So when the New York Times is a little too Gray of a Lady, the Washington paper threatens to drive you Postal and the… er… local paper… seems overly… er, Oregonian… thank goodness that we can turn to that bastion of free speech and incisive political analysis, the Korean Central News Agency. If it’s fit to print in North Korea, it’s fit to be translated into a stilted, yet entertaining form of English and posted at their snazzy Web site.
Among today’s headlines: "Promising Boy Artist." This story tells the heartwarming tale of an eleven-year-old boy whose artistic accomplishments have "startled people from his first work"–all without the unnecessary frippery of illustrations that would, y’know, show you what the kid’s art looks like. But who needs pictures, really, when you can visualize his creations’ content so clearly by benefit of their titles alone? "My dream of joining the army of the General and becoming hero" and "A Yankee I have captured" certainly speak for themselves. And of course, "[t]he boy artist… would [like to] become a soldier-artist to delight Kim Jong Il."
Kim Jong Il… wow, I think his name appears in more KCNA stories than it doesn’t. Mofo gets more press than Paris Hilton. (I mean Kim Kardashian. Paris is so fifteen minutes ago. Wow… Kim Kardashian should hook up with Kim Jong Il. Would that make her Kim Kim Kardashian?) Frex: a book was just published in South Korea, of all places, lauding the philosophy and accomplishments of Kim Jong Il. And it is apparently "the 30th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s famous work ‘On Establishing Revolutionary Trait in Carrying out Party Policies.’ " We learn that "the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il also found its expression in that he
has led the party organizations to closely link the work of organizing
and guiding the party life with the implementation of their
revolutionary tasks and set an example of the times in devotedly
carrying out the party policies and helped all the officials and party
members earnestly follow it." Geez, it’s like being back in core class at Kresge all over again. Or Stevenson Core, which was notoriously even more boring than Kresge Core. Go Slugs! Also: Party life? Party policies? I thought North Korea was a grim place… but apparently it’s startlingly grooovalicious.
OK, back to Kim Jong Il (or K-Jiddy, as I like to call him). He certainly is one busy fellow! He recently spent a grueling day touring a military installation (the boys of KPA Unit 479. The fightin’ four-seventy-ninth!), during which he feasted his eyes on such proletarian delights as "a wash-cum-bath house," which I don’t even want to know what that is, thank you.
He highly praised the sub-unit for leading a tenacious economic life,
pleased with the fact that it has not only successfully built cultural
and educational and supply service facilities by thoroughly managing
the unit the way the anti-Japanese guerrillas did but also splendidly
conducted the sideline job to make its life abundant.
round the compound of the barracks under trees laden with red
persimmons and feasting his eyes on the mountain ridges covered with
chestnut trees, he praised the commanding officers and soldiers of the
sub-unit for having successfully spruced up their post, adding that
this is one of the beautiful traits which can be displayed only by the
KPA soldiers who ardently love the country.
See, now when’s the last time you read a story about Bush visiting the troops and noticing anything as big and round and obvious as a persimmon, let alone something as ethereally picturesque as a mountain ridge, tree-covered or otherwise? "Heh-heh. Know what kind of trees those are, Big Time? Them’s’re chestnuts. Heh-heh. Nuts." (Cheney: "Waaagh!")
But, all joking aside, this story is absolutely sublime in its phrasing. I’m quoting it here in its entirety.
Highest Praise Awarded to DPRK Aerial Trapeze
Pyongyang, November 8 (KCNA) — "Gold Lion Prize" Cup, the highest
prize, and certificate were awarded to DPRK’s aerial trapeze "Diverse
Flight" at the 11th Wuqiao International Acrobatics Festival held in
China from October 27 to November 4.
Acrobats of the Pyongyang
Circus successfully presented latest technical movements such as treble
flip-flap with simultaneous pirouette and quadruple flip-flap in the
air, drawing the particular attention of experts and spectators during
the entire period of the festival and winning a top point.
After watching their performance, many spectators of China, members of
the international jury and participants in the festival were unsparing
in their praises, saying that the present status of the festival would
be unthinkable without the DPRK’s aerial trapeze.
The festival brought together famous acrobatic organizations and
acrobats from 16 countries including the DPRK, China, Russia, France,
Italy and Canada and regions.
I would give anything if I could only perform a treble flip-flap with simultaneous pirouette. Alas, the imperial capitalist Yankee nature of my upbringing has rendered me incapable of so much as a cartwheel, let alone the type of gyrations that would cause acrobats from 16 countries (and regions!) to be unsparing in their praises.