism, almost, if not quite, as much as the most advanced Socialist or even Communist. But our methods differ, our languages differ"
    - "Economic equality of my conception does not mean that everyone would literally have the same amount. It simply means that everybody should have enough for his or her needs"

    That being said, as noted, the biographies were not written by conservatives or those who are differ ideologically from either of these men. I guess you missed that part.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 5:28 PM GMT
    Yes this biography (Mahatma Gandhi's) was quite the hot topic in India a few weeks ago. The author took pains to point out that:
    "It the book does not say Gandhi was bisexual. It does not say that he was homosexual. It does not say that he was a racist. The word bisexual never appears in the book and the word racist only appears once in a very limited context; relating to a single phrase and not to Gandhi's whole set attitudes or history in South Africa. I didn't say these things, So I can hardly defend them."

    For the sake of convenience, I've pasted his quote which is available on Wikipedia. A lot of Indian newspapers covered this controversy- from the 'alleged' allegations made in the book, to the biographer's defence and the politicians' call for a ban on this book.

    I don't get the point of the OP's last line though. Bios written by non- conservatives. So what? What is the implication here? There is no way that one would agree with or like everything about a globally respected personage.

    Also, at the risk of sounding like an Indian Supremacist, I'd like to point out that Gandhi tried to operate (with considerable success) outside the political and philosophical ideologies of the WEST. I think it's evident from the two quotes posted by riddler78. For anyone interested, feel free to check Ashis Nandy's essay titled 'The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism'.

    Exactly what part of his ideology do non-conservatives share? Was he a great man. Yes. Was he a homophobic? You bet. Does the whole of India revere him? Not really. For those interested, feel free to research the Ambedkar- Gandhi debate. He was also allegedly supportive of the varna (caste) system. Apparently he wanted to do away with discrimination but not the caste system. Also, Anyone familiar with 'Gandhian economics' wouldn't find anything shocking about these quotes.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 5:43 PM GMT
    Thanks for some context. As noted, I don't really know much about Ghandi myself, beyond some of the superficial ideals that some have gravitated towards which makes him admired by many liberals (and also some conservatives). And I too find some of his ideas appealing though I have found his ideas on economics silly and discredited (it's not a function of culture east or west). I don't however believe that he is great as some have held him to be - particularly some of his defenders here.

    closetsinger saidI don't get the point of the OP's last line though. Bios written by non- conservatives. So what? What is the implication here? There is no way that one would agree with or like everything about a globally respected personage.

    Also, at the risk of sounding like an Indian Supremacist, I'd like to point out that Gandhi tried to operate (with considerable success) outside the political and philosophical ideologies of the WEST. I think it's evident from the two quotes posted by riddler78. For anyone interested, feel free to check Ashis Nandy's essay titled 'The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism'.


    On this point with respect to why I noted that they were not written by conservatives, that was a response to the comment that the books were conservative hack jobs which they are not.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 5:55 PM GMT
    You know I've tried to understand this conservative/liberal dichotomy, but I just don't get it.icon_redface.gif

    Not that I am a great admirer of Gandhi, but I understand why some people are touchy about anything negative being said about the Mahatma.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 8:12 PM GMT
    TropicalMark saidThe 'bloggers name is John Boot.

    John Boot is the pen name of a conservative writer operating under deep cover in the liberal media.


    icon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gif

    I smell alot of subversive bias.


    Then go to CNN: "Communist Network News!"icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 10, 2011 8:16 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    riddler78 said
    Art_Deco saidYou need to learn a little more history before you post this stuff. I rather think it is you who's silly, or maybe just stupid, when you make the comments you did in the OP here. And perhaps about a billion people are offended that you insulted Mahatma Gandhi, who's not a Liberal icon, but a world icon.


    You might be credible if you chose to post anything that resembled content. Are you claiming that the Gandhi biography is untrue?

    This is a hatchet job -- as soon as I read "phony identities" and "silly stage names" I knew nothing that follows has any value.

    And you buy into this stuff? No doubt you also think aliens crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, and that Elvis is still alive. When you have something of value please get back to us.


    Or the long form death Certificate, or even some real pitures, would be nice; to kill the Mumbles that Osama was sighted in Vegas with Elvis; the world has a right to the truth Mr President.