Monday, May 08, 2006

Who's The Boss?*

Dictators come in all shapes and sizes, from dull bureaucrats to murderous monsters. But they have one thing in common: They're all megalomaniacs. Combining extreme narcissism with absolute power, is a recipe for some pretty strange behavior.

Beloved Leader

Consider the world's most famous eccentric despot, South Korea's own Kim Jong Il. "Beloved Leader" was born into the role by virtue of being the son of President Kim Il-sung. He succeded him in 1994 and began his reign of weirdness.

Some of his more bizarre actions:

  • At 5' 3" tall, he regularly wears lifts to increase his height. He augments his thinning hair by sporting a modified pompador and wears glasses that would embarrass Elton John.

  • He's a big pornography fan and is reported to keep a "Pleasure Squad," of nubile females.
  • He wrote six operas in two years.
  • Has created an official list of approved, short haircuts for men, because long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition," robbing the brain of energy.
  • Kidnapped film director Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife Choe Eun-hui, forcing them to make films that he himself produced. This resulted in the film "Pulgasari" (1985), an adventure movie about a peasant revolt aided by an iron-eating monster.

    Leader of all Turkmen
    For my money, no one beats Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov. A former party bureaucrat who declared himsef "President for Life" in 1985. Like all other dictators, he retains absolute control and will not tolerate any opposition.

    Some of his more questionable acts:

    • Insists on being referred to as "Turkmenbashi" ("Leader of all Turkmen").
    • Had a 50" statue of himself erected in the capital city, which rotates so it always faces the sun.

  • Has his face on pretty much everything: stamps, clocks, money, liquor bottles.
  • Renamed the days of the week after members of his family and renamed the month of January after himself. April is named after his mother.
  • Wrote a book called "Ruhnama," which everyone is required to read. For the illiterate, chapters of the book are read every night from a giant outdoor TV screen. Reading of the book three times is supposed to have the reader "become more intelligent, recognise the divine being, and go straight to heaven"
  • Rewrote the national anthem and country's oath of allegiance.

    In dishonor of these fine gentlemen (and to toss in a gratuitous mp3 download), here's couple of songs by 70's punk legends The Dictators:

    The Next Big Thing


    *Note: This is in no way intended to downplay the suffering of the people who have to live under these crackpots. It's merely to display the lengths dictators go to inflate their egos.


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