Rodman in North Korea: Everyone Covers Themselves in Glory



Dennis Rodman: Rodman is a train wreck waiting to happen. From initially getting North and South Korea confused to his parting paean to three generations of Kim family leadership, Worm lived down to expectations. D

VICE Media/HBO: We reserve judgment until seeing the documentary. And you should too. Incomplete. For KCNA's coverage, see below.

The United States Department of State: The past week might lead one to conclude that petulance is part of State’s DNA. The Rodman press briefings were pathetic. Maybe we’ll talk to him if he calls us? Even if you think Worm has no brain cells left, at least talk to the VICE crew after they recover from their collective hangover.  Seriously, we’re flying blind and you show no interest in debriefing these folks because the trip wasn’t your idea? And guys, Rodman just raised the ante on you by claiming that he carries the personal message of Kim Jong-un that the President should “call him” because he wants to avoid war. Provisional D. Call Dennis and we’ll reassess. Or better yet: message to Langley: you call the VICE Media crew.  If professionalism won’t move us forward, then perhaps bureaucratic rivalry will.

Kim Jong-un: Eric Schmidt, the leader of possibly the most innovative firm in the world, and Dennis Rodman, circus act, come to town.  Which one do you meet with?  F (i.e. you have revealed yourself to be an even bigger fool than Dennis Rodman). Unless you actually do call Obama. Then we will definitely reassess.

The Pundrity: I loved all the moral outrage, though I don’t recall hearing the same degree of opprobrium being heaped on the New York Philharmonic when they went a-calling and Maestro Lorin Maazel spewed similar self-justifying inanities (though admittedly not as insane as Rodman’s). Somehow I have to believe that this has something to do with race and class (and the fact that the Knicks have not won a championship since before Kim Jong-un was born).  And lost amid the chatter was the bigger picture: past reporting by Shane Smith and VICE Media (see here here here and here) depicted North Korea in a highly unflattering light.  What were the possible implications of the fact that the North Koreans would not let Smith back in but did allow in his crew? Is the pernicious cycle of self-censorship in return for access starting to break down? These are puzzles that no one addressed. C

Steph Haggard: My compadre hit the nail on the head: “America produces Dennis Rodmans--and stem cell research and Nobel laureates and Hollywood and Beyoncé. It’s about freedom. What does North Korea produce? Reverse-engineered missiles and nucs, and nothing else. Which society do you want to live in? Of course Rodman is going to say dumb things; he's not a politician. But do the Norks have a tattooed rebounder like the Worm? Fughgetaboutit. Give me Rodman--and the society that produces him--any day.

And on the North Korean side, the real story is the utter self-indulgence of the leadership. They have the opportunity to talk to the leaders of one of the most innovative companies in the world, plus a politician in Richardson who is about as sympathetic as you will find in the entire political spectrum. And what do they do? Opt for Showtime for Kim III. What's pathetic is not Rodman, but North Korea.”  A

And for the last word, Mort Abramowitz: it’s not every day that someone with a towel wrapped around themselves walks up to you in the gym locker room and offers: “Give Rodman a spot on your blog.” Mort might have been kidding (you would have to ask him), but the more I thought about it…. So, Dennis, or whoever handles your business affairs, Foggy Bottom be damned: give us a call. For all sorts of reasons, Haggard and I have always turned down previous requests to “guest” on this blog, but for you we’ll make an exception. This being a family-oriented blog we would reserve the right to edit for language since we don’t use words like a*****e and d******d (even when referring to ourselves), but we noted that you did not resort to such language when being interviewed by Stephanopoulos or in any of your other encounters with the press in the past week so we doubt that it will be an issue. We look forward to your first post.

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