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  #1  
Old 05-20-2009, 12:21 AM
tomchak tomchak is offline
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hitler's testicle(s?)

Are Hitler and (recently) Franco the only world dictators who have been said to be monorquid? (monorchid? that's what they say in the recent Spanish article about it)
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  #2  
Old 05-20-2009, 08:59 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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There's no good evidence that Hitler had one testicle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_H...medical_health
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2009, 09:23 AM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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Welcome to the SDMB, tomchak.

A link to the column you're commenting on is appreciated. Providing one can be as simple as pasting the URL into your post, being sure to leave a blank space on either side of it. Like so: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...y-one-testicle
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2009, 12:49 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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Years ago I read a science-fiction story based on the supposed truism that all tyrants have some kind of physical defect. But one of the ones it listed was Napoleon's shortness, and that seems to be a bit of a myth, too (confusion over French vs. English inches).
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  #5  
Old 05-23-2009, 09:38 AM
dm6464 dm6464 is offline
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Well, there is also George Bush who happens to be the eighth wonder of the world... The ball-less wonder. Maybe that doesn't count... I don't know.
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  #6  
Old 05-23-2009, 10:51 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John W. Kennedy View Post
Years ago I read a science-fiction story based on the supposed truism that all tyrants have some kind of physical defect. But one of the ones it listed was Napoleon's shortness, and that seems to be a bit of a myth, too (confusion over French vs. English inches).
That probably was Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy.

Of course writers cater to the current understanding of their audience, but it's remarkable the degree to which the sf writers of that era could not remove the events of their childhoods from their futures.
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  #7  
Old 05-24-2009, 10:00 PM
coffeecat coffeecat is online now
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The Adventurer, C.M. Kornbluth
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  #8  
Old 05-25-2009, 03:57 AM
bengangmo bengangmo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
There's no good evidence that Hitler had one testicle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_H...medical_health
I think there's pretty good evidence that he had one testicle, but I think the question is whether it was only one or more than that
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  #9  
Old 05-25-2009, 08:22 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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I don't think there's very good evidence. More to the point, I think the whole business of trying desperately to find some way in which any given tyrant was "different" is pretty despicable. I'll use the word "different" rather than "having some kind of physical defect" as John W. Kennedy did because it's not always a physical trait and it's not always a defect except in some bizarre sense. There are a slew of popular claims about various tyrants having some supposed difference that makes them, in the eyes of the people making the claim, somehow inferior to other people. Various tyrants, including Napoleon, were supposed to be short. Hitler was supposed to have only one testicle. Hitler's last name was supposedly Schicklgruber.

These claims aren't about people looking for the truth about a famous person. It's about them trying to find something, anything, that they can make fun of the tyrant about. It gives these people a sense of power that they otherwise wouldn't have if they can feel that they are superior to the tyrant about something. They can thus say to themselves, "Yeah, you controlled a nation and killed millions of people, but that's O.K., because at least I'm not defective like you were." For these people, it's not enough to just say that the tyrant was evil. They have to assert that he was defective in some other way, even if it's about something trivial like his funny last name.

I can't prove for absolutely certain whether any given story about a given tyrant is wrong or not. Probably some of them are true. Furthermore, if you create a list of supposed defects (which, as I said, are rather dubiously defects at all) that is long enough, just by chance a large proportion of tyrants will have those defects, since just by chance any random set of people will have those defects, since they aren't rare traits at all. That's why I'm dubious about any story about some tyrant having some supposed defect.
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  #10  
Old 05-25-2009, 09:04 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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It's true that this is said about tyrants in the way you use.

That's not the WWII thinking I'm referring to. The writers unquestionably were using FDR's example as a base. Anybody paying attention at the time knew that it was his struggle against polio that turned FDR from a dilettantish aristocrat into a serious politician and rights advocate. The years-long battle turned him into a real man (somewhat as his Cousin Theodore had transformed himself from a sickly weakling into a dynamo). The extent to which he was crippled was largely hidden from the public, though, and so he took on the aura of someone who had conquered an unconquerable disease and so could do the same to any other enemy.

Stalin had a withered arm and so did Kaiser Wilhelm II, who started WWI. An unusual confluence of visible problems.
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  #11  
Old 05-25-2009, 08:06 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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So what about Hitler's club foot?
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  #12  
Old 05-25-2009, 09:27 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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I can't find anything in a quick Internet search that claims that Hitler had a club foot. Goebbels had a club foot, apparently.
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  #13  
Old 05-28-2009, 01:47 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Interesting. Now I have to wonder how I ever heard it that Hitler had the club foot. Someone was confusing Hitler with Goebbels?
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  #14  
Old 05-31-2009, 11:40 AM
Sobeita Sobeita is offline
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"Defects" in Tyrants:

I have to say, I believe that we all want to find some defect or distinguishing feature that sets tyrants apart from ourselves so that we feel more comfortable with our own identities. Hitler, like other 'tyrannical' leaders, was relatively ordinary - if you remember, he wanted to be an art student. (http://www.bytwerk.com/gpa/hitlerpaintings.htm)

If we found something 'wrong' or 'different' about every person we didn't like, we would only be denying the possibility of our own faults (and vilifying defects, for that matter!)
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  #15  
Old 05-31-2009, 06:18 PM
The Seventh Deadly Finn The Seventh Deadly Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
I don't think there's very good evidence. More to the point, I think the whole business of trying desperately to find some way in which any given tyrant was "different" is pretty despicable....

It's about them trying to find something, anything, that they can make fun of the tyrant about. It gives these people a sense of power that they otherwise wouldn't have if they can feel that they are superior to the tyrant about something. They can thus say to themselves, "Yeah, you controlled a nation and killed millions of people, but that's O.K., because at least I'm not defective like you were." For these people, it's not enough to just say that the tyrant was evil. They have to assert that he was defective in some other way, even if it's about something trivial like his funny last name.
Why is it despicable to make fun of genocidal tyrants? I mean, if anybody's asking for it, they are.

I think you're right that it makes the tyrant less scary to make him a figure of fun, I just don't see that as particularly bad. "Oh, yeah? So's your old man, Adolf!"

Of course, if you're posting this from your underground lair, my apologies, and I can see your point.
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  #16  
Old 06-01-2009, 02:34 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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It's despicable, first of all, because it's lying. Remember, that's what we're all about here on the SDMB, fighting ignorance. Are you claiming that it's O.K. to make up fake stories about which "defects" some set of tyrants have as long as it's some evil person who you're telling lies about? Lying is wrong no matter when it's done. People who make up fake stories about evil dictators are on the same level as people who make up fake stories about American politicians whose politics they disagree with. Someone who argues "I disagree with Obama's politics" (which I think you're free to do) and therefore it's all right for me to make up a story about how he actually wasn't born in the U.S. (which I don't think you're free to do)" is on the same level as someone who makes up stories about evil dictators.

Second, it's wrong because hatred is wrong. If you disagree with someone's politics, just tell us why you think those politics are wrong. If you make up things, you're just showing that you're not really interested in politics at all. You're interested in hating people. If you can't find enough small reasons to hate people, you make up large reasons to hate them. Get over your hatred. It doesn't make for good political discussions.

Third, it's wrong because those supposed "defects" are not signs of evil at all. The things that these dictators are accused of are that they are short or had undescended testicles at birth or were born with funny last names or any of the other supposed "defects." When you make up stories about dictators having these supposed "defects" what you are saying is that people with them are worthless. You're claiming that all short people or men with undescended testicles at birth or people with "funny" last names or any of the other supposed "defects" are worthless because of those "defects" and that's it's O.K. to associate evil dictators with them because the other people with those "defects" are so worthless that it's O.K. to lump together evil dictators with them.
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  #17  
Old 06-01-2009, 02:17 PM
Sobeita Sobeita is offline
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Hitler's Monorchism is...

...actually from a song mocking dictators. Enjoy!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler_...y_Got_One_Ball
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