Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Odd: I Didn't Know I Hated and Feared North Koreans

The Lemming will stop being serious for the next post.

Here's the headline, and part of the (article? op-ed?):

"Vice Guide to North Korea"
By Shane Smith, Founder of VICE and VBS.TV, CNN World (February 10, 2010)

"Editor's Note: The staff at has recently been intrigued by the journalism of VICE, an independent media company and Web site based in Brooklyn, New York. VBS.TV is Vice's broadband television network. The reports, which are produced solely by VICE, reflect a very transparent approach to journalism, where viewers are taken along on every step of the reporting process. We believe this unique reporting approach is worthy of sharing with our readers.

"Brooklyn, New York (VBS.TV) -- Getting into North Korea was one of the weirdest processes VBS has ever dealt with. After we went back and forth with their representatives for months, they finally said they were going to allow 16 journalists to come and cover the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang. Just before our departure, they suddenly said, 'No, nobody can come.' Then they said, 'OK, OK, you can come. But only as tourists.'..."

"...Perhaps the weirdest thing about North Koreans is that they genuinely don't seem to know that the rest of the planet hates and fears them. They believe (or maybe they really convincingly lie about believing) that the whole world admires and envies them and that they're the true light of socialism and Juche, which is their leader's philosophy of Communist self-reliance...."

There's more to the (op-ed? article?)

What jumped out at me, though, was that statement: "Perhaps the weirdest thing about North Koreans is that they genuinely don't seem to know that the rest of the planet hates and fears them."

I've lived on this planet for the last half-century, so I think I can claim 'resident' status on Earth. I'm not Korean. I don't even live in Korea. North or South.

I also don't hate and fear North Koreans.

I'm no fan of their government, or the leaders in that government. I am concerned - very - that sooner or later someone in a decision-making position in North Korea will be earnest and ignorant enough to believe his own propaganda. But that's the country's government, not the people who live there.

But "...the rest of the planet hates and fears them."?!!

That's a pretty broad statement, both ways.

I'm pretty sure that a few people, among the roughly 6,767,396,871 who don't live in North Korea1, there are some who think that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the best thing since Stalin's purges, and that everybody should agree with them. Those folks almost certainly don't hate and fear Koreans. North Koreans, anyway. Provided, of course that the individuals in question don't have severe psychiatric problems, hating and fearing what they love and idolize.

Like I said, I'm no fan of the bunch that's running North Korea right now. But Koreans? They're people, not some faceless mass to be jumbled up with whatever despot happens to be running their country.

I'll admit to a bias: I've been learned some Soo Bahk Do, a sort of Korean analog to Karate, and my wife and #3 daughter are learning Korean. They've gotten quite a bit ahead of me in their studies, so I'll be asking them quite a few questions when I get involved again.
1Population estimate, July, 2009, for


Brigid said...

"hating and fearing what the love and idolize" should probably be "hating and fearing what they love and idolize."

But The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader digresses.

Oyyyyyy. *headdesk*

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Right you are. I'll fix that. ('More haste, less speed' - and certainly more typos.)

Yeah: I'm glad to see "transparency" in journalism. I'd like to see a bit more perception and thought, too.

Oh, well. At least there's the grimly comedic aspect to this situation.

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