Slave to the Blog: The Muhammad Ali Memorial Edition



Amid all the craziness, the death of Muhammad Ali reminds us that some things matter. But this is a North Korea blog, so before we get to The Greatest, we need to wade through some craziness.

Last week I commented on North Korea’s “endorsement” of Flim-Flam Donald presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Well you know the saying about hell having no fury like a woman scorned, and last Friday, Hillary Clinton came after Kim Jong-un, describing him as a “sadistic dictator” running “perhaps the most repressive regime on the planet.” I guess Kent Boydston can relax: we now know who is on who’s side.

Trump famously expressed admiration for the way that Kim “took over” North Korea and offered to sit down with Lil’ Kim (admittedly after exploring the possibility of a Chinese contract job on him). (With the nomination sewed up the Donald is getting lazy and recycling insults: he’s taken the Lyin’ off of Ted Cruz and pinned it on Hillary Clinton and with Marco Rubio now a supporter it wouldn’t be politic to continue to call him Lil’ Marco. So KJU gets the nod. Personally, I am going to copyright Flim-Flam Donald.) Anyway, maybe Trump’s ardor for North Korea will cool when he learns that Mexico is not the only country in the world sending drugs into the United States. Britain’s Guardian newspaper reports that a British citizen has been given more than 15 years in the federal pen for conspiring to import 100 kilos of North Korean meth. A bit like the Bangladesh central bank heist, the meth deal appears to have involved a complex web of criminal gangs in Southeast Asia. The Guardian did not supply a photo of the drug trafficker, Scott Stammers, so no word if he looks anything like Walter White.

Speaking of drugs, Steph Haggard sent me some kind of promotional fare for a North Korean rom-com. I think that Kent is actually going to review it. Personally, I want to see the North Korean slacker movie: “200-day speed battle campaign? Man, I just want to kick back and drink some makgeolli.”

(Can you imagine what it must be like to be 20 in North Korea?)

Breaking news: North Korea: still working harder!

OK, we have waded through enough of the ridiculous that I think we can make it to the sublime. A couple of years ago, my friend Fred Zimmerman passed along a piece relating a 1995 incident of which I was unaware. I dutifully wrote it up for this blog. Now in the wake of the death of Muhammad Ali, Don Kirk fills in the details. Ali had been persuaded to visit Pyongyang as a guest of honor at the “Sports and Culture Festival for Peace,” an event organized by Japanese professional-wrestler-turned-politician Antonio Inoki, who Ali knew from an exhibition bout that they had staged in Tokyo years earlier.  American wrestler Ric Flair, who had been recruited after Hulk Hogan bowed out, recounts a banquet with North Korean officials: “Because of the ravages of Parkinson’s disease, it was difficult to understand Muhammad Ali when he spoke. But at one point we were sitting at a big round table with a group of North Korean luminaries when one of the guys started rambling on about the superiority of North Korea, and how they could take out the United States or Japan any time they wanted. Suddenly Ali piped up, clear as a bell, ‘No wonder we hate these motherf-s.’”

"No wonder we hate these motherf-s"

Remember, this is from the man who refused to enter military service—and paid a steep price for his decision—because, as he put it, “No Vietcong ever called me n-gger.” So for him to respond to his hosts this way, well, I think that we can safely assume that The Greatest had heard enough.


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