Thursday, November 16, 2006

delusions of grandeur?

what is it with politicians that once they set their bottoms on the throne, they imagine themselves to be omniscient? i almost never read about or listen to what a pm, minister, party leader or spokesman says but since inevitably i get to hear or glimpse at their shining bits of eternal wisdom. invariably and always inversely proportional to their learning, they think they know or must know or have to know everything under the sun. the late ecevit loved to make a show of his extensive grasp of life, even when it came to technical and non-verbal matters (including economy) in which he was grossly unversed. he was unaware that kw and kwa were different concepts. suleyman demirel, who probably was the most intelligent "leader" turkey saw in the last half century, had something to say about everything too. at a press conference once, he used such a sentence that made it obvious he did not know "weimar" was not a person but a place in germany (at the time, ecevit had tried to capitalize on that, just as demirel had when ecevit openly confused electrical measurements). the putsch president kenan evren could talk with equanimity and authority about all, from rocket science to islamic theology. tansu ciller probably did not even know zilch about economy of which she was a somehow a professor, but had an encyclopedic collection of know-it-all-mistakes, i.e. her statements were a perfect anthology of "how not to..."
why did i write this? the current premier of turkey, a grad of the school of theology, raised to become an imam, is another in that genre of politicos who is in love with hearing his voice. and true to type, he has become a master of disquisition on almost everything in life, without necessarily listening to his own words. yesterday he declared that obesity is a problem of modern life: not just his usual aversion to modernity showing its freudian slip, but he probably would not know the etymological relationship between calory and heat either.
the common denominator here? temptation to show off, knowing no matter what nonsense you speak nobody can dare tell you to shut up? ecevit, the high school grad, demirel the self made village boy, tayyip erdogan the success story of the religious conservative banlieu?
maybe it's ... stately knowledge and wisdom acquired by osmosis, sitting on the "throne"?

come to think of it, prof. erdal inönü, an aristocrat by turkish standards as they come, was the least longwinded politician - and he often made sense too.

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