View previous topic | View next topic

Despots / Dictators

Page 1 of 1

54685.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:32 am Reply with quote

The title 'Despot' was originally given to Alexius-Bela, nominated heir to the Byzantine throne in the 12th century. It came to be bestowed as an official appointment on the Emperor's sons-in-law and later sons, and then to foreign princes. Its negative connotations date from the Enlightenment, when the Byzantine way of doing things was regarded as axiomatically undesirable.

54688.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:37 am Reply with quote

Enlightened despotism has sometimes been regarded as a political ideal. Candidates for the description include

Catherine the Great
Frederick the Great

54694.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:53 am Reply with quote

A precondition of the desire to be a dictator appears to be megalomania: the candidate has to suffer from the personality disorder called Narcisstic Personality Disorder, NPD.

pathological narcissism is a maladaptive, rigid, and persistent condition that can cause significant distress and functional impairment. The disorder is defined by the DSM as characterized by an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), the need for excessive admiration or adulation, and a distinct lack of empathy, all of which are present in a variety of contexts. Its onset usually begins by early adulthood, with a failure to outgrow the normal narcissism inherent in adolescence.

At least five of the following are necessary for a diagnosis to be made:

    - is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
    - believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by other special people
    - requires excessive admiration
    - strong sense of entitlement
    - takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
    - lacks empathy
    - is often envious or believes others are envious of him
    - arrogant affect

According to Dr. Robert B. Millman, professor of psychiatry at New York Hospital, pathological narcissism can be induced in adulthood by celebrity, wealth, or fame. Sufferers such as billionaires, high profile business executives, movie or music stars, professional sportsmen, or politicians may develop a transient and reactive form of NPD complete with grandiose perceptions of themselves and their lives, a lack of ability to empathize with others, enraged reactions to slights (whether real or imagined), and other traits typical of NPD. This is referred to as acquired situational narcissism.

Could we attempt an on-air diagnosis of our celebs by checking for grandiosity and taking offence easily? In this way we could establish which of them has the necessary level of dysfunctionality to become dictator.

Superficial grasp of subject (with quotes) obtained from wiki entry on Narcisstic Personality Disorder.

54696.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:57 am Reply with quote

Q: Would you be a good dictator?

54702.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:07 am Reply with quote

The Great Dictator is the title of Charlie Chaplin's 1940 film satire. According to the IMdB, when it was first announced the British government, whose policy towards Hitler at the time was appeasement, said that they would ban it in Britain. By the time it came out we were at war, so things had changed.

When this film was released, Adolf Hitler banned it in Germany and in all countries occupied by the Nazis. Curiosity eventually got the best of him and he had a print brought in through Portugal. He screened it not once but twice. Unfortunately, history did not record his reaction to the film.

54716.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:24 am Reply with quote

Taking dictation involves the use of shorthand. Shorthand systems have been traced back to 4th century BC Greece and to Rome. The diaries of Samuel Pepys and some of Newton's notes use a shorthand system published in 1626 by Thomas Shelton (not a secret cipher). The most widespread system in the English-speaking world was Pitman's, although it was superseded in the US by Gregg's. While Pitman's system uses thick and thin strokes to distinguish related sounds, Gregg's uses only thin strokes and makes some of the same distinctions by the length of the stroke. In the UK, Teeline is now more commonly taught, and used, than Pitman.

There's also the stenotype, that device you see in American courtroom dramas. Trained court reporters can reach speeds of up to 300 wpm. Multiple keys are pressed simultaneously (known as "chording") to spell out whole syllables, words, and phrases with a single hand motion. There are various ways to combine letters to make different sounds; different court reporters use different theories in their work. Although most writing is similar, most stenographers cannot read another's work, as it is highly personalized.

Here's the keyboard layout:

54729.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:35 am Reply with quote

Kenneth Horne: Are you a despot?
Gruntfuttock: I donít go looking for it, if thatís what you mean!

Round the Horne (quoted from dodgy memory, Iím afraid.)

54756.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:00 am Reply with quote

Q: How many testicles did this man have?

F: One. Or any mention of the other one being in the Albert Hall.

A: That's not Hitler. But Hitler really did only have one ball.

Yes, this is a double-double bluff. By two accounts - that of Hitler's WWI company commander and the USSR's autopsy on his corpse - Hitler was indeed monorchid.

(There's an interesting link to the Wagnerian origins of Parsifal here, but I can't think of a decent excuse for a D-link ...)

Anyhoo ... the man pictured is not Hitler. Hitler's corpse was partially incinerated by bunker staff before the Russian troops overran Berlin. The intact corpse above, filmed by the Russians, is therefore not Hitler. His name is often given as Gustav Weler, but I can't get a fix on the definites. Either way, it's 100 per cent not Hitler.


Perhaps this is overdoing it, and it should just be a straightforward Hitler-balls question.

Interestingly enough, the famous words to the tune 'Colonel Bogey' were made up before Hitler's deformity was known.

54763.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:08 am Reply with quote

I think it's quite widely-known that there isn't a picture of Hitler's corpse, isn't it? That's why rumours of his survival were able to thrive. So maybe the photo isn't the way in.

54768.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:13 am Reply with quote

I think it's quite widely-known that there isn't a picture of Hitler's corpse, isn't it? That's why rumours of his survival were able to thrive.

Nope - the reason the survival rumours came about was because the USSR bagsied Hitler's corpse and didn't tell anyone they had it. Stalin thought a supposed Hitler on the lam was more useful for propaganda than a dead Hitler in a box in the Kremlin. And he was right. I have a very good book on this and am prepared to quote it at excrementally tedious length.

The photo linked to above is a still from Soviet archive film, which was only released in 1998. And there was widespread speculation at the time that it might be seized German film of Hitler before burning. But later analysis showed it wasn't (for a start, the corpse was wearing badly-darned socks) and the film was Russian. I think the world in general had lost interest by then, though.

I think you're right about the picture being a complication, thobut.


Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group