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Taking us through the processes of deductive reasoning in one of our very first lessons in logic, our class teacher asked us to complete the last of the following sentences: One: “Circus clowns wear makeup. Two: Women wear makeup. Three:  Therefore, women are…

Dare to complete the last sentence and see if a pack of wild feminists don’t come chasing you down the street wielding dangerous kitchen accoutrements as weapons of male destruction.

I wonder how circus jokers and women manage to wear makeup with apparently little trouble: In those days when I used to participate in some panel discussions on television, I was required to first report at a makeup room where my face would be made up with face powder and other cosmetics, to make me look a bit like the Male Face of Africa, before entering the studio.

One day, I was getting late for a panel discussion and arrived at GBC studios  in one mighty hurry and a great sweat. The air-condition was not the most efficient of domestic cooling systems and any time the lady applying the makeup tried dusting my face with this chocolate powder or whatever it was, the  power got mixed with my copiously flowing sweat. We would wipe away the mess and try again, with the same annoying result!

All the same, makeup is something that does so many things for so many people: The story from Algeria made the rounds in the international media last week: Bloke spends the night with his newly-wedded wife, see? Bloke wakes up in the morning and sees her without facial makeup for the first time, and is horrified. She is an entirely different and strange creature.

The woman who in the man’s own words had always looked “very beautiful and attractive” looked very ugly, when he woke up in the morning and found that she had washed the make-up off her face. The man said he was frightened, thinking she was a thief.

The man is now suing his wife for US$ 29, 000 fraud and “psychological suffering.” 

Makeup as you can discern then, is the use of cosmetics to hide what is there and exhibit a false presentation .

However,  when it really comes to “making up” there is more to the word than face, hair and body makeup: Our nation for example, is wearing heavy makeup:  We are living a big, fat lie and putting up appearances when it comes to the complementary values required for building a progressive and prosperous society.

This culture of living a lie and putting up appearances threatens to saddle our mighty nation with future generations of popcorn personalities pretending to be what they are not.

In Ghana many people bearing titles like businessman, Dr, CEO, Prophet, Managing Director, Bishop, celebrity etc are anything but any of these. Someone fancies being a clergyman or woman. Does he do a triple check to establish that he does indeed have a  divine calling? Does he then set out to go through the many years of pastoral training that a minister must undergo?

Not on your life. He just jumps into some clerical robes brandishing an obese Bible and claiming to be a bishop. The next thing you know, he is making newspaper front page headlines as a pervert, rapist, swindler or doom-saying “prophet”, given to hawking miracles or predicting the coming deaths of prominent people.

That is until something happens and the makeup falls off as in the case of the lady who has been sued for hiding behind makeup to lure the hapless fellow to the altar! The media immediately substitute the honourable title of bishop for the words “swindling pervert” and report his activities in headlines that do great injustice to the integrity of Ghana’s clergy.

Someone fancies recognition as a scholar and an intellectual but neglects to take the painful but necessary and ultimately rewarding path that leads to scholarship. All the same, he is a scholar and an intellectual in one swoop because he says so and who is to contradict him?

Yet he is only wearing heavy Western intellectual and academic makeup to impress himself  and everyone else: He does not progress beyond studying, citing and quoting Western scholars to the development of original thought, philosophy and academic arguments, postulates and theories of his own, to add to universal knowledge as the Western scholars he is given to quoting have done.

With a rich store of specialized bodies of knowledge provided by western thinkers and philosophers to wear as intellectual makeup, why bother to generate critical, creative and original thinking of our own?

Our screen actors put on more makeup than the facial makeup they wear to shoot movie scenes: African movies but especially Ghanaian and Nigerian films pack so much pornography and violence, two familiar features of many Western movies. Our propensity for imitation and copying of all and everything Western gets truly embarrassing: The movie industry in Nigeria has to be Nollywood and that in Ghana Ghalleywood.

On and off stage, from ear rings, sunglasses, singing voice mode, hand gestures and vigorous prancing about, every young musician in Ghana is trying to look and sound every bit like the gangster rapper Chicago or the Bronx. I call them popcorn stars and celebrities wearing heavy media makeup.