I finally watched Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator, and thoroughly enjoyed it (despite all the body humor). In it he plays a North-African-oil-controlling-child-like-psychopath, and of course an absolute ruler deserves an absolutely over the top palace.
However, the first shot of his palace, looks remarkably similar to the first shot of the palace in FX's Tyrant. This got me thinking: Are these structures representative of the homes of Mid-East/African rulers, or are they representative of what we collectively assume they look like? Are these images helping us get a clearer picture of life on the other side of the world, or cementing an outlandish image in our collective conscience?