UPDATE: an enterprising reader offered another intriguing datapoint Bill noticed it on ubiquitous billboards during a trip to Libya. Laura found more examples. So we think we have found an intriguing phenomenon: autocrats and outré pop stars look alike. Photographic evidence:
And one last uncanny visual correlation:
There are many directions we could go with this, but we choose for now the point that many dictators look ridiculous, and ridiculously unaware of how ridiculous.
A plausible explanation: when you rule by terror, you wind up surrounded by sycophants and yes-men, so you lack even the most rudimentary check: don't look like a bad parody of yourself.
Which makes dictators vulnerable to some day the population waking up and noticing the Emperor has No Taste. This is of course just a jokey symbol of a much broader disconnect between the dictator and their society's real needs.
We wrote this post before the happy news of Tunisians overthrowing their dictator, and don't intend the post to have any particular relevance to that event (the ex-dictator's taste level is depicted below), but we do hope that more and more peoples can get rid of rulers who are a bad joke.