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Kim Jong Il

Say 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:

The Korean people regard it as their most worthwhile life to uphold Secretary Kim Jong Il and live and work in perfect harmony with him, said Rodong Sinmun in a signed article August 31. The author of the article said: The Korean people absolutely worship, trust and follow the General as god. These noble ideological feelings are ascribable to the fact that they have keenly felt the greatness of the General from the bottom of their hearts. He is the great teacher who teaches them what the true life is, a father who provides them with the noblest political integrity and a tender-hearted benefactor who brings their worthwhile life into full bloom. The life of the Korean people who form a harmonious whole with the General is a revolutionary life to glorify their noblest political integrity. This is why they have unbendingly advanced the revolution with an unshakable faith, not wavering under any obstacles and trials. The General is the mental pillar and the eternal sun to the Korean people. As they are in harmonious whole with him, they are enjoying a true life based on pure conscience and obligation. They are upholding him as their great father and teacher, united around him in ideology, morality and obligation. So, their life is a true, fruitful and precious life without an equal in history.

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.

Kim also adores children's cartoons, especially Daffy Duck. (Evidently, the Dear Leader has amassed the world's largest collection of Daffy cartoons.) And he's a giant Michael Jackson fan.

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:

  1. Make North Korea a credible nuclear power.

    Most analysts believe the DPRK is pretty close to having nuclear-tipped ICBMs, unless they already do. The fact is, nobody knows for sure. They've intentionally kept things under wraps to keep us guessing. Are they working on their fifth warhead? Their fiftieth? Their first? Fuck if we know.

  2. Pretend to be completely, utterly, bugfuck crazy.

    Nuclear weapons are useless as a deterrent unless your enemy believes you're crazy enough to actually use them. And if you're a small country, you can make up for a small stockpile by pretending to have a hair trigger.

    Unfortunately, despite Kim's best efforts, nobody really believes he's nuts these days. He screwed his carefully-cultivated image by inviting Secretary of State Madeline Albright to Pyongyang in October 2000. Afterwards, she said:

    I don't think he's delusional... we had very peculiar information about Kim Jong Il -- that he was a recluse. I think "delusional" actually was a word that was used. But [South Korean President] Kim Dae Jung had reported that it was possible to have perfectly decent, rational conversations with him... he's not delusional, and he's not someone who only is interested in watching bad movies.

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.


Timeline

16 Feb 1941 Kim Jong Il is born in Khabarovsk, Siberia.
1978 South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his film star wife, Choe Eun-hui, are kidnapped and brought to North Korea at the direction of Kim Jong Il. There the couple are forced to make propaganda films for the regime, until they finally escape in 1986.
24 Dec 1991 Kim Il Sung announces that his son Kim Jong Il will succeed him.
13 Apr 1992 Kim Jong Il takes control of North Korea's armed forces, and becomes the country's de facto dictator.
8 Jul 1994 Kim Il Sung dies. Kim Jong Il formally assumes power.
1996 Kim Jong Il announces his Red Banner initiative. It is explained as a "revolutionary, profound philosophy which clarifies the fundamental principle of the revolution based on Juche."
27 Sep 1997 North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il decrees that anyone caught outside their home town without a travel permit be thrown into detention facilities known as "927 camps."
Jun 2000 North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il tells South Korean reporters: "Some Europeans say that I'm reclusive, that this the first time I've appeared in public. In fact, I've been to China and Indonesia. I've made many secret visits abroad. How can people claim I'm reclusive?"
1 May 2001 Kim Jong Nam, son of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, is detained at passport control in Narita international airport for attempting to enter Japan with fraudulent identity papers. The 30-year-old arrived from Singapore with two women and a 4-year-old boy, as well as a set of forged passports from the Dominican Republic. Kim Jong Nam claims that he just wants to check out Tokyo Disneyland.
14 Aug 2001 Juche Tower unveiled.
29 Jan 2002 During his State of the Union speech, President George W Bush denounces North Korea as being part of an "Axis of Evil" along with the nations of Iran and Iraq.
Aug 2002 During an interview with journalist-author Bob Woodard, President George W Bush declares: "I loathe Kim Jong Il. I've got a visceral reaction to this guy, because he is starving his people. And I have seen intelligence of these prison camps -- they're huge -- that he uses to break up families and to torture people. It appalls me."


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