Badmouthing the regime

January 7, 2011

Oh dear peasants, I often think gladly about the amorphous nature of the borders of the IRJ. After all, if you are to escape My cruel iron fist, you must first know the way out. And I’m sure that you who have attempted this escape and still live so that I might make examples of you, you are well aware of the vague nature of the borders of this mighty republic and the god-like omnipotence of My secret squad of doom who steal you from your homes in the middle of the night.

Imagine if you were able to find a border and slip away in the dark to a neighbouring country hostile to the IRJ. (Yes, Canada, My steely gaze is firmly fixed on you.) The shame you would bring on yourself and the UN inspectors you would entice into My seat of power! Just the thought of dealing with those pusillanimous bureaucrats is nearly enough to put me off of these delightful and expensive truffles. And to think that My dear friend and loyal ally Kim Jong-il has gone through exactly this. And that the contemptible peon who slipped out of the great Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would spill state secrets in a book! That was written in French with Pierre Rigoulot and translated into English by Yair Reiner! Naturally, I sent a fruit basket to help sweet Jong-il through the terrible betrayal by a seemingly loyal citizen.

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Dictator Style

November 3, 2009

Citizens, it is no secret that autocrats worldwide are fascinated by the doings of our colleagues. Whether it is weaknesses to exploit in upcoming conflicts or new punishments we might like to implement in our own realms, there is always something we can learn to enhance our own heartless power base. Which is of course why your Sugared Treat was delighted at the release of a little book called Dictator Style: Lifestyles of the World’s Most Colorful Despots by a peon named Peter York. The title promised delights on the level of reading Mugabe’s diary (which I did once when we were staying in the same luxury resort at the expense of our starving citizens back home. That man has problems.), but sadly, the content did not provide the voyeuristic amusements I hoped for.

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School Days!

September 7, 2009

Aaah, citizens. When the wind blows cool through the soon-to-be-bare trees, our thoughts drift inevitably to education. And not just for children, peons. No, education is a lifelong activity in the IRJ. Naturally, your Tall and Mighty is not just referring to classes in school, those hours when you learned the meaning of flagella and quanta, but the day-to-day experiences of learning your place in the world and understanding the rules of the greater society around you.

As citizens of the Republic, you are always on guard, wary of any infraction of the many rules of this great land. But no matter how vigilant you are, you know, citizen, that you are not perfect. You had an egg for lunch, didn’t you? Even though you knew that Your Rising Sun is allergic to eggs and therefore, no one in the land is permitted to enjoy their fetal flavour. Or perhaps you forgot that yesterday was the Day of Dance? I did notice that you barely raised your arms in celebration yesterday on your way to work.

So even though you profess your understanding and awareness of the safety harness Your Word on the Street so kindly provides, you trangress these sacred laws many¬† times in a single day. And citizens, I think you know that this cannot continue. Don’t make my Secret Police work any harder. Already, they work so much overtime that their spouses are essentially widowed. Review the list on your fridge and make sure that your everyday actions are free of offense to your Fast and Furious. Let the autumn breezes remind you of your duties to the State!

Dinner with Mugabe

August 3, 2009

It will come as no surprise to you that your Alpha and Omega strives to keep up to date with Her fellow authoritarian leaders. Generally, this means online chats and facebook updates, but from time to time, I like to step away from the screen and let My eyes run over the pages of that mysterious and old-fashioned media, the book.

Yes, I cannot deny that I like to kill trees as much as you do, My ordinary citizens. But while you use your dead trees to warm your homes in cold weather, your Superior Mind uses the timber to fashion paper filled with tiny letters.

But with so many pages filled with tiny letters, it is a task to decide which of them shall accompany your Serious Intellectual to her majestic home. So naturally, your government favours any and all books with a dictatorial bent. A recent acquisition was Dinner with Mugabe by some random peasant by the name of Heidi Holland.

Now, any book that spends over two hundred pages discussing my good friend Robert Mugabe should certainly be a worthwhile read. And in the hands of someone more competent or terrified of punishment, perhaps this could have been. But the letters that fill these pages were flat and without resonance. Althought dear and ruthless Bob’s life has been a fascinating and active one, I would think he had done nothing but collect garbage his entire life judging from the writing in this book.

If a dictator can feel admiration for someone in the ruled class, then I will admit that I appreciate the access Holland was able to gain to Mugabe’s friends and family. The interviews and stories she gets from them are by far the most compelling part of her tale. But her story falls short when it comes to personal narrative. Trying to portray herself as a liberal wanting to see Zimbabwe freed of colonial rule, she inserts herself into the story whenever possible. But her connection to Mugabe is tenuous and certainly not enough to sustain the narrative arc she seems to perceive as dramatic.

Naturally, My complaints are many, because as a Harsh Leader, I would have everything under My control. But the fact is, peons, there are few books detailing the heroic acts of My comrades. So despite its flaws, this Despot believes that this book will teach much about the ways of the dictator. But do not worry, it will not be required reading. In this at least, you have the power of choice, peon.