Monday, January 31, 2011

Saddam Hussein: Tyrant And Clothes Horse

On the 4th anniversary of the death of Saddam Hussein (plus one month exactly, because I forgot), here is another piece I wrote years ago (in fact on Dec. 29, 2006), when I had somewhat fewer readers, and am now shamelessly recycling.

If Saddam is executed this weekend, he will be remembered primarily as an evil Dictator who slaughtered his own countrymen, engaged in several futile wars, and brought ruin upon the nation he ruled. What will almost certainly receive less attention is the fact that he was a gorgeous hunk of Maleness, whose inimitable style cast a long shadow over men's fashion in the later 20th and early 21st Century.

Here is my tribute in pictures, then, to the man, his style, and his manly body.

Here is a shot of young Saddam from his pre-Tyrant days. This is the "spy in the tropics" look, familiar from early James Bond movies. One can imagine the young Saddam sent abroad like this on missions for the Baath Party, strangling regime dissidents beneath an inviting Caribbean moon.

Saddam as Country gentleman out for an afternoon's hunt. From this angle, its impossible to tell what exactly he is hunting. It might be Shia tribesmen.

From his years as Dictator, during which Saddam put away the flashy clothes of youth and came to prefer dark suits and conservative ties. The message here is one of competence and gravitas: "These people won't massacre themselves."

Perhaps Saddam's most serious mis-step. The green collar makes him look a bit like a mustachioed Kermit The Frog. Not a fashion disaster on the level of Bjork's swan dress, but a faux pas just the same. Who knows? Maybe it slayed 'em up in Kurdistan. Ba Hah! Anyway...

Saddam posed a la Marky Mark for his prison video, "Iraqi Rap". If a ruler is twelve inches, then clearly this man was born to be King.

However, IMHO Saddam never achieved the status of fashion God until he was captured by U.S. forces and put on trial. Here, his back against the wall, our man chose to discard his necktie as a symbol(see note) of Western rule for a more nationalist look. "I am an Iraqi!" is the message: "I killed 'em all for the good of the nation!"

Note: The neck-tie or, as it was once called, the Ascot, was invented by English Lord Thomas Dicky III in the 17th century, who also invented the "dicky", or false shirt-front, designed to be worn with the ascot.

This tie/shirt combination was made famous in Charles Dickens Hard Times, when Major Emery is rousted from the bath-house and, as the Paris Police wait impatiently for him to dress, shouts out the immortal words: "I've got my ascot in my dicky!"


Anonymous said...

I can't stop laughing, and yet I feel somehow that it is wrong of me to laugh - a man is being hanged, for goodness sake. But your post is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Fashion aside, I can't understand why this guy is being executed. I know that it may sound ridiculous, but was he not an ally of the US at the height of these particular charges? Wasn't Milosovic in court on similar charges for like three years before he died? Does anyone else wonder why Saddam is finished so quickly? I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it, I'm just wondering if I'm the only one who is surprised by the speed of the trial and stuff.

bigcitylib said...

They're killing him now because this is the last bloody gift George W. can pull from his sack. There's absolutely nothing left in Iraq for U.S. policy from now on other than going downhill.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I knew you could explain it to me in language that I understand!

Anonymous said...

A fitting end for a murdering, socialist dictator - to join his idol Stalin and soon to be joined by el commandante Castro.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, a fitting end for an American-sponsored dictator in an American-sponsored court to help legitimize an American-sponsored war. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

first time I seen that Saddam hussein wear big suit.