To all you pretenders out there: Rich Tater is about to get something off his chest. And it's not my medal collection, either.
Here's what has me worked up today (on day 1 of my Palm Beach vacation, no less). Anyone, and I mean anyone with autocratic ambitions should immediately stop stop STOP hobnobbing with the hoi polloi!
It's embarrassing, it's beneath you all, and it is absolutely the last thing any self-respecting dictator should ever want to do. And if you aren't the type to embarrass easily, think about it in practical terms--you are better off, as I wrote in my book, keeping above the fray of the day-to-day, affecting a 'not seen' but definitely heard and felt (especially that) approach to your person.
Look, you want public unveilings of your august self on a balcony above overflowing piazzas? Go ahead! You want to be beamed onto every TV and device! Mahzel-tov! You want to have your secret police beat the living daylights out of opposition leaders and parade them under your likeness once they can barely stand? Ok by me!
But never, never get out there and engage with the masses on their terms. It's vulgar. It's dirty (be enough of a germophobe to stay away from them). And it's beneath you. But there's more.
Image By John French Sloan - Michigan State University Library, Digital Collections: The Masses, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10133330
Here are some folks I hold personally responsible for slumming with the masses and giving us all a bad name:
- Silvio, Silvio, ma che cazzo fai? McDonalds? My stomach is churning just thinking about it!
- Remember Hugo Chavez? What the hell was he up to with his love of soccer, his fawning over soccer stars like Diego Maradona?
- And Donald ... oh Donald .. please please save the ketchup for the fries, ok? You're taking identification with the forgotten man a little too far!
Not only do I intensely dislike such behavior for aesthetic reasons, I also think you are setting yourselves up to fail, as I suggested above! So pay attention: a tyrant who becomes overly tied to the vulgarities of the people risks losing face, losing respect, losing dignity -- and that is one step closer to losing it all. Plus, I hate to see it!
So just don't do it.