Leading Blog






10.28.06

They Came, They Conquered, They Collected: What Dictators Collect

Weekend Supplement

An article in Psychology Today by Caroline Tiger asks the question, "What drives the need for dictators to collect material possessions that are over the top?"
Tyrants collect money and power, but they also amass bric-a-brac like the rest of us. What, if anything, do their material leanings signify?

Possible motives for collecting abound: compulsion, competition, exhibitionism, desire for immortality and the need for experts' approval.

Stephen Anderson, professor of neurology at the University of Iowa, has come closest to finding a biological basis for the yen to collect. In 2004 he showed that damage to an area of the prefrontal cortex can lead to hoarding—the pathological cousin of collecting. Anderson doubts that's the case with the dictators. "Most people who have injuries to this part of the brain are not going to be successful," he says, "even in a bad-guy way." Still, he wouldn't be surprised if the bad guys' neural wiring were somehow amiss.

Saddam HusseinThe Man: Saddam Hussein

The Stash: Sci-fi fantasy paintings featuring menacing dragons and barely-clad blondes.
Adolf HitlerThe Man: Adolf Hitler

The Stash: Bavarian 18th century furniture. Munich antique dealers were ordered to keep an eye out for him.
Kim Jong IlThe Man: Kim Jong Il

The Stash: 20,000 videos (Daffy Duck cartoons, Star Wars, Liz Taylor and Sean Connery flicks)
Idi AminThe Man: Idi Amin

The Stash: Several racing cars and loads of old film reels of I Love Lucy reruns and Tom and Jerry cartoons
Joseph StalinThe Man: Joseph Stalin

The Stash: Westerns with Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable and John Wayne. Stalin also inherited Joseph Goebbels's films.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:23 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Weekend Supplement



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