A glowing paean from one Führer to another—Tweety McTangerine on another Great Helmsman:
You have to give him credit. How many young guys—he was like 26 or 25 when his father died—take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden… he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss… It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. This guy doesn’t play games.
That’s how it’s often cited, but in the interests of scrupulous balance, the fuller transcript puts it in context:
If you look at North Korea—this guy, he’s like a maniac, OK? And you have to give him credit. How many young guys—he was like 26 or 25 when his father died—take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden—you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that? Even though it is a culture and it’s a cultural thing, he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss… It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. I mean, this guy doesn’t play games. And we can’t play games with him. Because he really does have missiles. And he really does have nukes.
“It is a culture and it’s a cultural thing” (like the KKK and NRA, eh?)—there, who says he doesn’t do eloquent anthropological refection? Eat your heart out, Bourdieu. This guy, he’s like a maniac, OK?
This photo reminds me of a classic story, perhaps originally from the USSR, but widely shared in this Chinese adaptation (Fieldworkers’ joke book no.23). Diplomatic as ever, I shall cunningly disguise the identity of the butt of the joke, notoriously dim, by calling him Lee Beng.
Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Lee Beng are taking a flight together with a group of schoolkids when the plane develops a fault and begins an alarming descent.
There are only three parachutes on board, so Deng Xiaoping grabs one, straps it on his back, and loftily declaring “The People need me!” he leaps out; soon his parachute unfurls and he glides down to earth. Jiang Zemin follows suit.
Lee Beng gets the idea, so he too grabs a bundle, straps it on his back, and exclaiming “The People need me!” he throws himself out after them.
One of the schoolkids looks down as he hurtles earthwards and cries out, “Waah! Uncle Lee’s got my satchel!”
Coming back to the leaders who inspired this post, one can but dream.