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North of the DMZ and beyond the pale.

There has been some crazy news out of everyone’s favourite totalitarian heckhole recently.

First I heard this nugget…

Doctor Who, Top Gear and Teletubbies have apparently passed the suitability test to be shown on North Korea’s tightly-controlled state TV.

After months of negotiation with the BBC, the three shows have been deemed worthy of consideration for broadcasting in the totalitarian state.

The country’s state broadcaster, Korean Central Television, is only on air for six-and-a-half hours every day.

Odd choices. Skipping over the tubbies the sight of that Bellendius Maximus Clarkson whizzing around in a Bugatti is almost torture to the poor buggers up there who feel lucky to get a puncture repair kit for their bike. And the Doctor is a rather anti-authority figure which probably wouldn’t fit with the rest of KCT’s output… Although I guesss the Cybermen might go down well with the Kimocracy.

At least a third of the output is spent praising the government of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, while another third extols workers to toil harder for the good of the country.

And I thought endless repeats of “Last of the Summer Wine” was soul-crushing.

But wait…

The weekly television highlight is ‘It’s So Funny’, a long-running comedy show in which two uniformed soldiers perform slapstick sketches in between propaganda lectures about the greatness of North Korea.

Now that’s what I call entertainment! That’s better than Cannon & Ball that is and they were fucking terrible beyond my comprehension. Here’s a modest proposal. We parachute Piers Morgan into the Pyongyang. He’s without a berth and it is a win-win if you ask me. I feel so sorry for the North Koreans.

This speaks volumes…

Likewise, there is no fundamental difference between the way in which North and South Koreans look [The entire peninsula is very ethnically homogeneous in the World and this is an ancient civilization - Nick]. Having said that, however, 60-plus years is not a short amount of time, and the two Koreas did live through two very different worlds. South Koreans now live in one of the world’s wealthiest countries, North Koreans one of the poorest. In particular, the crushing famine that North Korea suffered in the mid-1990s has left a visible impact on North Korean people’s physique. While the average height of adult South Korean men is 171.5 cm (~5′ 7.5″), the average height of adult North Korean men is 165.4 cm (~5′ 5″). Because North Korean youths have become so malnourished, North Korea had to lower the minimum height requirement for its soldiers from 140 cm (~4′ 7″) to 137 cm (~4′ 6″) in 2010. (In contrast, South Korea recently had to extend the maximum height requirement from 196 cm (~6′ 5″) to 204 cm (~6′ 8″) for its conscripts.)

And that is not unrelated to the TV on my wall (Samsung) and the fact I have never bought a single item from North of the DMZ. I mean if they can’t get enough food they ain’t going to break the mould in tech are they? (More on that later). But this isn’t even the end-point of socialism as we understand it and as the socialist Eric Blair understood it. This is not Sweden with toothsome murder mysteries and beer you need a mortgage for. This is Hell run by an insane Satan. This is the prison state as envisaged by Vasily Grossman as the end of Stalinism.

But they have drones you know. Things that sound like they were built in a shed. I have spoken to hobbyists who can do better. At least it ain’t the grotesquely over-budget, under-performing and over-time F-35. I mean that camera… I have a better camera and I’m not on a defence budget here.

But before we simply regard the Kimocracy as risible buffoons it would be be wise to consider this. And also to consider that it is entirely possible to laugh and be revolted at the same time. They are profoundly risible but also profoundly evil. The two are not mutually exclusive.


  1. John Galt says:

    With regard to Top Gear, I can see that as a good example of “Western Decadence” that would support the prevailing propaganda of the Norks – provided it is appropriately translated to make it look like Jeremy Clarkson is an egotistical prick…Oh…hang on a minute… ;-)

    As for Dr. Who, if the Norks have bought it then it can only be because they are classifying it as simply space fantasy and not looking at the underlying themes.

    Maybe they should do a cross-licensing deal on the Nork TV shows “1001 Ways to denounce your relatives”, “What’s my Crime?” and the ever popular “Saturday Night at the Pyongyang Palladium execution grounds”.

    I mean who wouldn’t want to see execution by flame-thrower, mortar bombing or being ripped to pieces by dogs? These sound like the modern adventures of Dante Alighieri in the underworld.

    One obvious objection, is that surely any exchange of money for these programmes would by in breach of existing sanctions against the Norks? These are after all the chief suspects in the production of the Superdollar, so aren’t things like money laundering also an issue?

    A wider question is should an organ of the state such as the BBC be proving any support to the Norks, even if it is just providing their blighted citizens some relief from the propaganda?

    Quis custodiet summo orci?

  2. Julie near Chicago says:

    JG, “A wider question is should an organ of the state such as the BBC be proving any support to the Norks, even if it is just providing their blighted citizens some relief from the propaganda?”

    Exactly. A similar question involves trade with, and especially provision of food and medicine to, Cuba by any nation that even pretends to value liberty. And especially the U.S., in the case of the latter.

  3. Julie near Chicago says:

    Nick, “I mean if they can’t get enough food they ain’t going to break the mould in tech are they?”

    Doesn’t follow: Think USSR, military machine (though a lot of mould-breaking really was more mold-tweaking, and a lot was done with stolen hammers, so to speak), people starving in famines not all of which were purposely engineered….

  4. Remember that only the elite are “fortunate” enough to watch North Korean television – and there are probably ways of knowing who watches what (“so Comrade you have been watching a lot of Top Gear – would you please explain why……”).

    As for the four foot soldiers – in the old days people in the north of Korea were bigger than in the south of Korea (then came the wonder of “liberation…..”).

    Still have no fear – when the wonderful army of Norts defeat the evil CIA capitalist-pawn-of-the-Koch-brothers “Rogue Trooper” , then the Norts will have plenty to eat – human flesh.

    However, as the South Korean troops are armed with rather nasty repeating shotguns, even the most fanatical (and most hungry) Nort may have a problem eating them.

  5. Mr Ed says:

    Dear South Koreans,

    Please note the Finnish experience in the Winter War, the ‘sausage war’ incident. A Soviet surprise attack actually worked and they overran a Finnish camp, the Finns were in disarray, but the Soviets took the soup kitchen and came across a huge sausage casserole cooking away. Soviet military discipline collapsed as the starving hordes were distracted by real food, and they went for the sausages instead of the Finns, like Bisto Kids with bayonets. The Finns got time to regroup and then counter-attacked, and routed the Soviets.

    Issue every South Korean soldier with a self-heating Burger King Whopper grenade and anti-personnel Pringles.

  6. NickM says:

    Good anecdote Mr Ed. Reminds me of something I heard about the charge of the light brigade. The Cossacks disobeyed orders to press the Russian advantage because there were surving British horses to round-up as booty.

    Paul, I dunno. I got the impression KCT was prole-feed. Julie, a thing I have observed in communist countries (and I have been to some when they were communist or very shortly after) was their incredible capacity to do some things incredibly well and most things terribly badly. Example: stopped at a motorway services type thing in what is now the Czech Republic and had a dreadful meal. But the orange juice was exceptional. The food was mind-bogglingly bad, the service dreadful and the place was falling apart but the OJ was great.

    But NK is beyond even that. Their nuclear reactors (from what I’ve seen on TV) look like Ernest Rutherford ought to be at the controls. Their Army etc looks largely antedulivian.

  7. Julie near Chicago says:

    Mr. Ed, excellent story. I imagine the Finns were glad to get rid of the Reds at the price of a load of sausages. (I speak as one who adores a good sausage soup.)

    Nick, “…capacity to do some things well and most things terribly badly.” I don’t see how the Norks are an exception to this. The dynasty holds on to power (and exercises extreme viciousness and sadism) incredibly well, and, obviously, everything else worse than one would have thought possible.

    Dunno if the discussion was over here, or in the Mother Country, or someplace down under, but yesterday or day before somebody was kvetching about seeing some people as “sub-human.”

    It sure seems to me the Nork dynasty is obvious evidence that some people are indeed less than fully human.

    . . .

    Hm. So the question is, whether the Kims still retain their “inalienable” right to life (and self-defense): A question of justice. Or is that right “alienable” after all? Well, some people understand “inalienable right” to mean that it’s not possible even in principle to give such a thing away. On the other hand, is it unjust to “bring them to justice,” in this case including the final penalty? And if it’s not unjust, is it otherwise immoral?

    I ask only in hopes of getting interesting comments. I already know what I think.

  8. RAB says:

    like Bisto Kids with bayonets.

    Like that. Speaks to my generation does that. :-)

  9. John Galt says:

    On the plus side for the Norks it would appear you can enjoy a spliff while playing with your Pyongyang Touch, which even comes in 3-different colours. Nork users hoping to use it for the internet or phone friends abroad though will be disappointed.

  10. NickM says:

    Julie, short answer, you obliterate folk with a flame-thrower you lose your mortal plane privileges in my book but we are better than them. We have to be or we are them. So they ought to be stuck in chokey for the duration though the Clint Eastwood in me thinks of Gadaffi and his demise. Dragged from a storm drain, sodomized with stick and then shot. I can be dark at times.

    I love this…

    The sound of freedom is Clint’s spurs clanking.

    This also kinda sums me up…

    If Clint back then was Prez now Putin would be cowering in his dunny rather than invading Ukraine.

    Alas he is now too old.


  11. Julie near Chicago says:

    NickM, one has a certain sympathy for your position. Although to my mind, Saddam & his boys reside on a rung of Hell even closer to that properly occupied by the Kims than does Khadaffi.

    Truth to tell, there are a few people I really have it in for, including Saddam. And Kim the Jung-’Un. And his pappy & grandpappy, & like them. If I were Clint I believe I would take them deep into the desert, perhaps Death Valley, pitch ‘em out of the car (or off their burros, depending), draw my whatever-it-is-Clint-shoots–a .357 Magnum? Don’t know my weapons much, I’m afraid–stand over them as they cower in fear…then holster my gun: “Naahhh. You boys aren’t worth wasting good bullets on.” And I’d load the burros into the back seat and leave them there, to die of thirst.

    . . .

    To visit true justice on the truly vicious and evil is NOT to “become them”: it is self-protection. It is to guard against BECOMING them.

  12. Julie near Chicago says:

    I messed that up! What I meant is, we REFRAIN from meting out true justice as a matter of self-protection.

  13. Nick never forget that the crudeness of Nork land sometimes makes them more dangerous.

    For example they do not need to worry about radiation shielding – they just replace dead members of staff.

    Nor is electro magnetic pulse a problem – their clockwork systems will work perfectly well in post pulse conditions.

  14. NickM says:

    Paul, did you know the phones in the Pentagon run on valves for the same reason. Whether they can get through to the White House is another matter…

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