Saturday, March 15, 2008

unconsidered glamor

I'm doing some history reading

Gosh, I was just so struck by the wording in that sentence, by that phrase. I mean, my first contemplation of a dictator would have nothing to do with the glamor of his regime, but now that I've seen the usage in print, I would say, yes, definitely! A dictatorship is glamorous for its leader and his cronies! Your life is like a rockstar's, I mean, who's going to tell you what's what, and if someone does, you just snap your fingers and it's not a problem anymore. Anything you want, mostly anything you could want if you were in that position - power, fame, wealth, status, influence. Drugs, women. And yet they're so fickle, the success of the one-hit wonder/the popularity of the "staged a coup, so-and-so" government. It's conjuring images of VH1 "The Fabulous Life." ("Take a fast-paced, first class joy ride of lavish living, as we check out the fortune building careers and businesses of the extremely rich and famous and the incredible indulgences that come with it.")

I just never thought of it that way. Dictators would be too busy being angry and tyrannical and stewing in the ambient instability of absolute power (so-called) to enjoy the perks, right? Right? Gosh what do you do with all that power anyway. Be like Candide! Mind your own garden!

So my admiration (EDIT: awe; "admiration" was poor word choice) so expressed is pretty grotesque and now I'm back to reality, I'm thinking of Last King of Scotland and how bouncy and happy Amin could be, but then how cruel and twisted his regime was. Just got caught up in the words, that's all.

("Perhaps the June Days might have had similar consequences if republican leadership after 1848 had been equal to that after 1871 and if there had been in 1848 no young and glamorous aspirant dictator on the scene, ready to take advantage of republican division and conservative fears. In 1871 Napoleon III was old and ailing, his son young and untried, and luckily for the republic, no other substitute turned up." Wright, France in Modern Times)

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