Saddam as Darth Vader: New Scientist and Tate Gallery Ponder Connections

Over at New Scientist, a fascinating article on a fascinating Tate Gallery, London, exhibition about the effect of pop culture–particularly Star Wars–on the late Saddam Hussein.  At first, you chuckle.  Then you hear some of the parallels–and you may still chuckle.

Saddam had an unpublished fantasy novel (which I’m dying to read now!  Can you imagine that hitting the market–a Fantasy novel by Saddam Hussein??) and a few more than coincidental leanings towards the dark figure.  However, from the article in New Scientist, the threads are thin.  I would have loved seeing more than a few stretches of metaphorical underpinnings to Saddam’s tactics and beliefs.  While the helmets are a nice touch; as they prove to be Vaderish, so are WW2 gasmasks….  and we aren’t making Hitler/Darth connections (though I would say that Darth was modeled after Hitler, obviously— Brown Shirts and Stormtroopers, no stretch there).  Since the Darth mask was most probably modeled on a gasmask, I think the Gallery is taking a bit of liberty to say that Saddam had a Darth-fetish.  

Consider this point the author, Jessica Griggs, makes:

Could this all be coincidence? Perhaps, but you’ll be convinced otherwise once you’ve read about Sadaam’s private militia’s uniform. Before his son, Uday, handed over control of the Fedayeen Sadaam (translation: “Saddam’s Men of Sacrifice”) to his younger brother he wanted to give his father something to remember his work by. So he presented Saddam with their new uniform: black shirt, black trousers and a ski-mask over which a strikingly Darth Vader-esque helmet was placed.

It seems more likely that Uday had a Star Wars ideal in mind for his father–since there are few other instances of Star Warsian artifacts.  The upraised swords is, at best, coincidental, made more science fiction-y by the artist who makes the swords into light sabers.  The “lurid” fantasy posters are from a different genre of literature.  The fact that the artist is a friend of the person who designed the poster for Star Wars is called a streeeeetch.  The paintings in Saddam’s “Safe House” were both by a fantasy artist.  The link here. 

It’s a stretch to see these fantasy paintings connected to Darth Vader of science fiction.  Yep, Saddam might have been a fan of fantasy/science fiction…but beyond that is the artist’s license. 

It is not unbelievable that science fiction pop culture might have an influence on dictators.  Certainly their heroes have a powerful pull on the Western World; couldn’t their powerful dictators be enamored by fellow dictators?   Since few of them survive in Science fiction past their novel series, I don’t think ANYONE would want to model an empire on them.  

Unless, of course, you can make sure that you have no plucky twins, rescued and hidden at birth, lurking somewhere in the galaxy, ready and waiting to upset your glorious domination.

Now, I want to see the article on Saddam Hussein’s fantasy novel.

6 thoughts on “Saddam as Darth Vader: New Scientist and Tate Gallery Ponder Connections

  1. Shweta March 10, 2010 / 9:59

    *brain kersplodes*

    Also, hi 🙂

  2. Väder i Thailand September 29, 2010 / 9:59

    Ska man på semester i Las Vegas eller Sharm el-Sheikh så vill man oftast ha bra väder och det är ju bara att hoppas att man får det.

  3. World War II Cosplay May 26, 2011 / 9:59

    A vast selection of reproduction WW2 German uniforms,smocks and service shirts ,tunics,overcoats, Waffen SS Camouflage,Winter reversible parka coats,

  4. Charmain July 4, 2014 / 9:59

    It’s hard to find your website in google. I found it on 22
    spot, you should build quality backlinks , it will help you to
    increase traffic. I know how to help you, just type in google – k2 seo tricks

  5. weight loss January 7, 2015 / 9:59

    Interesting info you post on your blog, i have shared this article on my facebook

  6. Genia September 26, 2016 / 9:59

    If you are interested in topic: earn online vet help – you should read about Bucksflooder first

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s