Arrogant Pseudo Celebrities And Why I respect Colin Powell

I have had the good fortune of meeting with many people who are considered to be “up there,” many of whom with which I have a continuing friendship. Once in a while, however, I come across one of those odd-one-ins (not outs), who are what I call pseudo-all-of-the-aboves.

I have a problem. You see, it isn’t that these people exist, like the tulla at Devil’s Point. It is that we cater to their egos like we cater to our bellies on those wedding days with biryani and salan, filling our bladders with caramelized carbonated water.

What happens when an Ego dam bursts? No one dies. no crops are destroyed. The beaver does not need to rebuild the dam. Or does it? You see, When the ego dam bursts, it kills meritocracy. It seeps into the fertile alluvial soils of creativity, destroying ideas, relationships, and even revolutions at the root.


Masla yeh hai keh hum mein tappar nahi hai jab koi galat karta hai kyun key hum un ko naraaz na kar dein. Lekin yeh to ek excuse hai. Humara kaam jho nikalta hai, kharab na hojaye.

Like a twist cone, we slurp at the bitter tasting leather of their shoes because it tickles our genitals when we are able to please them. But really? We reaffirm their ego until the reservoir overflows. As a result, when one of those odd meritocrats (such as I, if I do say so myself) point out what can be better, its like a blow to their pride. Punjabi Powerpuff Girls turned Peptobismol Monsters. But its true of everyone isn’t it? I’ll spare the Sindhis for now, Zardari’s done enough to make us all proud. Bhutto rolls in her grave.

Let me put all of this in context. If you’re the grandson of a famous celebrity who is considered the Light of the Nations, be humble. The reputation of the previous generation rides on the actions of the next. And if you want to carry the mashaal brighter than before, really, really, really, get some ispaghol so that you’re not as full of yourself as you were 6 hours ago. Take criticism bravely, and improve. That’s what you learn in school. And don’t underestimate the importance of education. Please don’t hide behind the impotent statements such as “jho sab ko c&*&^ samajhta hai woh sab sey bara cc&*&^” and “jo ziada ‘ilm haasil karta hai uss kee shakal ghade kee tarha lagne lagtee hai.”

Mere doston, yeh sab dil behlanay waalee baatein hain, apnee khamiyon aur galityon ko apnay aap sey chupanay key liye.

So whats with the title? Here it is all summed up in the most succinct, articulate speech ever, by Colin Powell:

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity.. An import ant attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this:

Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.

With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.

“A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”

The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.

Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends. Yes…do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.


5 thoughts on “Arrogant Pseudo Celebrities And Why I respect Colin Powell”

  1. @Tabish: Thanks. I’m sure you’re right. It must have been very hard at times for Powell to work for Bushy, who barely acknowledged the existence of the State he was supposed to be serving, and treated our laws, checks and balances like a child’s game. I can think of a much smoother way of solving the Iraq problem, but, alas, too late now.

  2. I think in Pakistan worldly success has alot to do with religious scholars and their interpretation of Holy Book and the sayings of Holy Prophet. Whereas the fortunes are meant to a by product of socio economic benefits that a scholars gifts to his society by his research/invention/discovery and fame, popularity and riches are only means to an end and not an end in themselves. I think we need to learn afew more things before embarking on this journey. The situation elsewhere may be different, I am just referring to society here in pk.

  3. @Hira. I understand your point. At the same time it is highly important to understand that the United States is far from being free of poverty, even though poverty is a relative term.

    @James. That is very insightful indeed. In hindsight, Powell may have been referring to the administration he was working with at that point in time in certain regards. Nevertheless, important observations!

  4. I once passed Colin Powell, at the time a Major General, in the passageway at our US Navy station, being shown around by our Captain, and remember thinking at the time “Wow! A black General! Now that’s a new thing.”
    I’ve always admired him, too. His qualities are undeniable, but he had something going for him early on, too, and that was his blackness, which at the time was something the US government was trying hard to equalize in society–it was important to show a symbol of black success in the form of a high-ranking officer, and he was a prime candidate, on his own qualities, being groomed for higher office.
    I think he was a GOOD SOLDIER, following orders and doing a great job of it, but I believe his experiences with the Bush administration and the Iraq WMD fiasco left a bitter taste in his mouth; note that he seems to have dropped out of the big picture shortly after that. Not the first time that honorable soldiers have been used for dishonorable purposes (something wrong with the absoluteness of command structure, surely. “Yours not to reason why, yours but to do or die.”–Oh, yeah? Says who?)
    The advantages are obvious, but the merits of social climbing have yet to be established, as far as I’m concerned.

  5. Respect is not a one way thing. It never has been. Their leaders get respect because there county is free of poverty that I believe most of the times leads to militancy. AM empty mind and head ofcurse moves to evil by itself.

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