Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Just how crazy is Kim Jong-Il?
March 14, 2003 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Just how crazy is Kim Jong-Il? The North Korean dictator is also an uncompromising movie producer whose casting tactics make Bowfinger look tame. In In 1978, the North Korean dictator kidnapped his favorite director from South Korea, and forced him to make a terrible, Communist-themed monster movie called "Pulgasari." Keep in mind, the Bush administration considers this guy saner and more level-headed than Saddam Hussein.(registration req'd)
posted by inksyndicate (31 comments total)

 
The pictures from Pulgasari are priceless
posted by RobbieFal at 10:51 AM on March 14, 2003


Nice going, Inky. That last sentence is an outstanding way to immediately derail what would be an interesting thread. Nobody in the administration thinks the current North Korea regime isn't a threat. One thing at a time, though. Let's get rid of the guy who's twice attacked his neighbors without provocation, used poison gas on his own citizens, etc. Then remove Kim Jong-Il. Or was that not what you meant?
posted by mojohand at 10:58 AM on March 14, 2003


Assuming, of course, that KJ-IL waits patiently for his turn while the first member of the "Axis of Evil" gets worked over.

Actually, this story sounds like it could be the plot of some hollywood comedy movie. I bet Shin San-Ok didn't think it was very funny though... :-(
posted by Stuart_R at 11:05 AM on March 14, 2003


I don't understand how this works. How does the dictator of an isolated country "kidnap" someone?

If Kim Jong-Il takes a sudden interest in me (I'm not hoping for this, by the way), do I need to wear a moustache, a wig, and chinos to camouflage myself?

Someone please explain this.
posted by rocketman at 11:16 AM on March 14, 2003


This was a great post until I got to this:

Keep in mind, the Bush administration considers this guy saner and more level-headed than Saddam Hussein.

Why? Why must you do that? First off it is an outright lie. Secondly, why must you interject flame-bait in to what other wise is a very interesting post?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:26 AM on March 14, 2003


"How does the dictator of an isolated country "kidnap" someone?"

We can't get him to do important things like stop lobbing missiles over Japan, or not building nukes. Do you think he cares whether anyone disapproves of him kidnapping people and forcing them to produce movies?

Typically the world works like this - You do something bad and you get caught and you get punished. Kim Jong-Il's world literally doesn't work this way. He does something bad and people just stare in wonder with their months hanging open.

The world community does almost nothing to discourage his silliness. He's the Michael Jackson of his peer group.

"Why must you do that?"

Just to bait you Steve. And it worked perfectly didn't it? Try not to fall for the more obvious trollbait. Make them work for it.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:31 AM on March 14, 2003


Okay, so you could *probably* send a secret agent or two into the next-door-neighbor country and locate whoever you wanted to kidnap. They'd probably even bring a gun and pull it on them.

Then how do you get out? Has North Korea developed teleport technology in the midst of their famine?

I'm seriously baffled by this. It's one thing to smuggle somebody into Canada, with whom we share a peaceful border. But aren't there armed forces guarding the line between NK and SK?
posted by rocketman at 11:32 AM on March 14, 2003


rocketman, north korea also took a bunch of japanese over the years. so watch out.
posted by probablysteve at 11:34 AM on March 14, 2003


He does something bad and people just stare in wonder with their months hanging open.

I guess I'm interested in the mechanics. I knew Kim Jong-Il's reality was like that, I just wanted to know *how* he did it.
posted by rocketman at 11:34 AM on March 14, 2003


You hear the Bush administration saying North Korea is much more stable than Iraq, and you hear the Bush administration saying that issues with North Korea will be resolved diplomatically. That has nothing to do with KJ-IL being any less crazy than Saddam, it has more to do with the fact that North Korea is a military machine and their army could kick our ass any day of the week, at least on their own turf. We don't want to fuck with North Korea, but Bush is a moron calling Iraq, Iran and North Korea the "Axis of Evil" I find it hilarious that at the peak of Bush's attempt to get support for the war, North Korea comes out and says they have nuclear weapons. How do you like them apples Bush? Yeah... he shut up about attacking North Korea pretty quickly there. Like Stuart_R said, there is no damn way North Korea is going to sit back and not do anything when we are pre-emptively striking Iraq and when they believe themselves to be next. This whole think with Iraq could quite possibly be the end of America as we know it. We're going to alienate ourselves from the world...already look at what Bush's policy has been in regards to the economy, the environment, FREEDOMS, and now foreign relations. Freedom fries my ass! What freedoms? They were all taken away after September 11th. I don't know about you guys, but I'm not ready to trade any of my freedoms for security. Bush is the biggest terrorist of all, spreading fear and terror to citizens of the U.S. by setting up organizations such as Homeland Security and telling us to all go out and get duct tape. Well, they believe there are only 10 al-Qaida operatives left in the United States... so who the hell are we scared of. Not to mention the way Bush has distracted everyone from everything. First it was Bin Laden, then he couldn't catch him so he switched attention to Anthrax, then we found out that anthrax attacks were not a foreign threat, but rather an internal attack by Americans, on Americans, of course, that never really got much press...because they were on to the issue of Iraq, which has nothing to do with terrorism (although the bush administration have been trying as hard as they can to make a connection). It does have to do with a nation that has had 12 years to disarm (most of the weapons they have were given to them by the U.S. in the first place to attack Iran) and during those 12 years they've done shit to us and we want to pre-emptively strike them which will set a whole new precedent for nations like China that want to invade Taiwan. Great, Bush is going to start world war III or perhaps cause the permanent economic downfall of the U.S. when other nations refuse to buy U.S. products because we are the aggressor, because we have no moral high ground. Saddam is 68 years old, he's going to be dead in a couple years anyway, so what's the point? Why spend billions of dollars to beat up on an old man who hasn't done shit to us? Ok, I am done ranting for now....
posted by banished at 11:42 AM on March 14, 2003


whoa...
*glances both ways*


this crazy:

{---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------}
posted by gottabefunky at 11:45 AM on March 14, 2003


*they haven't done shit to us, and think should be thing
posted by banished at 11:46 AM on March 14, 2003


Ok, I am done ranting for now....

So I guess you don't like the president?
posted by Durwood at 11:47 AM on March 14, 2003


AAAHH!!! A wall of text! :-)
posted by Stuart_R at 11:47 AM on March 14, 2003


the fact that North Korea is a military machine and their army could kick our ass any day of the week

This is nothing even close to a fact.
posted by dgaicun at 11:55 AM on March 14, 2003


No Durwood, it's not just the President, it's the decisions he and his entire administration are making. I'm sure he honestly believes he is doing a good thing in Iraq, liberating the people and protecting America as he says, but he seems to be oblivious to what this could do to America, and how it could hurt us. Many have likened Bush to a cowboy, and in many ways he is one of those "we have the bombs so you do what we say" sort of Americans.... Using force like that illegitimizes his rule and could cause massive backlash.
posted by banished at 11:55 AM on March 14, 2003


You are no longer banished! Arise and join the battle against the evil Cabal of the unelected fraud O' one who was once put out from among our midst and Welcome!

Just how crazy is Kim Jong-Il?

Not nearly as crazy as Cheney or Rumsfeld!!
posted by nofundy at 12:02 PM on March 14, 2003


"and think should be thing"

True..... True.....

"I just wanted to know *how* he did it."

They have subs they use for this.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:14 PM on March 14, 2003


dgaicun, whether or not North Korea could kick the ass of the US on home turf is always going to be opinion until it is tried.
Suffisive to say, without the use of chemical or biological weapons, anything other than the aerial bombardment of Korea is going to be very difficult for an attacking force.
They have been practicing defending the country for the past 50 years.
Kim Il Jong is mad enough to have a library 20,000 Hollywood movies, all of which I imagine he has watched. At least once. Which would be enough to drive anyone potty.

Here's the opinion of someone who has actually been to North Korea:
BBC Four: Do you feel any optimism about the fate of North and South Korea?
BA: No. What's incredible about North and South Korea is the anti-Americanism is almost as rampant in the South as it is in the North, certainly in the younger generation. When we were there two girls were run over (and killed) by an American tank and the South Koreans were convinced that the Americans did it on purpose. Thousands of people demonstrated outside the US Embassy. Both North and South live for nothing else but reunification. Both sides think that it is being blocked by the US military. I really can't see it being unified while Kim Jong-il is in power and there is an American military presence. The American and North Korean soldiers hate each other too much. But the Americans have said that even if there was reunification the troops would stay there anyway because it offers access via land to Russia and China so strategically it's very important.
posted by asok at 12:22 PM on March 14, 2003


you know, living on the west coast and all, this north korea having nukes thing really sketches me out.

if we get bombed, and uh, i turn into a shadow burnt on a brick wall somewhere, i'm going to be pretty upset.

for about a fraction of a second: then i'll get over it.

also, i thought the link was pretty interesting. thanks.
posted by fishfucker at 12:28 PM on March 14, 2003


Poor Kim Jong Il, he's such a loser dictator. He needs to take the Saddam Seminar.
posted by homunculus at 12:35 PM on March 14, 2003


They have subs they use for this.

I see how it is.
posted by rocketman at 1:46 PM on March 14, 2003


Every war gets a name, thus Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, etc. I heard the War on North Korea© will be titled "Get Shorty"...Since we'll have Iran surrounded from Iraq & Afghanistan I suppose they'll be next and I propose "Ayatola Assahola" for that action.
posted by Mack Twain at 2:14 PM on March 14, 2003


An insane dictator with an active nuclear reactor and a penchant for movies about enormous, unstoppable mutant beasts that tear up the countryside...

I can only conclude that North Korea is now in the process of breeding irradiated supermonsters to attain total world domination.

I mean, if I were an insane dictator, I'd probably try it once.
posted by cratchit at 2:15 PM on March 14, 2003


Sang-Ok Shin/Simon Sheen went on to be executive producer of 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, which starred Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan was known for his 24" pythons. Anacondas live in Venezuela. Keep in mind, the Bush administration considers this guy saner and more level-headed than Hugo Chavez.
posted by eddydamascene at 2:50 PM on March 14, 2003


I can only conclude that North Korea is now in the process of breeding irradiated supermonsters to attain total world domination.

I mean, if I were an insane dictator, I'd probably try it once.


That's the thing with irradiated supermonsters, you say you'll only try it once but then you keep trying to perfect them, and pretty soon you've got an entire menagerie of funky beasts, which are very expensive to feed and maintain. For the discerning despot, the nuclear option is much more cost-effective.
posted by Dr. Boom at 3:05 PM on March 14, 2003


What's incredible about North and South Korea is the anti-Americanism is almost as rampant in the South as it is in the North, certainly in the younger generation.

Bullshit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:09 PM on March 14, 2003


Some backup on my bullshit call :

See (a small part of the larger story) here, which is correct in the reality but completely wrong on the 'why.' I've got too much of a hangover to be bothered to explain the 'why' - perhaps one of our other expat-in-Korea MeFites can do it for you. Suffice to say it's not because of Rumsfeld's threats.

Also, on topic : Kim JI isn't insane. It's foolish and dangerous to think he is. What he is is an absolute ruler, with no limits of any kind to his power inside the DPRK. He is the godlike center of a cult of personality. He can do anything he wants in his little domain, and he does - other than feed his people, of course.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:33 PM on March 14, 2003


y6 and rocketman: subs, yes, and tunnels.

That was an interesting article asok, sort of a How to be minded, manipulated, arrested, deported, and harrassed in six countries, and still think it's all the Americans' fault. (No wonder you linked to it! How charmingly predictable.) Some very interesting quotes, though, especially on how Kim Jong-Il has so much culpability for the great famine, he can never let his people have freedom -- they'd lynch him. And Fidel, Khamenei, Bashar Assad, and Khadafy, all such lovable chaps, the finest men, whose people elect them again and again.

Incidentally, more on the tragic accident {wack music}; the vehicle involved was not a tank, but a tracked bridge-laying vehicle. The girls were covering their ears because of the noise, the vehicle (which has side cantilevered equipment) was too wide for the narrow lane, there was vegetation, the convoy had just gone around a turn, and there were radio communication problems. Some command negligence there.
posted by dhartung at 5:55 PM on March 14, 2003


Also, on topic : Kim JI isn't insane. It's foolish and dangerous to think he is.

I'm glad you made the point. I would add that he is a very bright absolute depot and heads a government that sincerely believe ours is gunning for them. He and its actions, in this light, are eminently sane.

Q&A: Should U.S. Launch Direct Talks with N. Korea?

From the Council on Foreign Relations, March 10, 2003

Donald Gregg, U.S. ambassador to South Korea in the first Bush administration, says the situation with North Korea is "quite dangerous" and that immediate direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang are necessary to stem North Korea's development of nuclear weapons.
The president of the Korea Society, Gregg says he has repeatedly advised the White House to begin "direct talks" with North Korea but has been rebuffed because Washington does not want to appear to cave in to nuclear blackmail. Gregg says that virtually every expert on North Korea agrees that only direct talks can resolve the crisis.
He was interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman, consulting editor for cfr.org, on March 7, 2003.



How would you describe the current crisis with North Korea?

The problem hinges on a fundamental misreading of the Korean character. I think that the president has always had real animosity toward Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader. He's made that quite evident. I think the problem is that Koreans are very different from Americans in terms of the way their psychology works. If you push Koreans into a corner and don't talk to them, they'll behave worse and worse. They will go right to the brink, and I think they would go down in flames if they were given no alternative.

You're talking about North Korea's demand that the United States hold direct talks with them.

That's right. When I went to North Korea last April, I found an accumulation of questions on the North Koreans' part. Why is George Bush so different from his father? Why does George Bush hate Bill Clinton? Why does George Bush use such rhetoric against us? Why don't you understand us better? Why do you threaten us with your nuclear weapons? As I sought to deal with those questions--I told them that my only ground rule was I wouldn't criticize my president, any more than they would criticize Kim--I could see it was just tremendously cathartic for them to ask these questions and have some kind of dialogue.

Then I was invited back last November and a general, who had been just bristling at the first meetings, greeted me as an old friend. He said, why haven't you sent me a picture of our first meeting? He said you know we are making great progress. We are cutting down 50-year old trees in the Demilitarized Zone, and I have multi-channel communications with my South Korean counterparts. We are improving relations with the Russians who want to build a gas pipeline. What's the matter with you Americans? That's the line. So I just feel we need to talk to the North Koreans. And the Koreans, I think, understand us better than we understand them.

I think the situation is quite dangerous. The president feels that Kim Jong Il is evil. There is a demonization process that goes on. Mike Wallace did a horrible job on Kim Jong Il on "60 Minutes." Newsweek had a miserable column. And Kim really is easy to demonize. As I told the Senate when I testified on February 4, I almost feel like a Quisling, saying we ought to talk to this guy. But I think that talking to him is the only way to avoid a very dangerous situation.


There is a demonization process that goes on.

I really think the main reason Bush & Co. are not talking to North Korea is out of pride--to talk to them validates Clinton's--speaking of demonization--approach and you just can't have that now, can you? Unfortunately the boys are lighting a nuclear tipped exploding cigar in the process. Which will blow up in our face if we aren't lucky.

And Pinochet, Suharto, Mubarak, and King Fahd--insert names of other Arabian oil state potentates here--all such lovable chaps, the finest men, whose people elected them again and again.

Well, our government elected a couple of them, I suppose. Just like it just did in Afghanistan.

Oh, Karzai's no Pinochet, I know, but c'mon, Dan, less rant and more facts please?
posted by y2karl at 7:36 PM on March 14, 2003


Great link, y2karl. Thanks.
posted by homunculus at 11:19 PM on March 14, 2003


« Older Happy Pi Day!...  |  crunch time for ANWR... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments