Kim Jong IlSay what you like about Kim Jong Il's appearance -- at least it's distinctive. Absolutely no one in North Korea ever has to ask "Who's that squat little man in the glasses and khaki windbreaker?" Also, there's his signature hairstyle. The dictator artfully conceals his diminutive stature by wearing platform shoes and whipping his hair into stiff peaks. So what if the autocrat feels a little self-conscious about his height? That's understandable -- he's only 5'2". Napoleon was four inches taller than that, for Christ's sake.
Granted, the man dresses like a retard. But that doesn't mean he actually is one. In fact, Kim does a surprisingly fine job of running North Korea. Some people regard nepotism as an invariably bad thing, especially when it comes to governance. They argue that you really don't want incompetent retards manning important government posts, because they tend to fuck up spectacularly.
But this is not the case in North Korea, whose ruthless dictator happened to inherit the job from his father, the equally ruthless Kim Il Sung. Kim Jong Il happens to be brilliant at his primary responsibility... that, of course, being: remaining in power.
Admittedly, he sucks at all the other ones. Kim's disastrous agricultural and economic policies have caused his people to suffer under one of the world's longest, deadliest famines. But that's just what you get when daddy's little boy grows up to take over the family business.
Anyway, that doesn't matter to the average man in Pyongyang. The North Koreans adore Kim. They swoon in his presence. He is, to them, something of a deity. A god-king. Don't believe us? Check out this article from the official government news agency in September 1997:
Kim has 22 million toiling away for him, and the country's aggregate revenue is about $22 billion per annum. That works out to an average of $1,000 per person, which rates their productivity somewhere between Tuvalu and the West Bank. But just as in any business, no matter how poorly the company does, the upper management is always well-compensated for their labors.
And no one is paid better than the CEO. Which is fortunate for Kim Jong Il -- whose net worth approaches $4 billion -- because he has always had expensive tastes. He likes fast cars, gourmet foods, and fine liquors. Suffice it to say, none of these things is produced in North Korea and FedEx doesn't deliver there. As expensive as those luxuries are in the West, they cost even more to procure north of the 38th Parallel. But procure them they must. Evidently, the man loves to throw banquets and has a penchant for fine cognac (his favorite is Hennessy V.S.O.P).
Kim's obsession for fine dining comes off sounding kind of selfish when you consider that millions of his countrymen have been killed by lack of food. A series of droughts, coupled with Kim's irrational farming and draconian economic policies, have given no relief to a decade of famine. As a direct result, at least ten percent of the man's population has died. In 1999, South Korean intelligence services claimed that somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million North Koreans succumbed to starvation over the four previous years. This puts him third behind Mao and Josef Stalin for most people starved to death.
He has other rarefied tastes as well. Kim is a world-class cineaste; by the 1970s his collection had grown to more than 15,000 films (on reels -- this was before videocassettes and DVDs). He especially loves Hollywood movies. His favorites include Rambo, Friday the 13th, the James Bond series, and Hong Kong action films. His favorite stars are Elizabeth Taylor and Sean Connery.
He also loves pornography. In addition, according to rumor, Kim also keeps a harem of beautiful women for the purpose of fucking. The dictator is regularly serviced by a nubile "Pleasure Squad," a stable of babes composed primarily of young Asians and Europeans.
In his free time Kim wrote six operas, over a span of only two years. This he could accomplish because he's a goddamned genius. As one North Korean diplomat expressed his nation's gratitude during Kim's 61st birthday celebration: "We're able to face the U.S. superpower and the hostile U.S. policies because of our brilliant commander, Chairman Kim Jong Il. He is a thinker on a par with Marx and Lenin."
But of course, none of this is why he gets paid the big bucks. His job security is based on convincing the world that his regime is extremely dangerous and unpredictable. In playing chicken with the global superpowers, Kim's primary objectives are twofold:
Of course, even if he does everything right, nothing lasts forever. It will eventually end for Kim Jong Il, just as it ended for his father before him. Kim Il Sung died in July 1994. Incidentally, rumor has it that he suffered a massive heart attack during an animated argument with his son.
Kim is probably doomed to the same eventual fate as billionaire Howard Hughes, ultimately succumbing to crippling paranoid delusions. But for the time being, he's only about halfway there -- utterly obsessed with secrecy and his physical security, but not afraid to touch doorknobs yet. In planning for this eventuality, Kim is grooming one of his sons, Kim Jong Chul, to take over the family business. He will have quite a legacy to live up to.
But this plan may all go to shit. For some reason, Kim Jong Il believes he will be replaced by a triplet, and none of his children were triplets. So, like King Herod before him, Kim is covering his bets. He has ordered all triplets born in North Korea be rounded up and raised in state orphanages, where the government can keep an especially close eye on them. We are not making this up. According to a March 2003 story in the Herald Sun:
All triplets in North Korea are being forcibly removed from parents after their birth and dumped in bleak orphanages. The policy is carried out on the orders of Stalinist dictator Kim Jong-il, who has an irrational belief that a triplet could one day topple his regime.
Yeah, yeah. It sounds crazy, but the man is just being prudent. You'd probably do the same thing if you were in his platform shoes.