The notorious former African dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, seems to be done forming vast child-armies for the cultivation of blood diamonds, however, he is far from finished dictating.
His latest decree is that the ESPN owned Bill Simmons vehicle, Grantland, is going to be really quite bad.
I had a chance to interview one of his former child-army lieutenants, Jawara Onyejekwe, to get a sense of where the former dictator's head is at.
Inappropriate Thesaurus: What was the dictator like personally?
Jawara Onyejekwe: Well, he was very skilled, he was a talented man and he worked very hard to be the best he could be at any endeavor he set out to accomplish.
IT: Was he as adept at expressing himself then as he is now?
JO: Oh, very much so. He would often spend 45 minutes after a raid on a small village extolling the efficient pillaging we've done.
IT: Did he ever lambast you sternly?
IT: It's okay, his reign of terror is over, he's in hiding from an army of angry ESPN fans at the moment.
JO: Okay, well sometimes... he would be very unsatisfied with our performance. Sometimes we would let some women and children live because their death was strategically irrelevant to our agenda. He would castigate us for hours and hours. There were periods when he would be impossible to satisfy. Sometimes he would shoot some of my fellow officers right in front of everybody. We feared him truly, but his methods of shooting us down were very effective and drew a lot of attention to his authority. One time, he was so miserable, that he shot a number of us down before we even left for the raid! He screamed at us for hours and hours about how terribly he expected the raid to go, based on some minor aesthetic grieving he had about the formation of our convoy. He also thought a number of our lieutenants who were very popular among the rest of the soldiers were bad officers.
IT: Who were some of the lieutenants he didn't like?
JO: Well, the main officer he despised was Senwe Simmons. Simmons was a very popular officer. His track record was no better or worse than any other officer, but lots and lots of soldiers really liked him. I think it was just his personality that people enjoyed. He had some strong leadership qualities, and he would often say exactly what was on his mind regardless of whether or not his opinion was well formed or in good taste. He had a bit of over-confidence, which we all seemed to find entertaining.
IT: Who else didn't the dictator like?
JO: Azikiwe Klosterman was friends with Senwe Simmons and was also very confident in himself. Sometimes Commander Klosterman would spend extra time re-examining various courses of action which were already presumed to be exact by most of the group, even if he would end up with the same conclusions. Other-times, he would make comparisons between a certain type of machine gun, and some other, unrelated thing like a certain variety of tiger. Mobutu Sese Seko thought these comparisons were stupid, but we all generally understood the point that Azikiwe was making, and whether we agreed with it or not, we were generally appreciative of his effort to explain tribal-militia culture to his fellow soldiers.
Then there was Cheikh Gladwell. Seko hated Gladwell because Gladwell would state the obvious in an interesting manner. He would present a new way of understanding--sometimes self-evident or sometimes exaggerated--life-lessons about how the world works in a way that people really liked, which a lot of soldiers enjoyed.
IT: Why do you think this got to Seko so badly?
JO: Honestly, nobody can say. Envy comes to mind, which was understandable because Seko was also a very talented communicator, but not as popular as the other men. Some of the officers liked Seko, especially those who found the other officers annoying. There was a final officer named Dumaka Eggers who Seko disliked because it was sometimes hard to tell if he was being straightforward when he said things. Nobody really knows why this bothered Seko so much. Most people simply didn't understand Eggers, and of those who did, some people liked him and some people just ignored him.
IT: So, what did Seko do about these officers he didn't like?
JO: Seko shot all three of them in the face.
IT: Doesn't that seem a bit harsh?
JO: Well, "harsh" is what he was going for, and when you're trying to call attention to yourself, it would be less effective to simply be reasonable. It would be less of a spectacle to show human decency. Seko was really skilled at shooting people right in the face. He could do so accurately and quickly. And there were definitely reasons why lots of people deserve to be shot in the face, perhaps Seko himself included. We all have a lot of imperfections which we can certainly be assassinated for. But a constructive, civilized, conversation benefits the recipient more than the advice-giver. On the other hand, a destructive, point-blank bullet through the cranium gains Seko the benefit of lots of other people saying, "Woh, did you see what Seko did to Simmons! That was... how do you say in Ameringlish, --Bad Assed! We should keep an eye on him because of the intense things he's capable of doing!" We weren't all that mad because Seko was just being selfish, which is understandable, especially in the blood diamond business...
IT: Fair enough. By the way, take a look at this beautiful engagement ring I got for my wife?
JO: [Jawara begins sobbing uncontrollably...]