Not Satire: Simon Winchester on North Korea



We are falling down on the job if this has already made it to Brad DeLong’s website. But given that our definition of the ideal Not Satire entry is one that needs no comment, and given that we picked on the KCNA yesterday, we have to pass along an excerpt from a story in the Times of London by Simon Winchester (via Alex Massie at the The Guardian):

“The State’s founder, Kim Il Sung, claimed that all he wanted for North Korea was to be socialist, and to be left alone. In that regard, the national philosophy of self-reliance known in North Korea as “Juche” is little different from India’s Gandhian version known as “swadeshi”. Just let us get on with it, they said, and without interference, please.

India’s attempt to go it alone failed. So, it seems, has Burma’s. Perhaps inevitably, North Korea’s attempt appears to be tottering. But seeing how South Korea has turned out — its Koreanness utterly submerged in neon, hip-hop and every imaginable American influence, a romantic can allow himself a small measure of melancholy: North Korea, for all its faults, is undeniably still Korea, a place uniquely representative of an ancient and rather remarkable Asian culture. And that, in a world otherwise rendered so bland, is perhaps no bad thing.”

If you absolutely must have some outrage, Massie’s piece serves it up as does Chris Shea over at The Wall Street Journal. Or if you really, really want to get fired up, go to the traffic on Outside the Beltway.

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