When we think of dictators, of the great tyrants of men, we think of towering figures: powerful, imposing humans who through force of will and a strong personality subjugated their people. We think of men able to command their forces of oppression with the sheer power of their character.
But for much of the world, this is not the case. I’m sure the people of Burma, say, or Azerbaijan, would love to be tyrannised by someone handsome and charismatic. Alas, they are subjugated by that most depressing and anti-Nietzschean concept – the ugly, stupid dictator.
The world is full of them! Take an earlier example of mine: that of the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Just look at him – imagine how depressing your life must be being oppressed by him.
Everywhere you go, you see his ugly mug looming over you. What a bore. And he isn’t even that much of a tyrant, he’s just an autocrat. There is a burgeoning opposition movement, sort of, and he’s crushed some people in the street for protesting. How predictable. It’s like being ruled with an iron fist by a bag of potatoes, really.
Another example is the junta of Burma. Oh god. This highlights the problem of the military dictatorship – that they’re always old and grizzled. Not commanding very much respect, really. If I wanted to be ordered around by a shriveled old raisin I’ll go and work in a health food shop. China has this problem too – it seems they killed all the charming people in the cultural revolution. Bo Xilai, China’s only charismatic politician in decades, had to ruin it all by being involved in murder. What an idiot!
This all began with the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauşescu in Romania. While he was obviously a brutal bastard, he had the appearance of an ugly ten year old boy, and sounded like his voice had never broken. And he was hen pecked by a horrible wife, too! How shameful for Romanians. No wonder they shot him as quickly as possible. And he’s not even the ugliest of the old Eastern bloc guard – what truly made communism so fucking miserable was how ugly and boring their leaders were.
Honecker of East Germany? He looks like the sort of boring fart who’d give you a hard time in some god awful governmental office for not having the right form. And his breath would stink. With him in charge, you really are condemned to a life of utmost misery. See below – he looks like one of the thunderbirds.
Forget the catastrophically ill thought out economic model – it was ugly dictators who brought down communism.
What annoys me so much about these ugly dictators is that they’re just hiding behind the fact that they have absolute control of the state apparatus! How cowardly. They’re not even making the effort to be liked and revered, they’re either forcing the people to do it or not even trying. How dull. It brings to mind the little shit at school who had no charm or strength himself, but was able to somehow command other boys to do his bidding. What an utter fucker he was, wasn’t he?
Why do Serbians love Tito so much? Not, I claim, for any practical reason (it’s really not that hard to run a country when you have all the guns and you just killed all the Nazis) but because he was a damn handsome motherfucker. Seriously, look at him. Trust me, if your country was covered in pictures of his gorgeous mug, you’d subjugate to the will of the dictatorship of the proletariat. As soon as he was gone, and Slobodan Milosevic came along, everyone just went “actually this Yugoslavia idea might not be that great”. Coincidence? I think not.
If I want to be murdered in the street, or dragged away from my family in the middle of the night, I’d at least like it to be in the name of someone with good cheekbones and dreamy eyes, thank you very much.
We live in a world of ugly dictators, ladies and gentlemen. I’m sorry to tell you, but they don’t make them strong and chiseled anymore. Except for Putin of course – I see those pictures of him fishing and I forget all about everything… Chechnya? Never heard of it.
Perhaps it’s a sign of democracy. I can’t think of a single western leader who’s even remotely attractive (apart from Scandinavian ones, of course). Perhaps the price of having a say in the civic matters of your country is having leaders who look like potatoes with condoms stretched over them… Forgive the poor taste, but maybe a bit of old school tyranny is sexier.
Oliver Hotham is deputy editor of Not So Reviews and one of our Politics and Economics columnists
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