Who Am I?

Vladimir Lenin


I'm Vlad Lenin and you probably remember me as the fellow who did more than my share to make the 20th century more brutal as winter in Siberia. Those were the good old days, when I was consolidating power in the Soviet Union, writing progressive policy statements such as this 1918 telegram to the Central Executive Committee of the Penza soviet: "We have now before us our final decisive battle 'with the kulaks.' We need to set an example. 1) You need to hang (hang without fail, so that the public sees) at least 100 notorious kulaks, the rich, and th

e bloodsuckers. 2) Publish their names. 3) Take away all of their grain….This needs to be accomplished in such a way, that people for hundreds of miles around will see, tremble, know and scream out: let's choke and strangle those blood-sucking kulaks."

Although I've been dead for close to 80 years, I've got a great new gig these days, shilling bowling shirts for my comrades at Mother Jones. I know what you're thinking: It's ironic for me to be hawking merchandise for a left-wing magazine that spends much of its time attacking capitalism for creating false needs. In fact, the May-June issue even slags the makers of  so-called alcopops–"sweet malt-based beverages" such as Mike's Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice–for pitching their product to kids in an attempt to "groom the next generation of drinkers."

But hey–they don't call it a commodity fetish for nothing, and the shirts only cost $39.95. That's pocket change you can probably expropriate from the kulak next door. And what other murderous head of state are you going to wear on your back to show how cool your are? Hitler, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Pol Pot–none of those guys is half as hip as moi.

My only fear is that my current employer is going to catch wind of my dubious past as a proponent of the death penalty, especially since they are rightly skeptical of that policy's efficacy. In 1922, as I was starting to pick off my former beloved revolutionary pals, I wrote to the people's commissar of justice, "It is my view that the leeway for applying the death penalty should be considerably enlarged, and should include all the activities of Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries, and others." Oh well, it's not like I let soda pop be sold in Soviet schools.