Monday 12 August 2013

5 world leaders who turned out to be secret nerds

They say that geeks will inherit the Earth, and they're probably not too far off. While it's easy to see the people in power as soulless power-hungry vessels, you have to remember that they are also, sometimes, real people too, and real people like things.

From tyrants to relatively benevolent politicians, world leaders have had a history of choosing hobbies that seem bizarre, especially after a long day of perpetuating war crimes.

So I give you 5 world leaders who turned out to be geeks.

5.  The Italian Prime Minister Plays With Little Plastic Men And Balls

While the previous Italian Prime Minister was more inclined to host "bunga-bunga" parties and generally acting like a wrinkly old pervert, the new guy, Enrico Letta likes to keep his hobbies more in his pants. No, Mr Letta is the kind of guy who likes to get a bunch of friends together and flick tiny plastic guys around some green felt. Yes, he loves a game of Subbuteo, does the PM, which is like a jock version of Warhammer where players take turns thwacking a comedically disproportionately sized ball around trying to score goals. It's essentially football for Borrowers.

4. A Former French President Loved His Stamps

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was many things, but tall was not one of them. Perhaps then that is why he chose to collect very tiny things, which to him probably looked like full-sized works of art. That's right, Sarkozy was a philatelist - a stamp collector, the so-called 'hobby of kings'. Some people scoff at the notion of carefully removing stamps from their envelopes and slipping them into a scrap book, but as a collector myself I can't mock.

What's more is that he got a little help from a very famous lady when starting his collection - Queen Elizabeth II, to be precise. The monarch gave him a set from the Post Office to celebrate the Entente Cordiale, and presumably to keep him out of the wine cellar.

3. One Dictator Was Never Lonely With His Film Collection

Say what you will about Kim Jong-Il. No, seriously, have at him because he was a worthless tyrant. When he wasn't sending his people to worker camps and perpetuating famine across North Korea, this despot loved to sit back and watch a film. Actually, Kimmy was a huge cinemaphile who owned more than 20,000 DVDs and videos, some of which we hope were Step Up 2: The Streets and Maid in Manhattan.

The tiny dictator wrote several treatises on cinema and once said: "A film with an untidy plot cannot grip the audience and define their emotional response." Presumably his plot to destroy the lives of people in his country got a pretty big emotional response.

2. The President Of The United States Gets Down With Conan and Spider-Man

Speaking of tyrants - I jest! Ok, it's not a huge secret that early on in his Presidential career tried to win over the nerd crowd with a Vulcan hand signal and an admission that he can't get enough of those comic books that the kids like so much these days.

President Obama is apparently quite the collector, with two of his favourite comics being Conan and Spider-Man. It's a shame, then, that he didn't take Uncle Ben's advice about great power and great responsibility and continued one of the largest domestic spy operations in human history. To be fair, it sounds like Conan was more his role model.

1. The King Of Jordan Boldly Went Where No Monarch Has Gone Before

If you asked any Trekkie (or Trekker, if we're being politically correct) what they would do if they suddenly inherited millions and became supremely powerful I'm sure most would say that they would re-create the Starship Enterprise or get one of the casts back together for a special episode starring themselves. King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein of Jordan is a rich and powerful guy - hence the King part. He also happens to be a huge fan of Star Trek. However, for him it's not enough to own all the boxed sets and probably several thousand uniforms, King Abdullah II actually starred in an episode of Star Trek Voyager.

Yep, that totally means he has his own IMDB page. He was actually a prince when he starred in the episode Memory Alpha, a surprise that was arranged by his US advisor. However, because he wasn't a member of the Screen Actor's Guild, he wasn't allowed any lines. Bummer.

Here he is in all his 5 seconds of glory:

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