5 Things About Vikings That We Get All Wrong

Unfortunately, thanks to centuries of misinformation in scholarly histories and in popular culture, most people suffer from a variety of misconceptions about the Vikings, from who they were to when they were active to what, exactly, they did.

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Real life is boring as hell. That's why we rely on Hollywood to create cartoonish, over-the-top characters who could never exist in this world. Except, you know, when they do. Every once in a while, a person comes along who's somehow less believable than their closest movie stereotype. These six people will make you wonder if we haven't been living in a crappy Steven Seagal direct-to-video joint all along.

Chechnya's Dictator Holds His Own Mortal Kombat-Style Martial Arts Tournaments

The very first guy to pick up a sharp rock made the idea of one-on-one martial arts largely inconsequential. So Hollywood has to look for ways to justify a bunch of muscular dudes beating the crap out of each other for movies like Street Fighter and Enter The Dragon. Both feature dictators who live in some impenetrable, far-off land that can only be accessed by competing in their personal martial arts tournament.

It's a rather obvious and low-effort premise ... and one that also exists in the real world.

Ramzan "There Are No Gays In My Country" Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, owns the MMA promotion Akhmat MMA, through which he uses mixed martial arts to both push an overly macho nationalistic agenda and form his own security force out of the fighters who aren't good enough to make it as pros. Below is a real photo of Kadyrov, and not some wacky stock image we picked to illustrate this article.

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Ramzan Kadyrov/Instagram
He remains the only head of state to use the word “broseph” during a full session of the U.N.

While some of his fighters have actually made it to the UFC, it's not Las Vegas where Kardyrov hopes to make an impact. See, his ultimate ambition is to have the best fighters in the UFC come to his country to compete in a martial arts tournament ... to the death.

While the UFC's fighters have passed on the idea, Kadyrov is dead serious. He has already staged MMA fights between children, including his own. And in case you doubt his stomach for actual carnage, there have been credible reports of his regime rounding up, beating, and executing homosexuals for not being manly enough -- an odd decision for a man overtly excited by the prospect of shirtless men clutching one other.

A Shadowy Japanese Group Called "The League Of Blood" Assassinated Their Prime Minister

Hollywood writers love the idea of a super secret organization influencing world events through assassination. Look at Marvel's HYDRA, a mercenary group whose main purposes are 1) carrying out acts of terrorism in the name of mystical leaders, and 2) getting punched by Captain America. That first part sounds remarkably like an actual 1930s group that went by an even more dramatic name: the League of Blood.

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Mainichi Newspaper Company
Their evil matching costumes could use some work, but still, solid supervillainy all around.

The Ketsumeiden (also translated as "Blood Pledge Corps" or "Blood Brotherhood") was a secret Japanese organization working behind the scenes to either seize power or start a war ... whichever came first. The group was founded by Nissho Inoue, a far-right militant / radical Buddhist preacher. "Radical" Buddhist seems like a joke, but Inoue believed that Buddhism could be as violent as any other religion. His mix of nationalism and religious ideas attracted a whole lot of young people, some of whom happened to be serving in the military. Their goal? Purge Japan of the weak, West-loving politicians dragging down the nation.

After his followers killed two prominent business leaders, Inoue turned himself in to the police and the group's existence was revealed to the public. But they weren't done yet. Two months later, League of Blood members helped 11 young naval officers (who were upset about a treaty limiting the size of the navy) murder Japanese Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi. And the PM wasn't even their most high-profile intended victim for that day. That would be this guy:

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First National Pictures Inc.
Plans to assassinate the dog have never been conclusively proven.

Charlie Chaplin was touring Japan and hanging out with the prime minister's son that day, so the League of Blood figured they might as well kill him too. Obviously they didn't, possibly because they mistook him for Hitler and thought, "Eh, that guy's all right."

After the assassinations, the group went to trial and ... received wide public support for their patriotic fervor, getting off with light sentences. Sometimes movies are better.

British Authorities Think A Gentleman Thief Orchestrated A $2.5 Million Book Heist Solely To Grow His Collection

Movies love the master criminal who goes to insane lengths to steal extremely rare and valuable artifacts, all to improve the feng shui in their living room. We've seen it in movies like The Thomas Crown Affair, wherein Pierce Brosnan is a bored billionaire who steals art for his collection, and Entrapment, in which Sean Connery is a wealthy castle owner who clearly organizes heists to gawk at his partners' butts. There's also David Niven in the Pink Panther movies, because you have to be a charming British gentleman to pull this off.

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United Artists
They won’t even sell you that jacket if you’re not a high-profile jewel thief.

In real life, rich people don't carry out elaborate, potentially life-risking capers for kicks. No, they pay other people to do it. At least, that's what some investigators believe following the theft of $2.5 million in rare books back in 2017. Three thieves climbed atop a London warehouse roof, drilled through the reinforced fiberglass skylights, and rappelled 40 feet down, all the while dodging the motion sensor alarms. If the Mission: Impossible theme isn't playing in your head right now, you're dead inside.

The warehouse held numerous rare books, dating as far back as the 15th century, which were about to be shipped to a book fair in California. What's interesting is that the thieves ignored other valuables and went straight for the crates containing the books, grabbing only the rarest (including seminal works on physics and astrology) and leaving the rest. This, combined with the absolute pain in the butt it would be to try to fence world-famous 500-year-old books, led law enforcement to speculate that the thieves were working for a wealthy collector. They even had a Gotham-City-worthy name for him or her: "The Astronomer."

A year later, there's still no sign of the books, so we have to conclude that they're either populating the bookshelf of some rich asshole or helping a deranged supervillain construct an old-timey rocket to reach the sun, where he will build a sun-throne and rule Sol for eternity. Or burn up, whatever.

Red Bull Specializes In Making Sports Movie Bad Guys

Every sports movie needs a rival team, and every rival team follows two rules: 1) they're clearly better-funded than the protagonists, with nicer uniforms and equipment, and 2) they're jerks. It's like there's some big company that goes around buying sports teams and turning them into soulless machines focused on nothing but winning and profits. Actually, there is. It's called Red Bull.

At some point, the company that made billions by mixing bull testosterone with sugar decided that merely sponsoring teams wasn't enough, and started outright buying them. They don't just write the checks; they also rebrand the team entirely, completely destroying their history. Look at the soccer team SV Austria Salzburg, which had a century-long legacy in their distinctive violet kits. Red Bull instantly renamed them "FC Red Bull Salzburg," replaced their violet kits with white uniforms sporting the Red Bull logo, and changed the stadium to the "Red Bull Arena." They even declared, "this is a new club with no history." We're pretty sure they would have branded the players like cattle if it was legal.

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Markus Dallarosa
“Our slogan is ‘Gives you wings.’ What part of that says you can also have roots?”

Naturally, fans weren't happy with these developments, so they went and formed their own team. They have the same badge (or as close as legal law will allow), wear the old distinctive violet, and play in a smaller stadium right down the road. This is the part of the movie where the new team slowly climbs to the top of the league, beats the Red Bull shills in a nail-biting penalty shootout, buys the team back with the prize money, and unites the city. Unfortunately this isn't a movie, so Red Bull Salzburg is dominating the Austrian league, while SV Austria Salzburg is three leagues below them, in the middle of the table.

Air Force General Curtis LeMay Was The War Room Antagonist From Every Michael Bay Movie

Independence Day, Armageddon, all the Transformers movies -- at some point, a menacing, transparently unlikable warmonger will roar "JUST KILL EVERYBODY" so we have a nice and tidy antagonist to root against. But we all know that things are more black and white in the movies. That guy's not real, right?

Meet Curtis LeMay.

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United States Air Force
No, thank you.

LeMay was an all-around jerk. He routinely belched during meetings just to interrupt (and undermine) his fellow joint chiefs. He sometimes took tactical shits in his rival co-worker's private toilets while leaving the door open, just as Lao Tzu suggests three times per page in The Art Of War. Once he was asked to put out his cigar to avoid igniting an explosion on a bomber, and replied, "It wouldn't dare."

LeMay was an Air Force general who made a name for himself with a vicious but ultimately effective strategic firebombing campaign against Japan during the War in the Pacific. Unfortunately, his success there turned him into a bit of a one-trick pony. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he vehemently advised President Kennedy to preemptively bomb the island, and compared Kennedy's suggested Naval blockade to the Nazi appeasement at Munich. Once, when asked for a policy recommendation on Cuba, he declared, "Fry it." Dropping nukes was his solution to everything, from international incidents to being overcharged at the grocery store.

We're not kidding. LeMay continued advocating for the attack on Cuba even after the missiles were withdrawn.

One Former Nestle CEO Puts Hollywood Evil Rich Guys To Shame

Hollywood loves to hate the ruthless, greedy, absurdly inhumane CEO. Think Montgomery Burns, Mr. Potter, Ebenezer Scrooge, everyone on Mr. Robot not wearing jeans, and so on. But those are one-dimensional stereotypes. Real-life CEOs are far more complicated.

Except for Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.

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Antonio Cruz/ABr
To save time, go ahead and get your torches and pitchforks out now.

Brabeck-Letmathe is the former CEO of Nestle. It was under his tenure that the company started going into third-world countries and digging their own wells as sources for bottled water. Local governments let them do it because the company promised to create jobs for the villagers ... but they said nothing about creating a sanitation emergency. In villages like Bhati Dilwan, Pakistan, the Nestle wells both took water away from the locals and made their remaining drinking water dirty, resulting in a bunch of children getting sick. But hey, at least this awful situation was great for Nestle, as their bottled water became the only drinking option in town. It doesn't matter if Nestle makes the very best when the other option makes you uncontrollably poop yourself.

While most CEOs carefully backpedal when confronted with their shady business practices, the Notorious PBL dove headfirst into supervilliany. When questioned on the practices of his company, Brabeck-Letmathe stated that access to water isn't a right. Not "caught on a hot mic" said it -- he proudly spouted that nonsense, then went home to do shots of crude oil or something.

He has since left Nestle, gone back on the idea, and tried to claim that his quote was taken out of context. But if you want to know the truth, head on over to Bhati Dilwan and ask them what they think of the man. Just remember, that isn't Nesquik they're drinking.

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