Friday, July 2, 2010

A Series of Lies and Truths About North Korea

Note: unlike many guest pieces on Et tu, Mr. Destructo? today's article comes from a real, live person: Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il, Supreme Leader of North Korea and General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea. If Kim claims that he's merely someone impersonating Kim Jong-Il, consider this a sublime ruse of Korean counterintelligence. All truths are lies; all lies are truth. Kim previously paid us a visit to discuss CNN International's snuff commercials, the hotness of certain ladies, Steven Seagal's mystical journey, why society owes him a ricer and the inevitable coming doom.

I Totally Posterized Hu Jintao in a Private Game of One-on-One

OK, so I'm not really Kim Jong-il. I am sorry to lay this truth bomb on you like this, but I need to get that out of the way to allay any confusion, as I'm going to be talking about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea here.

The subterfuge is necessary, you see, because I'm a WORLD FAMOUS JOURNALIST who works for a very protective and spiteful organization that would not be too concerned about firing my non-Asian ass (Oops! I've given away too much!) for spilling my brain seed anywhere but in the frigid, bottomless womb of our proprietary newstrough. (Again!)

Though it's not part of my traditional duties in covering Asian markets (Fuck!), I've for several years paid close attention to matters having to do with the batshit Korea, writing the occasional article about it. I've seen the DMZ from both sides of the border, I've befriended experts on the North, and I've read just about every piece of propaganda that they've issued in the past four years.

My interest is born from a sort of fetishized abhorrence for, and frustration with, the country and its belief system. Like a sore in your mouth that you can't stop probing with your tongue or chubby-chaser porn that hypnotizes the eyes and churns the stomach with every seismic jiggle of flab. North Korea is so shielded from world—Kim Il-sung used to say a "mosquito net" was needed to protect the nation from corrupting influences—that people will believe just about anything about what goes on there.

I've found myself becoming oddly sensitive when I see reports that are poorly sourced or are a hash of salacious crappy crap. For lazy journalists, North Korea is an easy target that grabs readers' eyeballs and yet won't ever sue for libel. And they have to be heroically slothful to retell tired fibs when there are so many more-outrageous truths out there to be found. As explored on this site in relation to the lengths of conservative crazitude, the distinction between reality and parody is imperceptibly small for most observers.

Taking that as a challenge, I'm going to set out a list of actual wacky shit about North Korea that is pretty demonstrably true, mixed together with stuff I just made up. See if you can tell the difference:

1. Intelligence services believe that the real Kim Jong-il drowned as a toddler in 1943 whilst he and his family were in exile in Russia, during the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula. Heartbroken and ashamed at the loss of their only son, his parents called their young daughter by the name Jong-il upon return to their homeland. As the young girl grew to be homely and plump, they kept the charade going permanently, with only Hwang Jang-yop—former chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly—knowing the truth.

2. Senior party leaders have purchased hyperbaric chambers from Japanese medical companies through third-party intermediaries because of their belief that controlled-pressure sleep leads to longer life and sexual virility.

3. Concerned that international banking authorities were closing in on their counterfeit operations on $100 bills—called "super notes" by the CIA for their quality—North Korean authorities shifted to faking $20 bills. This of course reduced their foreign purchasing power by four-fifths, for which currency chief Pak Nam-gi was executed.

4. Kim Jong-Il has a totally bitchin' party barge parked on the east coast, with two sweet-ass corkscrew slides.

5. Kim Jong-il used to be an avid horse rider. That is, until he was bucked off a steed in the early 1990s and all his teeth got busted out. He now has a set of high-quality dentures crafted overseas.

6. Pyongyang saw the opening of its first fast-food restaurant in 2008: a burger shop called McKim's, which serves its so-called "Chollima Burger," which despite being named for a mythical winged horse is in fact comprised of compressed river eel and ginseng.

7. A German farmer engineered a breed of gigantic rabbits and sent a troop of breeding pairs to North Korea so as to start a fast-turnover meat industry for the starving nation. The farmer quashed a plan to send more bunnies, on suspicion they were simply eaten rather than put to work at a breeding colony.

8. Kim Jong-il is obsessed with American horror films, especially those from the slasher genre. One of his former valets, who defected after decades of service, claimed that Kim revealed to him that they were the only things that allowed him to feel danger anymore, such is the impregnability of his regime.

9. The official biography of Kim Il-sung claims that as a boy, he was attacked by a bear whilst walking in the hills near the family home. According to the story, he thwacked the bear between the eyes with a thermos (containing a nutritious tea made from mung beans), and the beast fell dead at his feet. Released in 1973 during a cooling of relations between North Korea and Russia (due to the latter withholding fuel supplies), the story is interpreted by some scholars to be a subtle jab at the leadership in Moscow.

10. The famed Arirang Mass Games show—supposedly performed by 100,000 perfectly synchronized dancers, acrobats and sign holders—is actually the same stock footage from opening ceremonies at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

11. Sailors on the USS Pueblo, captured in January 1968 by the North Korean navy as it patrolled international waters on the nation's east coast, displayed what they called a Hawaiian sign of good luck when their captors took a "proof of life" picture of them to send to U.S. authorities. When the North Koreans found out that an upturned middle finger is not, in fact, a Hawaiian sign of good luck, they beat the ever-loving shit out of those sailors.

12. For a fee of $25 (or 18 euros), tourists to the captured USS Pueblo are allowed to fire 20 rounds from its 20mm deck gun at a floating wooden target that looks like George Bush.

13. Speaking of the Pueblo, North Korean authorities claim the spot where it sits now is the very spot where 100 years earlier Kim Il-sung's grandfather led a band of villagers in setting afire and sinking the USS General Sherman, sent up the river to enforce America's gunboat diplomacy.

14. DPRK Army officers who have defected have admitted to using western music to torture political dissidents. Reportedly the most often used is Def Leppard's 1987 LP Hysteria. None of the defectors knew the meaning of the word at the time of defection and, given that it is an English word, it's almost certain that few of the people who employ it appreciate the irony of their choice.

15. A compulsive gambler, Kim Il-sung would routinely employ navy submarines to slip out of the country to the Philippines, where he'd catch a plane to Las Vegas for week-long betting binges. He blew a month's wages for the country's army during one disastrous night at the baccarat table in 1978, and had to actually appeal to the CIA for protection and help in leaving U.S. after failing to repay a loan from the mafia.

16. Kim Jong-il is an avid enthusiast of retro Atari 2600 games and challenged former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to a "Combat" match during her visit there in 2000. She refused.

17. North Korean propaganda has used the word "faggot" 35 times since 1996.

Ordinarily an answer key would be provided to help cull the lies from the truth. However, as is the case with everything else from the Orient—and especially from North Korea—so much of the beauty comes from its mystery.

For the answer key, please see Peerlessly Great Immortal Answer Key to Revolutionary Questions of Songun.