Superglue’s New Happy Place: Charles Taylor Converts to Judaism

Well, no one ever accused Charles Taylor of being stable. The nutcase quixotic former President of Liberia, according to several blogs and a BBC interview with one of his wives, has now converted to Judaism. Given the way he’s kicked around the Mandingo, West Africa’s nomadic Muslims, I guess Islam wasn’t really an option, although he was always schizophrenic about dressing himself up as Everyman while picking on various minority groups (and one big majority: civilians). Whichever route he’s chosen, I’m sure there are any number of survivors of the little mischief-maker’s practices who’d like to help him along in his quest to get closer to God.

Maybe ole’ Superglue figures he needs all the help he can get. Maybe he just thought it might be hip. Maybe it’s an icky way of getting closer to pop fame via Madonna. Maybe it’s driven by some bizarro internal calculus involving amnesty, Israel, the Mossad, and a happy place with dwarves on wooden horses prancing around 1980s era video vixens in French lingerie. Or maybe he’s just a basket case fishing for an insanity defense.

In all seriousness, there hasn’t been a lot of work done to really try to explain Taylor’s psychology. He attended college in the Boston area in the late 1970s, around the same time that, according to Peter Novick, Holocaust consciousness was really beginning to flower. There are traces of the latter that show up in his speechifying in the early stages of the Liberian civil war; I always thought there was a potential correlation between the two threads that would explain some of the texture and detail of his radio broadcasts during that period. If anyone can get a look at his academic transcripts, talk to his former teachers, or look at school records for traces of his involvement in student politics, I’m sure there’ll be something in there that would help explain the thinking behind his newfound multi-denominationalism.

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