Bobby Jindal Called An Exorcist

Bobby Jindal is being depicted as a weird exorcist by some of the center-left blogosphere. Ordinarily, I have some sympathy for figures that are Orientalized, but I'm a little unsure about what's going on here. So, I'll leave that judgement to others who might be more objective.

I also have no interest in arguing that non-modernist discourses you have to take time to comprehend (like the conversations about astrology that so many South Asian woman my age participate in) are off limits for understanding and/or useless. However, when they interfere with how you live your life and the extent of fulfillment you can achieve, they can contribute to the problem. That's what I think I see a glimpse of here: excessive and avoidant religiosity about loving relations, neuroses, and possibly sex. This is my best guess of what Jindal is engaging in in this 1994 essay about his relationship with a friend and how he performed an exorcism for her:

Though she had not said anything, I knew something was wrong. Susan and I had developed an intimate friendship; indeed, our rela­tionship mystified observers, who insisted on finding a romantic component where none existed.

Despite our intimacy, Susan and I had not spent much time together this past year. We had succumbed to pressure from our friends and de­cided we should not be so emotionally interdependent without a deeper commitment. To be honest, my fears of a relationship and the constraints of commitment had kept us apart; our friends' objec­tions merely provided a convenient excuse. Still, I felt comfortable asking her to come to the concert, and she accepted the invitation. Though Susan ap­peared composed throughout the concert, her sud­den departure in the middle of a song convinced me otherwise and affirmed my earlier suspicions.

Since we had been very careful to avoid any form of physical contact in our friendship, I was not sure how to respond. My inaction and her sobs produced a very awkward situation. Fortunately, a female friend who followed us out was able to comfort Su­san with hugs and soothing words of reassurance; her quick action was in stark contrast to my paraly­sis. Once Susan had regained her composure and fell silent, I knew I had to intervene. The female friend meant well, but did not know Susan well enough to provide the advice Susan was sure to seek.

Friend, hug the girl. What kind of God tells you not to hug a sobbing friend? I think it's possible, as Jindal insists, that you can love someone really deeply in a nonphysical way, but if that's the case, why do you have to be "very careful to avoid any form of physical contact" and moreover, what purpose does that serve in loving youself or another? If it's not romantic, then who cares whether you have physical contact like a hug while someone's sobbing? If it is romantic, then work towards accepting it -- don't pin the responsibility for providing physical support on other women.

It is hopefully obvious that I am completely speculating here without anything to base this idea on than these selections and my own life experience, but honestly, really saddening to see smart, confused people get so caught up in something they lose sight of human relationships and how important they are. Can relate.

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