History is pockmarked with moments where events spiral off into the surreal. These are the times that transcend simple acts of fate and hint boldly at the greater forces battling for our eternal souls. The profoundly disconcerting intersection of leftist icon Tina Fey and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is certainly one of those instances.
As we shall see, the correlation between these two figures must rank up there as one of the most challenging yet prophetic messages that we, as a culture, have ever faced. Ultimately, the Fey/Bonaparte paradigm can teach us much about the dangerous kinship of populism and dictatorship.
Statistically Impossible Commonalities
One is imperious, the other imperial. Both began their lives as rambunctious children traumatized by body-awareness issues. Forced to look inward for strength, they survived and eventually thrived but their youthful inadequacies forever defined their caustic ambition as adults. Napoleon Bonaparte was driven to overcompensate for his short stature, while for Tina Fey it was her social status as a “nerd.”
The dictum Imagination rules the world can be described as the foundation of their personalities. Indeed, it was Napoleon who coined the phrase, and Fey who dedicated her life to it.
Tina Fey received a facial scar and spent years trying to cover up the truth of its origins. Napoleon’s facial scar was famously kept off his official portraits and even his death mask. The two share a height of 5 feet, 5 inches. Both adamantly refused to own cats, which is particularly unusual for Fey in an age when feline photos are the hottest thing in comedy.
Against immense odds, Bonaparte and Fey evolved into revolutionary leaders in their respective arenas, yet never felt fully satisfied with their glories. Both harbor a delirious hatred of cigarette smoke, yet a profound love of cheeses, fried snacks and other unhealthful foodstuffs. Both were raised Catholic, yet abandoned their faith to embrace the emptiness of nihilism as well as a devotion to the metric system. Both are credited with having a strong intellect, an hypnotic charisma and a wonkish obsession with the minutiae. Fey once claimed to have purchased the Rosetta Stone, while it was Napoleon who actually discovered the artifact in the Egyptian desert.
And that is merely the tip of the iceberg…
A Concise Catalog of Cosmologically Inexplicable “Coincidences”
• Napoleon was proclaimed the Emperor of France on May 18th. Tina Fey was born on May 18th.
• Fey’s middle name is Stamatina, which means “this morning” in Italian. Napoleon was born in the morning to an Italian family.
• Napoleon was a Colonel in his formative years (in Corsica), while Fey wrote a column under the name, “The Colonel,” in her formative years.
• Fey and Napoleon have a strange disdain for their feet. (The Emperor famously hated paintings that showed feet).
• Neither Fey nor Napoleon first became famous in their capitals. The future Emperor launched his military career fighting battles far outside of Paris. For Fey, Chicago was her launching pad, far removed from New York City, the epicenter of comedy and American media.
• Early in his career, Napoleon wrote a pamphlet entitled, Le souper de Beaucaire. The revolutionary content of this work impressed men such as Augustin Robespierre, and helped establish Bonaparte as more than just a soldier. Meanwhile, Fey wrote the script to Mean Girls, the revolutionary content of which helped establish her as more than just a comic actress in the eyes of important men at Paramount Pictures.
• Fey married at age 32, while Napoleon’s first wife was 32 when they married.
• Napoleon was obsessed with a particular type of Eau de Cologne and used eight quarts of it for rubdowns every month. The scent’s chief ingredient? Lemons! On the popular television series 30 Rock, Tina Fey played a character named “Liz Lemon,” and was often referred to as simply, Lemon!
• Powerful figures advised Napoleon and Fey to make crucial moves that brought their already successful careers to new heights. For Napoleon, it was Talleyrand who counseled him to come to Paris and form a government. Lorne Michaels famously counseled Tina Fey to leave Chicago for New York’s Saturday Night Live, where she eventually formed a writing team that led the city’s comedy business. (Curiously enough, Lorne Michaels and Talleyrand look very much alike.)
• Once in power, Napoleon granted himself luxurious accommodations, just as Fey has done in New York City. Both also used their power to appoint their brothers to significant positions in their respective fields. (Napoleon appointed his brother, Joseph, King of Spain. Fey named a character on 30 Rock after her brother Pete and appointed him Producer of TGS.)
• Just as Napoleon could have wiped out the Vatican and the power of the Catholic Church in 1797, it was assumed that Fey could have obliterated Sarah Palin’s political career in 2008. The two held back from their brutal assaults for remarkably similar reasons: they understood that the resulting power vacuums would allow far worse enemies to rise to prominence.
• Also in 1797, Bonaparte forced the surrender of Venice. It was the first time in 1,100 years that the city-state was so defeated. Tina Fey forced the surrender of Saturday Night Live’s oligarchy of male writers, the first female head writer of a comedy show to do so in 24 years. (Interestingly enough, there is a numerological correlation between these figures. If you add all the numbers together: 1+1+0+0=2, and 2+2=4, thus “24”).
• Horatio Lord Nelson, Bonaparte’s arch nemesis, shares countless similarities with Fey’s arch nemesis Amy Poehler (in addition to the obvious psychological ones.) One caveat to this relationship, however, is the fact that Nelson died in battle in the middle of Napoleon’s career, thus depriving the Emperor of a worthy foe. Poehler, on the other hand, is alive and continues to threaten Fey’s hegemony. Indeed, it could be argued that the Fey/Poehler dynamic is giving historians a first hand look at what the Napoleon/Nelson rivalry may have looked like had the English naval master survived.
• Napoleon’s difficult campaign in Russia is quite emblematic of Tina Fey’s experiences with 30 Rock. Both were prolonged, painful and controversial among experts of the time. To conflate their numbers, both Fey and Napoleon used a bit of disingenuous propaganda. Napoleon tried to connect his war with the battle for Polish independence, while Fey attempted to make 30 Rock about gay rights.
• Napoleon’s death was on 5/5/1821 (5+5+1+8+2+1=22 and 2+2=4). Tina Fey’s birth was on 5/18/1970 (5+1+8+1+9+7+0=31 and 3+1 also =4!)
• Despite their vast successes, both published only one book. Tina Fey wrote Bossypants and the Emperor penned Clisson et Eugénie. Both can be summarized as slightly fictionalized biographic works in which the authors attempt to portray themselves as heroic figures in tragic times. Bossypant and Clisson, eerily enough, draw their tragicomic inspirations from the same obscure 18th-century German novel, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers.
The Mutual Physiology of Two Faces
• Square Heads: “They are known as the metal shape face. These people are thought to have an intelligent, analytical and decisive mind. The face shape is associated with an aggressive and dominating nature.” Certainly a key factor in the lives of these two subjects!
• Straight Foreheads: Indicates a progressive thinker who is often, “misunderstood as a child and thought of as dumb, but in fact, he may be very intelligent.” Sometimes they have difficulty working under pressure and lose control of their situations (as Napoleon did in Russia, and as Fey often has with her writers).
• Low Eyebrows: Common with expressive people who are quick to take action, but who have a tendency to get impatient and interrupt others. These people are initially optimistic, but become antagonistic if criticized.
• Narrow, Downward Noses: While round, plump noses are associated with warmth and good natures, the type that Fey and Napoleon share is quite the opposite. Theirs are narrow and point downward, which indicate a selfish, skeptical and slightly perverted nature. In addition, their narrow nostrils are linked to adamant personalities and a strong fear of the mental power of others. (Which underscores the fact that, despite being leaders in their fields, Fey and Napoleon are both harsh and skeptical of anyone whose keen intellect could pose a threat to their own.)
In the final analysis, we must wonder at the lesson that the heavens has laid out for us. Is Fey on the cusp of a 100-day reign of power with her new television series, Tooken, that ends in flight and then exile? Will the Poehler/Lord Nelson figure live to triumph in this epic saga of historical wits? Is God himself sending us a message about the nature of evil, about the real truth of liberalism? There are far too many similarities between Napoleon’s loyal military following and his populist notions and Fey’s radical feminist army and her extremist liberal agenda. If empowered, could Fey quickly devolve into the sort of reckless dictator that Napoleon became?
Whatever the grave lesson here, we need to be weary of all movements led by psychologically-tortured outcasts who redefine themselves as intellectual elitists. For in the end, we, the public, become mere corollaries to their abstract equations, or even worse, farce for their sneering amusement. The very real dilemma of living our daily lives never factors into their calculations for cerebral triumphs. Yet we, the public, are the ones who suffer most from such machinations.
Selected Quotations From the Shared Psyche of Tina Napoleon Fey Bonaparte
• On Bold Decisions:
“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” — Napoleon Bonaparte.
“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute” — Tina Fey.
“Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue” — Tina Fey.
“In politics stupidity is not a handicap” — Napoleon Bonaparte.
“There are no mistakes, only opportunities” — Tina Fey.
“There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed” — Napoleon Bonaparte.
• Credit Where Credit is Due:
“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way” — Tina Fey.
“Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them” — Napoleon Bonaparte.
• Anonymous Critics:
“The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know” — Napoleon Bonaparte.
In reference to anonymous comment sections on the internet: “It’s the repository of all human garbage. It’s the worst place in the world” — Tina Fey.
• The Opinions of Others:
“Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions… Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it” — Tina Fey.
“One should never forbid what one lacks the power to prevent” — Napoleon Bonaparte.
• Domestic Rituals:
“Throw off your worries when you throw off your clothes at night” — Napoleon Bonaparte.
“What Turning Forty Means to Me? I need to take my pants off as soon as I get home” — Tina Fey.
“Respect the burden!” — Napoleon Bonaparte/Tina Fey.