Thursday, April 11, 2013

See North Korea and Die

Ever since former NBA “star” Dennis Rodman – God’s fool or what? – spun over to Pyongyang to buddy up with Kim Jong Un, I’ve been keeping half an eye on what up in North Korea. My interest has, of course, escalated over the last couple of weeks, as Kim Jong Un’s madness has escalated.

I don’t feel bad that I’m scratching my head over what his intentions might be. Apparently, the folks in the State Department who are expert in things North Korean are scratching their heads as well.

If he’s not “just” sabre rattling for some internal political purposes, and he’s really daffy enough to launch a nuclear strike on South Korea or the US, all I can think of is that, as the third generation “leader” to brutalize, brainwash, and starve (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, culturally) his countrymen, he’d only nuke us in the hopes that we’d nuke him back, then run in with a souped up Marshall Plan and rebuild his country.

Scary, indeed.

But while I was roaming around trying to find out the latest Kim Jong Un news, I stumbled across the website for the mendaciously-named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Anyway, the website is a combo-package of tourist boosting, business development, and online store.

Having chosen – for whatever limelight-licking reason - to tour North Korea, Dennis Rodman is, apparently, what my father used to call a “mental midget”.

Who other than a mental midget would want to spend time in Pyongyang?

Pyongyang is the replica of past, present and future of the country, which one can learn and experience the history, brilliant culture, wisdom, talents and gorgeous manners of the Korean people as well as the breathtaking city views.

…It is blessed with Mangyongdae, native home of President Kim Il Sung and Kim Il Sung University where the revolutionary achievements of General Kim Jong II are associated. Pyongyang is richer in monumental structures including the Grand Monument on Mansu Hill and the Tower of Juche Idea.

Just how grand is the Grand Monument on Mansu Hill?

See for yourself:

The Grand Monument on Mansu Hill shows in formative art the immortal history of the Korean people who conducted revolution under the leadership of President Kim Il Sung.

That would be Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, I believe. (And we get unnerved by the prospect of rising generations of Kennedys and Bushes!)

Then there’s the Monument to Party Founding,party_founding a design depicting “the hammer, sickle and brush seized by a worker, a farmer, and an intellectual.”

Just what is there about totalitarian countries that make them go in for such ghastly and soulless “art”, so devoid of any spirit, wit, or beauty? This is not, of course, particular to North Korea. I’ve been to East Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary, and have seen plenty of remnants of the monumental works erected under the Communist regimes. As if living under one of them wouldn’t have been depressing, terrifying, and spirit-crushing enough, without the oversized reminders.

For a change of pace, there’s the Spy Ship Pueblo, which those of you who were around in the late 1960’s may remember.  Let’s hope that nowadays we have more sophisticated means of keeping tabs on just what North Korea is up to. 
More interested in business development?
The DPR of Korea (North Korea) will become in the next years the most important hub for trading in North-East Asia. 
Not at the rate they’re going, I’m afraid.
Lowest labour cost in Asia.
Now that I can believe. When there’s nothing to eat, and nothing to buy, well, that has a tendency to keep wages down.
Highly qualified, loyal and motivated personnel. Education, housing and health service is provided free to all citizens. As opposed to other Asian countries, worker's will not abandon their positions for higher salaries once they are trained.
Now that I can believe, too.
Which reminds me of the old joke about the USSR.
How are things going, Ivan?
Can’t complain.
Stable. A government with solid security and very stable political system, without corruption. 
Well, I guess the part about stability is true.

Then there’s the online shop, where for a mere 2DVD Mass Gymnastics 60 Anniversary5 Euro, you can purchase the DVD of the 60 Anniversary of Mass Gymnastics.Or an English-subtitled version of the movie The Blood Stained Route Map. (Perhaps it loses something in the translation.)  The movie Song of Retrospection also sounds like a good one. (English subtitles! New!)  Perhaps O DVD Movie Song of Retrospection (ENG Sub)Youth would be more to your liking. (Also subtitled. Also new!) Or A Forest Is Swaying.

Something tells me, of course, that Kim Jong Un and the other North Korean elites don’t do much singing of the song of retrospection or introspection. Plus I bet they get to choose from a broader array of DVD’s. Can you imagine what the average culture starved North Korean would make of Netflix?

Nothing to do with movies, but I was in Berlin a couple of months after The Wall fell, and the KaDeWe – (West) Berlin’s answer to Harrod’s – was thronged with East Berliners walking through the food halls just gaping at the goodies.

Right about now, North Korea is a plenty scary place.

Let’s just hope that the current Cherished Leader is not so insane that he’s willing to set off World War III, annihilating what there is of his country in the process.

How is it that there can be so many comic aspects to something that is so terribly tragic?  

1 comment:

Rick T. said...

For some great N. Korean propaganda pictures with funny captions added, see: