November 20, 2007

The Seven Wonders of the Totalitarian World

Esquire has a nifty feature on the Seven Wonders of the Totalitarian World, including my favorite, the Giant Libyan Fist Crushing the U.S. Fighter Plane.

And then there's the statue of the late dictator of the Congo, Laurent Kabila, one Big Man who wasn't ashamed to look big.

But, how did they overlook North Korea's Hotel of Doom?

This Pyongyang beauty is 1083-feet-tall, 105 stories, 3000 rooms, and unfinished because it's structurally unsafe.

The North Koreans have removed it from all maps because its failure has brought shame upon the nation, but it still casts its vast, malevolent shadow over much of the low-lying capital.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Hillary's Lesbian Lover said...

All this proves is what we already know from living in the US - our government overlords have zero taste in art. Just look at the crap the NEA funds, or any sculpture at your local library or airport.

mnuez said...

I've loved that hotel since I first laid eyes on it while Google Earth snooping around Pyongyang.

Wanna see it yourself? Google Earth Pyongyang and look around for a huge shadow.

Lazy? Ah, fine. Here ya go: 39° 2'10.78"N 125°43'49.89"E


Sideways said...

I don't get it, there's no picture of it in google earth, it's covered by a drawing. Bizarre.

manindarkhat said...

But, how did they overlook North Korea's Hotel of Doom?

Peter Hitchens, conservative brother of Christopher, wrote about the hotel in a good but depressing report on NK here:

Communism is an ideology invented by a power-hungry, paranoid ethnic minority who wanted to keep the majority firmly under surveillance and control. NK shows that the ideology works for a minority of a mono-ethnic society. Christopher Hitchens shows how bad the ideology is for prose too: his brother is a much better (and wiser) writer.

Martin said...

I prefer your abreviated list, Steve. There's something fitting about a list of "seven wonders of the totalitarian world" that only has three entries.

"What do you mean, there are only three wonders? There are seven! What are you, some kind of counter-revolutionary?"

"Yes, seven. Seven wonders. I can see them now, comrade chairman."

Anonymous said...

Hotel Doom? "You can check out any time you like,but you can never leave...":)

michael farris said...

The hotel is not strictly speaking a monument and was never finished. I myself would go for the Juche monument in Pyongyang instead of the bland monument they chose.

The coolest is definitely the Turkmen guy's statue made (or just plated?) with gold and made to rotate so that it's always facing the sun.

daveg said...

Is the US "embassy" in Iraq the next to be added to this list?

Anonymous said...

There used to be seven wonders but four have been airbrushed away for reactionary crimes.

apeal to reason said...

Here's an interesting fact: Fidel Castro has constructed no great monuments to himself. In fact, there isn't a single monument to any living person in Cuba, though statues of Che Guevara and Jose Marti abound. Castro makes a big deal out of this in his speeches, and as far as I can tell, its true.

The most significant monument in Cuba is the Jose Marti memorial in the Plaza de la Revolucion
Construction on this project, however, was begun under Batista's reign.
Does anyone have any ideas why Castro has chosen not to construct great monuments to himself (or indeed many monuments at all) while other dictators have?

Martin said...

" daveg said...

Is the US "embassy" in Iraq the next to be added to this list?

11/20/2007 3:32 PM"

It would be a good candidate. I'm sure it will look - as do most all American embassies - like a bunker.

I'd also nominate the FBI building.

Steve Sailer said...

I imagine Castro considered neighboring dictator Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic (which Castro tried to invade in 1959) a bad role model. Trujillo was a megalomaniac who had 1800 statues of himself erected, and renamed the country's capital city and tallest mountain after himself. Back in the good old days when the Guinness Book of World Records had lots of cool stuff in it, Trujillo and Stalin competed for some record, such as "Most Egomaniacal Dictator."

jaakkeli said...

There are many dictators who've chosen a "plain" image. Of course, the way people work, this tends to create an even more lasting personality cult. Those golden statues of the nutty narcissists will be torn down, but what the people erect in spontaneous reverence will last forever.

Castro is a smart guy who's not blinded by banal vanity, so he may well be calculating his image for immortality. As a commie, he has the best role model possible: Lenin was famously ascetic and displeased with the cult of personality he saw coming and he even declared that he should not be built any special memorial. Of course, they honoured his wishes by not only making him one of the most revered cult figures in human history, but by turning him into a monument himself!

Anonymous said...

What was so bad about Trujillo? I only know who he is from reading Jared Diamond's "Collapse," in which he gives Trujillo a chapter-long blowjob for his forest conservation policy.

Jared's also a big fan of the Tokugawa shogunate.


Proofreader said...

They should have included Miterrand´s Louvre Pyramyd, a perpetual monument to his megalomania and a grotesque tribute to freemasonry , which defaces the once beautiful Louvre.

Yes, European socialist presidents qualify as totalitarian leaders. Just look at Blair´s ugly Millenium Dome and other atrocities inflicted on Britain.

Ron Guhname said...

I like these monuments more than the modern stuff I see here in the U.S. At least they show passion, drama, and muscularity, and not least of all, make sense. Megalomania I get.

David said...

"Ozymandias" by Percy Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land/Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone/Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,/Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,/And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command/Tell that its sculptor well those passions read/Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,/The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:/"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:/Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Anonymous said...

Its not quite so dramatic but what about Ceau┼čescu's Palace?