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Turkmenistan:

The UPI reports:

Turkmenistan President Saparmurat [for life] Niyazov has deemed recorded music a negative influence on society and banned it from public events, TV and weddings.

Niyazov has already banned opera and ballet from the former Soviet state, saying they were unnecessary, the BBC reported. . . .

He has also banned car radios, closed all hospitals except those in the capital and renamed calendar months after his relatives, the BBC said.

This account suggests that the calendar renaming plan is a bit more complex than that, but it still prompts a puzzle -- though the answer should be so obvious that it's really more a reminder than a puzzle: What other (and likely much more influential) month renaming plan does this echo?

Also, another question: Does the music ban cover Living Colour's Cult of Personality?

Thanks to Daniel Schmutter for the pointer.

David P. Lyons (mail):
President Saparmurat Niyazov's plan to rename the months of the year sounds more than a little like the renaming project that occured during the French Revolution.
8.23.2005 7:22pm
John Jenkins (mail):
What about Julius Caesar's reorganization of the calendar, in the process naming one after himself (with Augustus doing the same later)? Is that the one to which you are referring?
8.23.2005 7:38pm
James Ellis (mail):
The link indicates that President Saparmurat is also proposing to rename the days of the week--for instance, Young Day for Tuesday and Spirituality Day for Saturday. I don't know about the other days, but it appears from the photo that Turkmenistan already has an official Bad Hair Day.
8.23.2005 8:23pm
pct:
Niyazov's revolutionary plan will eventually have its Thermidor.
8.23.2005 8:43pm
Milhouse (www):
I think Eugene is referring to July and August.
8.23.2005 9:14pm
David P. Lyons (mail):
Milhouse is likely correct: I overthought the question.
8.23.2005 9:22pm
Gary Leff (mail) (www):
It was first reported that Niyazov proposed renaming months in August, 2002.
8.23.2005 9:47pm
Gary Leff (mail) (www):
Whoops! Eugene's BBC link was from August '02, I guess I didn't need to go researching it and should've just clicked the darn links he provided ... Ahem.
8.23.2005 9:50pm
JohnAnnArbor:
Niyazov is going for a North Korea-like cult of leader-worship. I'll bet if he ever met Kim Jong Il, they could hold a contest to see which of them could get one of their aides to do progressively more degrading things.
8.23.2005 11:21pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Several Roman emperors named months after themselves. Augustus renamed Quintilis and Sextilis after his great-uncle Julius (July) and himself (August). Caligula renamed September 'Germanicus' after his father, and Domitian September and October 'Germanicus' and 'Domitianus' after himself, but neither of these schemes 'took'. Finally, Commodus, psychotic son of Marcus Aurelius, assumed twelve names (the Oxford Classical Dictionary only gives Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, and Hercules Romanus, "the Roman Hercules" -- I'd have to do further research for the rest), and thus was able to name all twelve months after himself. This must be what EV is referring to. Do I win a prize?

I've heard that Commodus is the villain of the movie Gladiator, but haven't seen it, so can't say for sure. Is the month-renaming in the movie?
8.24.2005 1:09am
Christopher:
Commodus' twelve names were: Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius.
8.24.2005 2:33am
Buck Turgidson (mail):
Gladiator (2000) is simply a more high-tech remake of The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). The plot twists might have been more interesting in the remake, but the original had better actors.

Bonus trivia: in the 1964 version, Richard Harris was initially cast as Commodus (according to IMDB), but was later replaced by Christopher Plummer. Harris got the last laugh, as he played Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator.
8.24.2005 3:26am
Ted (www):
"From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old."
8.24.2005 8:45am
SimonD (mail):
but the original had better actors.
I don't think that's entirely air - Joaquin Phoenix (sp?) seems to be a very good actor, and no-one's going to dispute the chops of guys like Derek Jacobi or Oliver Reed. Big Russ? I think he can act (cf. A Beautiful Mind), I'm just not sure how much of it he does in Gladiator. "Russell! Stand over there and look beefcake and dangerous!" - sounds pretty much like his off-screen persona to me!
8.24.2005 12:12pm
SimonD (mail):
By the way, more on-topic - is Turkemenistan the former SSR which uses boiling in oil as capital punishment? Or is that another proto-despotic former Soviet central-Asian Republic?
8.24.2005 12:13pm
B. B. (mail):
Turkmenbashi has been a source of amusement for me and my law school friends over the last few years. Do some more searching and you'll find some really bizarre stuff. I think there's a giant sculpture of a shoe that he commissioned, if I remember correctly. He told men to chew on I believe bones of goats to make their teeth strong instead of getting caps and such for rotting teeth. Banning lip synching wouldn't be all bad though, at least we'd be rid of Ashlee Simpson's brand of "entertainment"
8.24.2005 4:06pm
Amanda Butler (mail) (www):
It's rare that I avoid Turkmenbashi-bashing, but in the spirit of the comment guidelines, I thought I should point out that the fate of political opponents in Turkmenistan is generally exile to Vienna.
8.27.2005 4:45am
Amanda Butler (mail) (www):
It's rare that I avoid Turkmenbashi-bashing, but in the spirit of the comment guidelines, I thought I should point out that the fate of political opponents in Turkmenistan is generally exile to Vienna.
8.27.2005 4:45am