Looting Kadafi's loot
I feel like Mr. McGuire in "The Graduate," buttonholing Dustin Hoffman with advice ("Plastics").
Here it is, the first word that should have come to mind as the triumphant Libyan rebels ransacked the louche luxuries of chez Kadafi:
No, actually. Think bigger. Christie's. Or Sotheby's.
You rebels simply do not have the hang of this thing.
I understand the thrill that must have been pumping through you as you crossed the threshold of the "Brother Leader's" various cribs and saw that dazzling display of pricey junk.
What better way to humiliate your enemy than by parading his embarrassing tchotchkes through the streets?
How could the strongman of Libya, the "Guide of the Revolution," show his face after his angry people showed the world what tacky yet expensive taste he has?
Among the objects discovered in Kadafi’s quarters in Tripoli, and at a Kadafi family oceanfront compound:
A golden scepter.
A white baby grand piano (with a tray of mixed nuts still sitting on it, party-ready).
A white leather bed with Fendi cushions.
Dolce and Gabbana jeans.
A gilded sofa shaped like a mermaid with the face of Kadafi's daughter.
A 65-inch plasma TV to watch it on.
A toothbrush with a gilded handle.
Gratifying as it surely was to brandish this stuff before CNN's cameras, revenge is a dish best served cold, and to have gathered up all this high-priced junk and shipped it off to be auctioned for cold cash would have been even better.
It might have raised millions for the depleted Libyan treasury -– and given Jon Stewart enough comic material for a week. Nothing destroys a tyrant's power like mockery -– remember Lorenzo St. Dubois' petal-plucking Hitler in "The Producers"?
Eight years ago, Iraqis made off with Saddam Hussein's crap: the bone china with the Iraqi eagle, the ghastly, grandiose paintings that would even have been mortifying on black velvet. (Why do dictators have such frightfully gaudy taste?) That too was a lost opportunity, but as then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said of the general looting and pillaging in Baghdad, "Stuff happens."
The Filipinos did it better. After dictator Ferdinand Marcos was deposed and routed, his infamously well-shod first lady, Imelda Marcos, gave some of her notorious shoe collection to a museum. You can evidently still see hundreds of pairs of her size 8.5 Ferragamos, Chanels and the like in the Manila museum, which charges about $1.18 cents admission -– not much, but there's always the dough you drop in the gift shop, right?
Clan Kadafi had a Lamborghini, a golf cart, a Jacuzzi and a gold-plated rifle. But nothing, I'm sure, would have brought in the bids like Kadafi's personal treasure, the piece de resistance: a photo album filled with pictures of his "darling black African woman," the one he called "Leezza, Leezza, Leezza" -- former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
We’ll start the bidding at $50,000. Thank you -– from the lady in the back with the hair-flip and the pearls …
-- Patt Morrison
Photo: A Libyan rebel tackles a statue inside Moammar Kadafi's compound in Tripoli. Credit: APTN