On tyrants and their sunglasses.

— Kim Jong Il, North Korean Dear Leader:  His lady-who-lunches specs added some compensatory bling to his polyester Maoist pantsuit.

— Moammar Gadafi, Libyan strongman:  His Bonoesque shades kinda tied the whole Star Trek Sheikh chic look together.

— Jim Jones, suicide cult leader:  He may have worn his oversized aviators to hide his pharmacologically dilated pupils.

— Augusto Pinochot, Chilean generalissimo:  His tinted Foster Grants covered the fine lines and puffiness that come with late nights of oppressing the masses.

— Wojciech Jaruzelski, the last Polish communist leader (arguably not a despot):  His eyes were supersensitive to light, having been snowblinded whilst a refugee in Russia. (This one is true.)

— Darth Vader, Sith Lord of the Galactic Empire:  They came with the helmet.

Dictators probably wear sunglasses for the same reasons rockstars do: to appear badass, and to cultivate an aura of mystery. (What will he do next?  Who knows. So I’d better obey).

We don’t advise our mediators to wear shades.  Eye contact is ever so important in mediation…and deceptively simple.  New mediators often find it a bit unnatural to emulate a tennis referee, constantly swiveling to and fro twixt parties.  And it’s easy to fall into the trap of furiously taking notes at the expense of peeper-to-peeper contact.  But along with our ears and mouths, our eyes are essential to mediation, allowing us to show empathy, compassion, and understanding without breaking the flow.  Not so easy to do behind RayBans.

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