Friday, September 29, 2006

A kinder, gentler military dictatorship














Has anyone else found the recent reception of Pervez Musharraf (above, center) in the United States rather strange? Barring for a moment the bizarre sideshow of he and Hamid Karzai squabbling while Bush looks on smiling, Musharraf is also here promoting his book and appearing on the Daily Show. When Jon Stewart puts Musharraf in the "Seat of Heat," we all get a good chuckle out of him saying that both Bush and bin Laden would "lose miserably" in a Pakistani popular vote. Of course, the joke's on us and the Pakistani people: Bush and bin Laden can't possibly win, not when you're guaranteed to win every Pakistani election in the foreseeable future, you asshole. Truly a strange day when we shoot the shit with illegal usurpers of power.

Musharraf's book title, In the Line of Fire, is a source of endless amusement, if only because it could easily be subtitled In the Line of Fire, because after all I did Lead a Military Coup. Intrigued by the idea of a dictator writing a memoir, I have searched for other such books, but it seems they don't make 'em like they used to. I found a few good ones, though, especially Our Socialism Centered on the Masses Shall Not Perish by Kim Jong-Il. Does anyone know of any others?

7 Comments:

Blogger curry king said...

Scantron,

For a nice look at a REAL dictator, please see: "An American Life: The Autobiography of Ronald Reagan"

11:01 AM  
Blogger Josh the Hippie Killer said...

Curry,
Why do you hate Ron Reagan. What did he ever do to you, other than win us the Cold War?
According to my blog-handle, I should kill you

4:40 PM  
Blogger Robot said...

Musharraf with koalas, Thai babies giving flowers to tank drivers, and this rather appreciative NY Times Op-ed on the Myanmar military junta--

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/29/opinion/29myint-u.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

-- it all just makes me think there might be something attractive after all about men with guns and fatigues.

As for biographies, I'm not sure this counts, but "THE FASCIST COUP AGAINST VENEZUELA: 'THE LIFE OF THE HOMELAND IS AT STAKE HERE': SPEECHES AND ADDRESSES DECEMBER 2002 - JANUARY 2003" by Hugo Chavez is one of my favorite reads.

Also, Slobodan's 2006 tour de force (he was too dead, unfortunately, to have reaped any financial or legal benefits) written with Ramsey Clark, "The Defense Speaks: For History and Future" is another good one.

Lastly, though not quite a biography, former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor's "Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity" continues to surprise me as a work of tremendous erudition for a man who in addition to being a brutal murderer, and -- as documented extensively on this blog -- a former student at a rather backwards and mediocre American university, has somehow found the time to write countless academically superb accounts of identity formation (not to mention his work on Hegel). It his work, I believe, that will stand the test of time, rivaling past greats such as Fidel's work on Che, and Hitler's triumphant "Struggle."

(Speaking of Hitler, how about that art work of his, huh? It doesn't sell for too much (you could probably get your hands on one for under 10 grand), it's got his John Hancock on it (how many orders to kill Jews did that very same signature beget!), and the art itself is fairly decent from what I've seen. These were before the days, after all, when his Parkinson's disease (or whatever the hell he had or didn't have in those unfortunate final months and years of his) hadn't made his hand such the uncontrolable shaky little beast that it was. "You try painting with a hand that shakes like a fish out of water," he told Stalin in the dog days of summer, 1940, when the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was at its most delightful height. Stalin, famously, remained silent, producing what one trend in 1970s German historiography to called, "an awkward moment." Recent archival work in the Rossiisky Gosudarstvenny Voenny Arkhiv, Moscow, has uncovered
the truth behind the story: that Stalin, a product of the landlocked Shida Kartli province of Georgia, had never seen a live fish out of water. Unable to decipher the meaning of Hitler's expression, Stalin ordered all of the fish removed from the Yenisey River and brought to him alive. By the time the fish arrived, however, it was too late. Their death had rendered them immobile. "Nooooooo!" Stalin famously yelled. "These fish, though they are alive, are barely shaking at all." There was no fooling this man: Hitler had lied to him about the state of fish out of water. It was at this moment, Dr. Luba Vinogradova maintains, that Stalin first suspected that a German invasion would be soon underway, and that the Fuhrer's art work would some day fetch thousands of dollars at British auctions.)

5:13 PM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

As you know, I love the Charles Taylor joke more than anyone else on the planet. Thank you.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

Look, Robot, that is a PANDA, not a fucking koala. Save your Charles Taylor jokes and your delightful Stalin stories for a time when you can distinguish between a fucking bear and a fucking marsupial. FUCK.

5:13 PM  
Blogger The Sheriff said...

Gaddafi has written several books, and I believe some works of poetry too. Charles Taylor seems to be a bad man, robot, why do you like him? I thought that we are not supposed to like bad men?

6:02 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

You know, Curry, it's funny because I thought about using Reagan, but something stopped me. He was a nasty old goat for sure, and no one gives a shit on this blog if I call Reagan a dictator, so what kept me? Perhaps we all have an innate moral compass after all...

Meanwhile, if Bush ever writes a memoir, it will probably read something like this:

http://www.americanwriters.org/works/first_faulkner.asp

11:53 PM  

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