MARTY RUSSELL: Kim Jong Il? No, Kim Jong dead

By Marty Russell

Kim Jong Il? No, Kim Jong dead.
News of the North Korean dictator’s demise this week rounds out what has become the Year of the Dead or No Longer Functioning Dictators, although technically you can’t count Osama bin Laden as a dictator unless he was ruler of a bunch of sand.
This past year saw the deaths or deposing of Kim Jong Il, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (according to one of many spellings), Bin Laden and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, just to name a few. All had been around for quite some time and, besides being despots, they all shared something in common – funky hair. It’s as though one of the first requirements in the Roberts Rules for Dictators (Fourth Edition) is hair: funky.
OK, so we don’t know what Bin Laden’s hair looked like under that turban and perhaps that’s why he never rose to the rank of dictator but the beard was funky enough. As for Mubarak, he reportedly dyed his hair to maintain a youthful appearance to deprive his subjects of any hope that he was actually getting old and might one day need a pyramid.
But look at Kim Jong Il and Gaddafi. Notice the resemblance? They could have been separated at birth from the look of them, except that Kim Jong Il was really only about 2 feet tall without his elevator shoes. It’s as though a footnote in the Rules for Dictators reads, “The bigger the hair the badder the dictator.”
Both had these bouffant hairdos that looked like they used a jet engine for a blow dryer.
And what’s up with those shades both despots wore? The big, heavy frames with the tinted lenses. Did they think those made them look cool, because I can guarantee you they’re not cool where they are today. Or is it that they just didn’t want their subjects to see their eyes because, as has been said, the eyes are the window to the soul and they obviously didn’t have one.
Or maybe it’s just that both of them had an Elvis fixation. After all, Elvis was The King and that’s apparently what both of them aspired to be. I guess we can count ourselves lucky that neither of them dressed in gold lamampé jumpsuits, at least not in public.
But I suppose there are lessons to be learned here in looking back at these two dictators. Never trust anyone in a leadership position who has big hair and heavy-frame glasses. No, wait. That was Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich. And come to think of it, most of the members of Congress.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 222 Farley Hall, University, MS 38677, or by email at

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