The Rambler: At Tholo’s and some Furious Effusions Thereof

Ours is a cartoon country…..(Jimmy Kainja, Lecture on Jameson’s ‘Political Unconscious.’, 2016)

I was at Tholo’s, a famous drinking place in Zomba town, for a cold beer. Those who drink know that it is at drinking joints that important issues are discussed. By ‘important’ here I mean many things: Women, Politics, Stupidity, Idiocy, Academic Madness, and most important of all, Presidential Idiocy. It is this last one that took center stage in our drinking circle. Presidential Idiocy, according to our drinking circle at Tholo’s, is a situation whereby the State President gets so much affected by postmodern music industry that he draws some bizarre statements from it to enrich his public speeches. This definition was advanced by Comrade GK, a CID agent at Zomba Police Station.

“Comrade, how have you come to understand postmodern music industry? I am the only Media expert here”, I inquired, rather dizzily.

“Ha ha ha, Professor Rambler, you see, there is a very thick line between studying a subject and experiencing it. The scholar isolates himself from what he studies, and this is why he takes four to six years, like in your case, to study the same stuff. His detachment from what he studies hinders him from knowing it, so that by the end of his study he only possesses half-truths. However, the person who experiences the subject under study is one with it, he includes himself in it, and he sees himself in it and knows both it and himself. Barman! Another round here!”

I was perplexed with this eloquence from a Comrade who never studied phenomenology.

“Comrade, you have never studied Philosophy, you have never touched Hegel or Heidegger, but you speak pure phenomenology”

Just when Comrade was about to answer, Comrade Major P chirped in.

“The problem with you educated idiots is that you think classroom theories can work here on the ground. You think your classroom paper can help you deal with the human problem. But let me tell you, only those who have experienced life can deal with it, not you who wasted your life time in classrooms!”

At this point Che Bamusi came in from the Urinal, struggling to zip his partly wet trousers. He staggered, fell, got up, stood firm like a soldier and waved everybody to be quiet. The Barman had played Ndilibe Pulobulemu on the Duxe Box, and Che Bamusi took to his dance steps. We all watched him with a sense of amusement.

“He is a free being now, such freedom is rare, so leave him alone”, I said.

“For once you have said something intelligent Prof. Rambler”, GK parted me on the shoulder.

“Ha ha ha ha, you know, it’s a very important piece of music Comrade GK, this Ndilibe Pulobulemu, Dalitso and his mad friend should be given a medal”, Major P exclaimed and leaped from his stool, took my hand and raised it in the air, mistaking me for Dalitso.

“I am not Dalitso, Major P, and why should he be given a medal? For the idiocy he presents in this piece?”

“shhhhhhh, shush, this music is precious, it is a source of inspiration for our President, and besides, we have a Presidential dog here, sorry, I mean a Police Officer”, warned Che Bamusi, he had now retired to his sit.

“Ha ha ha ha ha Presidential Idiocy!” Comrade GK exclaimed.

“He can’t just say that, he is supposed to be the Presidential Watchdog”, we whispered among ourselves.

“Barman! Another round for Presidential Idiocy! ha ha ha ha ha!”

“Whaaaaaaaat?”The three of us asked simultaneously.

“You see comrades”, continued GK, “The President has such a rich source of idiotic inspiration…Dalitso! ha ha ha ha Ine ndilibe Pulobulemu, ine ndilibe pulobulemu, ine ndilibe pulonulemu..”

Comrade GK was now on the dance floor.

ine ndilibe pulobulemu
Ine ndilibe Pulobulemu
Ine ndilibe pulobulemu

I do not know what time we knocked off and how I came to my room, but I woke up from my bed in the morning. The only thing I surely know is that at least we agreed on the definition of Presidential Idiocy. It is a narrow and uninformed definition, but this is not my worry. My worry is the Presidential Watchdog, but to hell with him, he was the one who advanced the definition in the first place!


2 thoughts on “The Rambler: At Tholo’s and some Furious Effusions Thereof

  1. This is an interesting post and I feel compelled to comment on the notion that studying a subject and experiencing a subject are dichotomous. Adhering to this binary way of thinking about one’s humanness perpetuates the centuries-old and worn out Platonic idea that body and mind are two separate things. Have we not yet moved beyond this horrible trend that caused early Christians to beat their own bodies with whips in order to be more at one with “the spirit”? When I am “studying” or “thinking” I am not doing so only with my “mind” which is erroneously thought to be in one’s “head.” My mind is integrated with my body and I’ve worked hard to deconstruct what I was taught as a child, philosophically mangled by Catholicism. Anyway, whether I am at home with my face in a book or out walking in the agora, my “fleshy” experience is embedded with my “un-ethereal” mind. Being in “the classroom” is surely “experiencing life” for doing is not separate from thought since to think is to do and doing is never done without thought. Our bondage to our pathetic language prompts us to call thinking and doing separate actions, but this is only a sad mimesis of what Fredric Jameson addresses in “The Prison House of Language.”


    1. This is an interesting comment Audrey, you have really grabbed my argument by its horns….but think of it, in our age, where the scholar deconstructs everything in front of him, thinking that he is looking for the truth, think about it, doesn’t that scholar frustrates himself at the end of the day? Wont he end up like Roseau, wishing that he would return to the instincts era where all man had to do was gather from his immediate environment? When you have finally deconstructed everything around you, so that at the end of the day you only have signification ad infinitum, will you not be more confused than you were before you started your study? This is the point COMRADE GK makes herein. The scholar, thinking that he is not one with the thing he is deconstructing, unknowingly deconstructs himself as well, so that by the end of it all he is not really sure who he is…he is just T. S. ELIOT’s feet, hands, fingers, he is just fragments of what he has deconstructed. (and my ‘he’ here will set you on the road of signification ad infinitum…you will think..his language is sexist, he is sexist because the language is too masculine, because the society is too masculine, bla bla bla, and ad infinitum). In other words, Derrida’s theory comes back to pounce on himself, for his way of understanding things will also lead to the same ad infinitum he accuses Saussure of


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