Monday, December 19, 2011

Deep Kimchi

Every year about this time, we're treated a stoned-out montage of images from the past year, of celebrities who have died (can't think of any...did Amy Winehouse die this past year?), natural disasters (expect plenty of Japan and Fukushima here), various images of wars and other crap. I don't know, maybe it's a handy milestone for some people, a chance to encapsulate all the pointless things they were ignoring for the past solar orbital period.

I think the highlight of the reel this year will be the death of Kim Jong-Il, the man who has ruled over North Korea in a way that would make even Vlad Tepes a little uneasy. Therefore, expect the year-end montage to include images of America's Least Visible War (tm) -- Korea -- to dominate the cycle this go-round. Cause of death was a heart-related ailment. I'll let everyone speculate on their own about the nature, timing, and cause of it.

I've always wondered about the North Koreans, though, what their actual state of mind is. The North Korean broadcasters announcing his death were in tears, but are they crying because there is a soldier offstage with a loaded Makarov who may prove to be their harshest critic, or did they genuinely love the man and buy into the vision of the world which has been pomulgated in North Korea since the late 40s, of the God-hood of the Korean "Maximum Leaders?"

We would be tempted, living in the West, which has generally been free of such delusions since the Enlightenment, to suggest it is fear that keeps people in line and spouting such nonsense, but the Middle Eastern nations have been run by people no less brutal than Kim Jong-Il and have seen one uprising and coup after another since the Cold War. Clearly, some people take to the brainwashing a little better than others, but David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter does a good job at offering insights into the North Korean mindset at the time, and probably up to the current day. Poor, rural, once a great kingdom, but now sandwiched between the warring powers of Russia, China, and Japan (and also the United States, to some degree, now), it's not hard to see how the nation became what it is, after taking a different road from South Korea.

I'm not sure that North Korea isn't necessarily not a blueprint for the future in some cases, especially as modern civilization continues down the road to a new dark age. The siege mentality due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, the tendency to elevate a person to a semi-divine status if they cleverly position themselves as a "savior," ignorance of the wider world as isolation grow and communication breaks down, all seem like ingredients which might be far more common in the future than anyone might guess at the moment.


I want to take a brief moment to wish all of you a Happy Holiday, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, and so on. Whatever we are going to have to deal with in the future, and whatever the circumstances of our daily lives, we need to reflect and remember that we still have reasons to celebrate and things to find joy in, even in the commonplace. Take a few days off from thinking about where we're going and just appreciate where we are and where we've been. Hug your spouse and your kids. Give your dog or cat an extra scratch behind the ears. Enjoy the days. The best to all of you and your families this year.


  1. Amy Winehouse was a celebrity?

  2. No one has yet said that in case of a sudden collapse of the turbo-capitalist system, this so called Juche will be one of the few to stand the blow.