So You Wanna Be a Dictator – Part III

So You Wanna Be a Dictator – Part III

Adrienne BoettingerWednesday,19 March 2014

The Snap:

We’ve come to the end of our DIY dictator guide and have saved the best for last. Not that we didn’t love watching an eye doctor, gamer, perennial college student, and law school dropout become heinous asshats responsible for the deaths of millions of people. But playing World of Warcraft can make you think you can take over the world and the other three were probably just trying to find a way to pay off their student loans. In our final installment, we’ll examine how a shoemaker and a baker became ruthless rulers.

The Download:

5. Shoemaker (Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania)

Before he ruled Romania for over two decades and gained the facial expression of a constipated platypus, Ceausescu had a massively crappy home life. That seems to be a theme of many dictators; maybe they were told along their career paths that they should make their childhood as emotionally scarring as possible. Nicolae was the third of 10 children and never got past elementary school. After running away from his abusive and alcoholic father, young Nicolae became an apprentice shoemaker. From there it was only a matter of time before his reign of maniacal terror.

If only his time as a shoemaker had given him any business sense, maybe he wouldn’t have bankrupted his country. Unfortunately for his countrymen, and eventually for Nicolae himself, he was crap at running a country. Despite an iron grip on power, Nicolae was eventually overthrown, put on trial for genocide and executed on Christmas Eve, 1989. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

6. Celibate Baker (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam)

Being a baker is a tough job. First, you have to get up super early. Secondly, you have to try not to eat all that delicious baked yumminess. That requires a ridiculous amount of willpower. That sounds like a lot of stress right off the bat; imagine with all that you decide to make your life even more of a bummer by swearing off sex.

Perhaps Ho Chi Minh’s fate was sealed when just before becoming a baker, he worked as an assistant cook on a steamer bound for France. Think of modern day cruise horror stories with ships basically turning into rivers of poop and passengers being so freaked they refuse to even get in a bathtub again. Now think about what those boats must have been like in 1911 before the invention of the all-you-can-eat buffet and luxury suites with their own toilets. It’s no wonder that after surviving early 20th Century cruising, becoming a baker in Boston and deciding to be celibate once he returned to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh would go on to slaughter his opponents, take their land and help prolong a war that would eventually claim more than 3 million lives.

Ho only lasted as a baker for about a year but he did so in one of the classier restaurants in Beantown that also has the distinction of being where Malcolm X worked as a busboy and Emeril Lagasse BAM-ed for the first time. Ho’s record of celibacy is a little less certain. He certainly tried to project an image of being everyone’s favorite Uncle Ho and part of that image was that after becoming a revolutionary, Uncle Ho gave up nookie. The legend of his status of a born-again virgin remained so ingrained in the Vietnamese psyche that as recently as 2002, censors in that country demanded that the deletion of the more salacious bits of William J. Duiker’s bookHo Chi Minh: A Life.

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Hat Tips:

The Atlantic, BiographySydney Morning HeraldNew York Times, Image Credit: Flickr



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