Wednesday, May 20, 2015

North Korean Magic

May 14, 2015 Washington Post reports on the weirdness of North Korea:

It's been another weird week in news from the Hermit Kingdom. Outside observers were titillated by reports of the supposed punishment meted out on the North Korean defense chief, who was accused of treason, in part for napping during a high-level meeting, and reportedly executed in public with an anti-aircraft gun....

Pyongyang's leadership, which presides over the world's most closed and oppressed society, "invites such treatment," writes Korea scholar Andrei Lankov. We see North Korea as a monstrous, absurdist spectacle, an image reinforced by journalists' inability to do real reporting in the country.

Moreover, writes Lankov, "the government produces tons of comically inept propaganda (visit any North Korean official website to enjoy the style), and it is very repressive. There is little doubt that the regime is brutal and often acts in a peculiar way."

For a snapshot of the country's comically inept propaganda see a news bulletin published this week by the Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang's official mouthpiece. It's reproduced here in full:
Korea Boasts of Long History in Magic
Pyongyang, May 11 (KCNA) -- Korea has a long history in performing traditional magic.
It was well evidenced by an old album published by a neighboring country 1 500 years ago.
According to historical data, the magic developed to a higher level in the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392), the first unified state of the Korean nation.
Typical of the magic pieces were the magic with fire and the one with knife.
Today magic has made a big stride forward in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
It reminds me of the nonsense progressives do and say in the enclaves that it controls, like most prestige universities in the U.S., magnified by ten.

1 comment: