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ain't it funky now
February 3, 2012 8:19 AM   Subscribe

North Korean People's Army Funky Get Down Juche Party
posted by flapjax at midnite (25 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The happily infectious little chunk of funk that accompanies the goose steppin' is sung one Jimmy "Bo" Horne, and was written and produced by Harry Wayne Casey, of KC and the Sunshine Band fame.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:28 AM on February 3, 2012


That's a fun video, but I can't ever help but thinking that I am an awful human being for laughing at the ridiculousness that is North Korea.
posted by lstanley at 8:28 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I couldn't goose step that snappily if you held me at gunpoint.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:29 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ain't no party like a Juche party, 'cause a Juche party illustrates a perverse level of automaton-like uniformity in the celebration of an ideology that purports to be about self-reliance but is as much about social control in the interest of a small group of elites.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:32 AM on February 3, 2012 [26 favorites]


Is this the ants thread? 'Cause that's what this whole scene reminds me of... humans as anonymous ants.

Ain't totalitarianism a gas?
posted by kinnakeet at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2012


Ain't totalitarianism a gas?

Totally.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:41 AM on February 3, 2012


"That's a fun video, but I can't ever help but thinking that I am an awful human being for laughing at the ridiculousness that is North Korea."

Is that not the only possible response?
posted by Naberius at 8:47 AM on February 3, 2012


Rolling down the street to funky Jimmy "Bo", kicking for Kim and Juche.
Laid back, with my mind on no money and no money on my mind
posted by rh at 8:49 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, it's as if every North Korean radio is mandatorily tuned to the same funky frequency.
posted by obscurator at 8:57 AM on February 3, 2012


...yes, but is this the beginning of a new dawn?
posted by marvin at 9:02 AM on February 3, 2012


Is this the ants thread? 'Cause that's what this whole scene reminds me of... humans as anonymous ants.

Well, one of the constants of northeast Asia is that people often like to do things in groups. In Japan, participating in any sort of school activity, such as sports day or the annual bon dance reminds me a lot of these sorts of North Korea videos. But, at the end of the day, the sense of group accomplishment and communion makes people happy.

Ian Buruma, said something interesting when writing about why there was so much seemingly non-spontaneous displays of emotion during Kim Jong-Il's funeral. He said that in a society like North Korea, where emotions are probably repressed (or surpressed), people take advantage on any opportunity to display real emotions, so the funeral was a good chance to let it all out. They weren't crying for Kim Jong-Il, they were crying (unconsciously, maybe) for themselves.

In the same way, without ever having been to North Korea or interacted with people, these May Day celebrations perhaps provide a way for people to express happiness, joy, etc.

And they like doing things as part of a group, which isn't necessarily totalitarian. But the guns and tanks and jackboots are.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:11 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


To steal a joke from this previously linked gem

Ain't no part like a Pyongang party 'cause a Pyongang part is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY

posted by louche mustachio at 9:30 AM on February 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


pretend this was in the linky part up there
posted by louche mustachio at 9:31 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Needs more Lambeth Walk.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:10 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the same way, without ever having been to North Korea or interacted with people, these May Day celebrations perhaps provide a way for people to express happiness, joy, etc.

Pretty sure this wasn't May Day. I've been in Pyongyang on May Day, and it seemed* like a laid-back family-oriented holiday; people barbecuing in the park, drinking Taedonggang beer and dancing to music. We went to one semi-organized thing, but it was straight-up picnic stuff. Tug-of-war (the side being urged on by the dude with the DPRK flag always wins), frisbee (ours; no one seemed to have seen a frisbee before, and they couldn't throw it at all - it was hilarious) and bayonet-the-imperalist (a sort of relay race, where you are blindfolded and spin around, then have to whack a plywood racist caricature of a US soldier -- amazingly huge nose -- with a stick). No military parades, which is 90% of the video.

The other bits, like the folks dancing with the ladies wearing Chosŏn-ot (the "lampshade" dresses) are at least somewhat staged -- notice that everybody is in unison. I think that the attitude of the government staging this is that showing something other than antlike conformity would send the wrong message, which is why even the artists in propaganda productions are tightly choreographed. It's a cultural thing that may be partially northeast Asian, but is also undoubtedly a part of having the military as such an ingrained part of society. And possibly even because the DPRK is sort of a minnow in a pond with bigger fish, and they take the idea that showing any sort of "weakness" is lethal.

Not that I disagree with the idea that KJI's funeral was a real outlet for emotion. And not that tight choreography in dancing, singing or mass games makes them entirely unpleasant -- people in our totally individualist society still derive joy from activities in unison; like cheerleading, choirs, and chanting in sports stadiums.

* it's never exactly what it seems, obviously.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:12 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by cmonkey at 10:14 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the new series of pics "Kim Jong Un looking at things", I was kind of shocked to see him being led by the hand. Often he would have a female military secretary or adviser at his side, her hand on his upper arm. Often the senior general with him would hold his hand as he is led around on the site tour. What's up with that? Doesn't seem quite the right amount of reverence and respect for the king, does it? Kim Jong Il never had anyone holding his hand!
posted by Meatbomb at 10:15 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other bits, like the folks dancing with the ladies wearing Chosŏn-ot (the "lampshade" dresses) are at least somewhat staged

Watching saguk has given me a real lust for some Joseon-era hanbok. I particularly crave one of those horsehair gats that the government officials and members of the courts used to wear.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:59 AM on February 3, 2012


Ian Buruma said something interesting when writing about why there was so much seemingly non-spontaneous displays of emotion during Kim Jong-Il's funeral. He said that in a society like North Korea, where emotions are probably repressed (or supressed), people take advantage on any opportunity to display real emotions, so the funeral was a good chance to let it all out. They weren't crying for Kim Jong-Il, they were crying (unconsciously, maybe) for themselves.

This was definitely agrees in part with what was said in the very interesting book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (a Mefite favorite, and certainly well worth reading).

There's one person that the author interviews, I think it was Mi-ran, who says that her crying at Kim il-Sung's funeral was about her sadness, frustration, and hunger and not so much about any actual feelings about the Dear Leader because she didn't have any left.
posted by librarylis at 11:03 AM on February 3, 2012


There is only one actually appropriate overdubbed video of North Korean military marching: The DPRK Hell March
posted by thewittyname at 11:06 AM on February 3, 2012



To steal a joke from this previously linked gem

Ain't no part like a Pyongang party 'cause a Pyongang part is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY


aha, someone on my gmail chat had that under their name for about a month, except it read 'Ain't no party like an NK party...." Now you made me realize that stands for North Korea, when that whole time I made the assumption that it stood for New Kids.
posted by mannequito at 11:07 AM on February 3, 2012


[screeching sound as record needle is pulled from album]

North Korean Killing Fields
posted by BobbyVan at 11:35 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was one big, funky brass section, there
posted by Redhush at 3:02 PM on February 3, 2012


That was one big, funky brass section, there

No kidding! Actually, I've become kinda fixated on this track. It just moves like a force of nature, unstoppable.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:55 PM on February 3, 2012


The Alternate-History Backstory:

World War One's trench warfare standoff is broken by the American invention of the Lindy Hop. During WWII, after Nobel Prize winner Robert Johnson writes a letter to President Roosevelt, the United States convenes a groundbreaking, integrated group of musicians (including Little Richard and child prodigy Elvis Presley) in Los Alamos to create a new secret weapon to use against Hitler's Vengeanz-Polka. By the 70s, disco and funk have become unstoppable forces, and a fluke-lucky North Korean spy succeeds in kidnapping and exfiltrating American singer Jimmy 'Bo' Horne. This film was the result.
posted by sixswitch at 7:09 PM on February 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


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