Syrian president’s iTunes features Chris Brown, Right Said Fred

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You know how you can tell the guy you're sleeping with is secretly a douchebag? By checking out his iTunes and seeing if he has a "songs to bone to" playlist, or if he's listened to "Two Princes" by the Spin Doctors an inordinate number of times. Apparently, the same methodology applies to determining whether or not someone is a murderous dictator, if the recently unearthed e-mails from Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's iTunes account are any indication. According to the Guardian, the man responsible for the brutal deaths of thousands has rather eclectic — and, if we're speaking frankly, rather shitty — musical tastes, ranging from country star Blake Shelton to '90s one-hit wonder Right Said Fred.

Although Assad's iTunes account is registered to another name — presumably due to U.S. sanctions prohibiting Assad and other Syrian government officials from engaging with "U.S. persons" — the secret e-mails obtained by the Guardian on the first anniversary of the Syrian uprising provide insight into the psyche of a man whose interests include watching his own people starve to death and boogying to LMFAO. If you're interested in creating your own Syrian dictator playlist, here's a sampling of some of the tuneage Assad gets down to:

  • Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, "Look At Me Now"
  • Blake Shelton, "God Gave Me To You" (sent to his wife a day after the shelling of Homs had begun)
  • New Order, "Bizarre Love Triangle"
  • Leona Lewis, "Hurt"
  • LMFAO, "Sexy and I Know It"
  • Right Said Fred, "Don't Talk Just Kiss"

In addition to these selections, the e-mails also indicate that Assad and wife Asma spent thousands of dollars on designer goods (including a fondue pot and candlesticks) during the rebellion. He also purchased several gaming and Harry Potter-related apps, which to me indicates two things: a) there's something to Hannah Arendt's thesis on the banality of evil, and b) that Bashar al-Assad has something in common with approximately 90 percent of the nerds I've dated. Scary.