Slave to the Blog: The Notable and Quotable Edition
As Marx said, history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce. He if were alive today he might have added “and then as porn.” Well, you know the old saying: politics makes strange bedfellows. Today’s post takes a look at some notable quotes from the past week. Read on.
--US Army Colonel Steve Warren
Col. Warren was responding to a request to comment on the North Korean launch of seven missiles last week. The North Koreans don’t like the annual joint US-ROK military exercises in part because it costs the North Korean military money to go on an elevated state of alert for the duration of the exercises. So the missile tests and the hijinks at the Kaesong Industrial Complex could be interpreted as a signal of their displeasure. What was interesting about this particular display was Kim Jong Un’s reported personal presence at the scene and the firing of an SA-5 missile, the best air defense missile in their arsenal, and one they seldom waste on a test firing.
--Ji Seong-Ho, disabled North Korean refugee
North Korean mistreatment of the disabled and people with dwarfism, including stories of special places and medical experimentation, have been circulating since refugees started leaving North Korea in the 1990s. Earlier I summarized a report by the Citizen’s Alliance on North Korean Human Rights which documented allegations along these lines.
Such claims resurfaced this week in a piece by Bill Geertz which claims that the government has created “a dwarf village in a remote part of the country where short people it regards as undesirables are prevented from reproducing and forced to fend for themselves.” The alleged village, called Yeonha-Ri, is supposed to be in Kimhyongjik County of mountainous Ryanggang Province on the Chinese border. According to one of the refugees Geertz cites, the original plan was to simply exterminate the dwarves, but concerns regarding international scrutiny led to the establishment of the remote farming village where the little people are subjected to even harsher treatment than the typical North Korean citizen. Perhaps the new UN Human Rights office in Seoul can take up this issue as a subject of inquiry.
--North Korean ambassador to Bangladesh Mun Song Ho
OK, I made up the quote. But according to CNN, the North Korean embassy in Dhaka did apologize to the government of Bangladesh after the embassy’s first secretary was caught smuggling gold into the country and deported.
--Retired American diplomat Christopher Hill.
Aidan Foster-Carter apparently keeps track of these pronouncements, so here’s another one for his collection. Steph Haggard is reading Hill’s book, which he described to me as a kind of counterpoint to Juan Zarate’s book reviewed previously, and will post a review of it, hopefully in the near future.
“If Kim Jong Un and his henchmen were upset before, wait till they see the movie we're going to make.”
--American pornographer Larry Flynt
I must be working too hard. I consider myself a reasonably acute observer of the contemporary scene, and in retrospect, this development is obvious and it never even occurred to me. Yes, Larry Flynt of Hustler fame has made a parody of “The Interview” aptly titled “This Ain’t the Interview XXX.” From the trailer, it appears to hew closely to the plot of the original, though a Dennis Rodman-like character makes an appearance in this version. Not to worry: the actor playing Kim Jong Un is not as portly as the real one. Maybe they should be ballooning 500,000 copies of this into North Korea. I’d probably head South after seeing it. Wonder what Huster’s cyberdefenses are like.
As for the trailer, its PG-rated, but as much as I push the envelope here, the PIIE Board might object to posting it. So if you are interested, just Google it. And in the meantime, here is the Who performing “Pictures of Lily” which just goes to show that British censors in the 1960s were more relaxed than their American counterparts: