Dinner with Mugabe

August 3, 2009

It will come as no surprise to you that your Alpha and Omega strives to keep up to date with Her fellow authoritarian leaders. Generally, this means online chats and facebook updates, but from time to time, I like to step away from the screen and let My eyes run over the pages of that mysterious and old-fashioned media, the book.

Yes, I cannot deny that I like to kill trees as much as you do, My ordinary citizens. But while you use your dead trees to warm your homes in cold weather, your Superior Mind uses the timber to fashion paper filled with tiny letters.

But with so many pages filled with tiny letters, it is a task to decide which of them shall accompany your Serious Intellectual to her majestic home. So naturally, your government favours any and all books with a dictatorial bent. A recent acquisition was Dinner with Mugabe by some random peasant by the name of Heidi Holland.

Now, any book that spends over two hundred pages discussing my good friend Robert Mugabe should certainly be a worthwhile read. And in the hands of someone more competent or terrified of punishment, perhaps this could have been. But the letters that fill these pages were flat and without resonance. Althought dear and ruthless Bob’s life has been a fascinating and active one, I would think he had done nothing but collect garbage his entire life judging from the writing in this book.

If a dictator can feel admiration for someone in the ruled class, then I will admit that I appreciate the access Holland was able to gain to Mugabe’s friends and family. The interviews and stories she gets from them are by far the most compelling part of her tale. But her story falls short when it comes to personal narrative. Trying to portray herself as a liberal wanting to see Zimbabwe freed of colonial rule, she inserts herself into the story whenever possible. But her connection to Mugabe is tenuous and certainly not enough to sustain the narrative arc she seems to perceive as dramatic.

Naturally, My complaints are many, because as a Harsh Leader, I would have everything under My control. But the fact is, peons, there are few books detailing the heroic acts of My comrades. So despite its flaws, this Despot believes that this book will teach much about the ways of the dictator. But do not worry, it will not be required reading. In this at least, you have the power of choice, peon.

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