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CULTURE MORALITY

Wow and a scandal

An artist, after many days in obscurity, lands in the limelight overnight. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, makes a public declaration of his sexual orientation. I sit down again to write something for my blog. Well, that’s the past week in brief. But all that you know pretty much about.

Which makes my predicament very undesirable. You see, the task of a writer like me is not to give the news to readers. That’s the job of the media. Mine is to delve into the meaning, sift out things worth discussing, then synthesise it in such a way that the reader who hasn’t formed an opinion has the chance of forming one, and those who already have an opinion have the opportunity of considering another and providing a critique of what is presented. That’s how society behaves, and that’s how we all get to form ideas and grow together.

So, the first issue. The artist for whom the dawn broke. Almost any Kenyan who’s on social media, or who has consistently checked the news media this ending week has no doubt come across the name of Collins Omondi, Kisumu-based pencil artist who made the now famous pencil drawing of President Kenyatta worthy of almost any positive critique it received.

His is the story of passion, anchored to the earth by a strong-willed perserverance that is rarely missed in the story of those who end up being great. Posting pictures of his sketches on Facebook pretty much every day provided him with a modest audience that admired and commented on them and spread the word.

Probably he was satisfied by his increasing presence in people’s lives as an artist, because he was already somehow widely known as the humorous mind behind another popular comic Facebook page. But the last thing on his mind was that a few among his audience, who became part of it at just the right time, would have a much larger multiplier effect, and that the portrait he drew would be just the right one to pique their interest.

His is a story that speaks to all of us, in our diverse social and professional occupations. While not all of us will rise to stardom as fast as he did, there is always the sun smilingly peeping behind some cloud, ready to burst forth into a bloom of radiance and dancing colour, just when we thought it never would. All that we do, as long as we aim at excellence, will bear fruit in the end, and sometimes, it will be fruit that can be shared with an entire nation.

Enough of that. Now, one of the most admired and reverenced companies of the world, probably the most so, is Apple. I mean, these people make probably the coolest products of their type in the world, and their product releases are usually expected with the kind of tense anticipation that a serf would have when informed of the impending arrival of the King. Their latest releases, the iPad Air, OSX Yosemite and the iPhone 6 family provide the latest evidence of this fact. Which makes the position of many of us really awkward when we consider that the CEO of this admirable company has ‘come out of the closet’ as they say.

It is an interesting development, by all counts. While they say it has been an open secret for a long while now, Tim Cook declaring so publicly that he is gay has sent many minds reeling, trying to adjust their perceptions to this ‘new’ state of affairs. The LGBT conundrum has been gaining momentum of late, like pretty much everything that goes against the traditional view of morality. Think abortion, contraception, euthanasia, surrogacy… and you begin to get the idea. It is a mental construct that has evolved with the dawning of new age philosophy, where we have become authority unto ourselves, or adjusted higher authority to fit our own view of what is right and wrong.

The journey of knowledge concerning morality goes through many influences and stages. Much depends on where one is born and the way he’s brought up, what he’s taught and the way people around him live. But that isn’t all. Today’s world has put distant lands within everyone’s reach, and many people nowadays look up to people they’ve never met, and probably have no likelihood of ever meeting.

Tim Cook is admired and held up as an example by many. He said when he was opening up his personal life that he has always managed to have a certain level of privacy. Yet he also mentioned that he would want to retain some of that. Which is a a paradox. He heads a company that is at the forefront of communication, that epitomises the connectivity of the modern world.

In such a world, what has been exposed will most likely remain so forever, and have it’s effect, whether good or bad, for as long. The magnitude of that effect depends solely on the status of the one who reveals that thing. Yet he expresses the hope that what he, famous as he is, has said, on so pertinent an issue, will remain private.

It is the height of folly. It is not not my position that gay people are evil. Nor to I believe that thieves are evil, nor adulterers, nor fornicators nor prostitutes nor murderers. They are people, and people aren’t evil. What is evil is what, with their warped vision of freedom, or ignorance of what they are supposed to be, commit. It makes things worse when one who engages in these activities tries to make others agree that it is morally upright to do them.

Tim Cook says being gay is one of the ‘greatest gifts’ God has given him. I wonder if he talked with God over that before he said it. Because if he did, I believe he wouldn’t have said that. God doesn’t make people gay, but God takes a gamble when he gives them freedom, because he knows they can use it to the wrong ends, like choosing to be gay.

Yes, I said that. It’s a choice. Being gay is. One has set before him options to take. The choice one makes, if guided by reason and clear conscience, will be the right way. But that reason, and that conscience, if they themselves are deformed, then the choice made will definitely be deformed. As well, if the reason and conscience are well formed, and one still makes the contrary choice, then there still is a problem.

I don’t know where Tim Cook lies among these two. But I know that his choice is wrong, and declaring it in public makes it even worse, because the domino effect it will set in motion will wreak more havoc than what he singly would have done. One only hopes that there is still some sanity in the world, some good scent of morality, which will counter this hedonism head on, and make sure that at least some of those souls that risk being misled are salvaged.

This leads us to the union of two stories. Where one young man, gifted with a steady hand and artistic eyes, wows a nation, another, older one, provides the scandal of the week. It’s your turn. Form an opinion, and sound them.

On the third matter, me writing something? Well, you just finished reading it. The only part of the promise not kept? It’s double the pledged size. Till later dear readers!

Feature image: Makiche.

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