Upon hearing of Kim Jong Il’s death and looking for news about it, my first thought was: "How will that wacky Taiwanese animated news channel cover this story?". Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long for an answer:
I love that Next Media Animation don’t consider the "missile as phallus" gag to be too old and cliched to use. As far as I’m concerned, it’ll always be funny, and doubly so since the North Korean missile name sounds like the phrase “Type O’ Dong”. You can’t pass up comedy gold like this!
In case you haven’t yet seen the video yet – it’s making its way around the internet as I write this – here are Kim’s mourners (remember, Kim is his last name) weeping openly in the streets:
It’s difficult to tell whether all this outpouring of grief is the real deal or done at gunpoint. While this video was produced by their Stalinist state media, Kim did establish a cult of personality and there are indications that for many North Koreans, he truly is the beloved leader that his own hagiographies make him out to be. As B.R. Myers, author of The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves point out, Cold War-era Russians and East Germans who escaped did not get homesick and try to bribe their way back into their respective hellhole countries, but many North Koreans who managed to leave actually do just that. Myers points out that the ratio of police to ordinary citizens in Pyongyang is probably lower than Chicago’s, which suggests that it’s not just repression that keeps them in line – it’s their belief in their moral superiority and that their way is the best way.
Click the picture above to watch the video.
If you’d like to get a better understanding of the average North Korean’s perspective, you should watch Myers’ presentation, The Cleanest Race, which he delivered early last year at the World Affairs Council of Northern California. He talks about the North Korean worldview, which is an oddball mix of Japanese fascism, fanboyism inspired by Hirohito and especially Mao (to the point of plagiarism: the Chinese had the Long March, so the North Koreans came up with the Arduous March), a bizarre form of Oedipus complex and a sort of geopolitical nice guy syndrome.
If you’d rather not put in the hour to watch Myers’ presentation (your loss, it’s quite enlightening), you might prefer this little ditty from Team America: World Police…