Radar Mag on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Fascist"


Shana Ting Lipton over at Radar provides fascinating entertainment mag style revelations about 10 selected despots, from Than Shwe's moving Myanmar's capital over an astrological reading to Kim Jong Il's use of enslaved actors to make movies; from Kirsan Ilyumzhinov of Kalmykia's chess mania and alien abduction to Belarus's Aleksandr Lukashenko's banning of ads featuring foreign models in an attempt to support the domestic beauty industry.

My favorite: Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov forbids TV newscasters to wear makeup.

NEXT: Don't Call it a Comeback. Really, Don't.

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  1. Saparmurat Niyazov must identify a bit much with Jack Nicholson’s The Joker.

  2. Can we put Muammar’s Amazon bodyguards in the Italian Satanist movie?

  3. I’m confused: who is that in the first picture? It looks like Michael Jackson doing a music video, except his face isn’t really anything like Jackson’s.

    Here’s a morbid question: if you had to live in a dictatorship, which one would you choose?

  4. “Here’s a morbid question: if you had to live in a dictatorship, which one would you choose?”


  5. USA, maybe Spain.

  6. Hillary’s penthouse.

  7. For the record, there is no such country as “myanmar”. The LEGITIMATE leader of Burma still calls it Burma, and as far as I’m concerned, the thugs in charge there could call it disneyland for all I care.

  8. Frankly, Borat should have been set in Turkmenistan rather than Kazakstan. Maybe they decided against it because it would be too hard to tell reality from fiction.
    More fun decrees from their insane president for life:
    – The education system indoctrinates young Turkmen to love Niyazov, with his works and speeches making up most of their textbooks’ content. The primary text is a national epic written by Niyazov, the Ruhnama or Book of the Soul. This book, a mixture of revisionist history and moral guidelines, is intended as the “spiritual guidance of the nation” and the basis of the nation’s arts and literature. With Soviet-era textbooks banned without being replaced by new publications, libraries are left with little more than Niyazov’s works.
    – In April 2004, he ordered young people not to get gold tooth caps or gold teeth, suggesting instead that they chew on bones to preserve their teeth
    – In February 2005, ordering the closure of all hospitals outside Ashgabat, saying that if people were ill, they could come to the capital; also ordering the closure of all rural libraries of Turkmenistan, saying that ordinary Turkmen do not read books anyway
    – In November 2005, ordering that physicians swear an oath to him instead of the Hippocratic Oath
    – In December 2005, banning video games, stating that they were too violent for young Turkmen to play

    He also built a gold plated statue of himself over the countries tallest building.

  9. Given the Dear Leader’s heroic role as a media producer, I’m surprised he has not invited the gang over to shoot a pilot for PBS himself.

    Recasting the McLauchlan group with Than Shwe’s astrologer as host and Kim Jong Il as the Washington Times rep would place Kirsan Ilyumzhinov far enough left to do as the Newsweek mainstreamoid. Aleksandr Lukashenko’s domestic beauty industry could provide 26 lissome attache case bearers to convey the questions of the week.

  10. I’ve always wondered why Quaddafi never promoted himself to General. I mean, if you’re ruling the country, why Colonel?

  11. An attempt to display humility, I guess? Technically, Gaddafi holds no official position at all in the Libyan government.

  12. “Here’s a morbid question: if you had to live in a dictatorship, which one would you choose?”

    The one with a citizen who’s most likely to look at a dictator who thinks that beauty will be their national economic savior, or talks to aliens, or builds giant rotating statues of himself, realizes that such a person is a boil on the ass of humanity, and then commence to popping said boil with a .308 pin moving at around 2,000ish fps.

  13. Oh, and the following story from The Onion seems applicable.

    Rebels Immediately Regret Seizing Power In Zambia

  14. Why isn’t Mugabe on the list?

  15. Prince Charles looks less than perfectly comfortable in that picture…

  16. Here’s a morbid question: if you had to live in a dictatorship, which one would you choose?


  17. Prince Charles always looks like that.

  18. Mugabe lacks the fashion flair to make a list like that.


  19. I think the Good Charlotte Guy had intercourse with someboday famous.


  20. Has it ever occurred to anyone that dictatorship represents the ultmimate in privatization?

  21. The problem with dictators these days is that there’s no competition, no natural selection. In the old days, a nutcase incopetent boob would have had his little fief torn apart and absorbed by his neighbors. Now anyone can be a dictator, and look what you get.

  22. Belarus’s Aleksandr Lukashenko’s banning of ads featuring foreign models in an attempt to support the domestic beauty industry.

    This from the guy with the Mother Of All Combovers.

  23. Turkmenistans Niyazov-

    “The Neutrality Arch was erected by Saparmurat Niyazov to commemorate Turkmenistan’s official neutrality. The structure is the tallest building of the capital Ashgabat. It features ornate inscriptions and a glass elevator. Atop the monument is a gold-plated statue of Niyazov which rotates 360 degrees every 24 hours so as to always face the sun.” (wiki)

    “c’mon kids, president niyazov’s golden idol is pointing right at us, you know that means its time for dinner”

  24. How does that crazy Turkmenistan guy hold his country together?

    Not by religion, not by hereditary rule and not by communist brain washing.

    Why do they take shit from this guy?

    More weird stuff from wikipedia

    All citizens are required to carry internal passports, noting place of residence–a practice carried over from the Soviet era. Movement into and out of the country, as well as within its borders, is difficult. Turkmenistan is dominated by a pervasive cult of personality extolling President Niyazov as Turkmenbashi (“Leader of all Turkmen”). His face adorns many everyday objects, from banknotes to bottles of vodka. The logo of Turkmen national television is his profile. The two books he has written are mandatory readings in schools and public servants are quizzed yearly about their knowledge of its contents. It is also common in shops and homes. Many institutions are named after his mother. All watches and clocks made must bear his portrait printed on the dial-face. A giant 15-meter (50 feet) tall gold-plated statue of him stands on a rotating pedestal in Ashgabat, so it will always face into the sun and shine light onto the city. President Niyazov has recently proclaimed that anyone who reads his book Ruhnama three times will “become more intelligent, will recognise the divine being and will go straight to heaven”

    His face is on clocks!

    We joke, but can you imagine living with such insanity?

  25. The film director kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il died earlier this year. Incredible story.


  26. The film director kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il died earlier this year. Incredible story.

    A very interesting story indeed. Shin Sang-Ok and his ex-wife kidnapped, forced to re-marry, and then being make to make films for Kim. Despite being treated well, they eventually escaped (a gilded cage is still a cage, I suppose) and apparently stayed together until Mr Shin’s death.

    This reminds me of the story of a U.S. serviceman who defected to North Korea, a decision he soon came to regret as he was subject to years of torture, brainwashing and being made to act in Kim’s films (as the token Evil White Guy). He also was forced to marry someone – a Japanese girl kidnapped from Japan.

    And what do you know, Mr Shin directed 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain which starred the great Hulk Hogan.

  27. Republic of Kalmykia? Really?

    I’ve never heard of it. I thought I pretty much knew all the countries but that’s a new one on me.

  28. pug:

    It’s a Russian autonomous zone; essentially an independent state that is tied to Russia for economic and diplomatic purposes.

  29. Aresen | December 12, 2006, 6:24pm | #
    Why isn’t Mugabe on the list?

    Not enough class. You can’t just be a dictator, you have to have a sense of style.

    Now, an elite squad of virgin amazon bodyguards, THAT’S class.

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