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Kim Jong Il picks a successor
June 3, 2009 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Kim Jong Il has reportedly chosen an heir to his throne. And like a lot of stories involving North Korea, there's a mix of world-ending gloom and mad-cap hilarity. Meet the mysterious Kim Jong-un

"Little is known about the youngest son, Kim Jong-un, beyond reports that he was secretly schooled in Switzerland under an assumed name, posing as the son of a driver in the nearby North Korean Embassy. He skied Switzerland’s famous slopes, and was a fan of Michael Jordan."
posted by GilloD (71 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
It somehow disturbs me that the soon-to-be leader of North Korea is only two years my senior.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:05 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apparently all the other older sons are worthless.
posted by smackfu at 9:06 AM on June 3, 2009


"He has also been reported as overweight, diabetic, and possibly prone to health conditions in the wake of a car accident."

Well, whether he's fit to run N. Korea is a toss up. But if he wants to be a right-wing radio personality, we can make room for him here in the U.S.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:06 AM on June 3, 2009 [13 favorites]


Furthermore Mr Fujimoto stated "If power is to be handed over then Jong Un is the best for it,” Mr Fujimoto said. “He has superb physical gifts, is a big drinker and never admits defeat."

That worked out great for the U.S., too. With a plan like that, what could possibly go wrong?
posted by mhoye at 9:08 AM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


This would be a perfect job for Dick Cheney.
posted by brain_drain at 9:09 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kim Jong Il picks a successor

successor(Kim Jong II) = Kim Jong III
posted by DU at 9:14 AM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't it be cool if a son and potential heir realized how utterly crazy their predecessor was and just pretended for years to be the 'right' man for the job. All the while though knowing that he would end the craziness as soon as he got in power. Imagine what would happen if as soon as The Leader dies his son says "Ok, you poor people can all go see your South Korean family that you've missed for all these years and no you don't have to practise these stupid dances for hours everyday anymore. Also, unlike my father, I definitely cannot shoot a 34 on a par-72."
posted by Midnight Rambler at 9:18 AM on June 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Nothing says People's Republic like a hereditary dynasty of bouffanted arse-wipes.
posted by Abiezer at 9:22 AM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


According to North Korea’s crack research department, the diminutive dictator shot a 34 his first time golfing. And no, not at mini-golf, at a championship, par-72 course. He drilled home 11 holes-in-one...

So the other 7 holes took a combined 23 strokes? For a guy that shot 11 holes-in-one, that's pretty crappy. North Korea still hasn't learned the fine art of Making Up Statistics.
posted by DU at 9:22 AM on June 3, 2009


It'll never happen, but I would love it if right after Il dies, while everyone in the west is panicking over what kind of crazy despot they are going to have to deal with, his kid takes over and immediately throws open the doors to the country.

Inviting in inspectors, investors, tourists, all of it. And while everyone is wondering what the hell just happened, he releases a press release that basically says "Yeah, my dad was nuts. I'm not. Now, let's talk about getting some trade in place. I've got 24 million people who want some modernization."

Beyond all the obvious reasons this would be cool, it would be great to watch pundits who've tried to vilify the country try to get their heads around the idea that the third spoke of the "Axis of Evil" was actually just a couple of assholes in charge.
posted by quin at 9:24 AM on June 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


We now have a satellite image of Kim Jong-un's official portrait.
posted by orme at 9:25 AM on June 3, 2009


This is like a repeat of Saddam and his sons.
posted by stbalbach at 9:26 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is like a repeat of Saddam and his sons.

Except this time, they're not just bullshitting about the nukes.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:32 AM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


In my comic-book imagination, Kim Jong-Un is the negaverse version of Kim Jong Il, created by North Korean research into reversing aging through pocket dimensions. At first, he'll seem evil, then it will be revealed that he's actually the original Kim Jong Il, who was accidentally swapped with his negaverse double as a child.
posted by klangklangston at 9:39 AM on June 3, 2009


The whole country is insane. There's a quote in one of those articles where a N Korean defector is like, "I didn't realize Kim Jong Il was mortal!" and he MEANS IT. The degree of indoctrination is. Loony.
posted by GilloD at 9:43 AM on June 3, 2009


For those of you entertaining the fantasy that Kim 3 might rationally wake the country from its long totalitarian nightmare, I remind you who his father was.

Lots of chlorine in that gene pool.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:46 AM on June 3, 2009


But does the heir have the hair?
posted by grounded at 9:49 AM on June 3, 2009


It's not like Kim Jong-Il is actually in power. The country is run by military generals. I wouldn't be surprised if Jong-un was selected because he is a complete feckless wonder not because he isn't.
posted by PenDevil at 9:52 AM on June 3, 2009


Except this time, they're not just bullshitting about the nukes.

Do we yet know whether their tests were nuclear fission/fusion, or just a lot of conventional explosive + radioactive material to make a really big dirty bomb? They seem to have a taste for making things up (as much as Fearless Leader Bush did, ironically).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 AM on June 3, 2009


Beyond all the obvious reasons this would be cool, it would be great to watch pundits who've tried to vilify the country try to get their heads around the idea that the third spoke of the "Axis of Evil" was actually just a couple of assholes in charge.
posted by quin at 11:24 AM on June 3

Why would that be hard to "get their heads around"? Pretty much all discussion of North Korea's problem centers around the premise that regime change is necessary. That seems to include the fact that it is "just a couple of assholes in charge" and if we have different people in charge, all is well. That's why Iraq was fine when Saddam left, and the US's stated position in Iran is in support of regime change.

Are you really under the impression that those who have "vilified" North Korea believe that all the people there are as crazy as Kim?
posted by dios at 10:08 AM on June 3, 2009


Apparently all the other older sons are worthless.
According to NPR yesterday, the former personal sushi chef to Kim Jong-Il has previously claimed that Kim Jong-Il considers one of the two "too unstable" and the other "two effeminate".

I might be misremembering the word that was used for "unstable", but it was something like that. "Effeminate" I'm pretty sure I'm remembering correctly.
Except this time, they're not just bullshitting about the nukes.
I think you mean "... we're not bullshitting about their nukes."
posted by Flunkie at 10:16 AM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Flunkie: "it was something like that. "Effeminate" I'm pretty sure I'm remembering correctly."

It was "effeminate", all right. Which I assume was code for "gay".
posted by Joe Beese at 10:40 AM on June 3, 2009


Inside the North, the subject is only whispered about. “I never thought that Kim Jong-il was human and thus mortal,” said Oh Yeon-jong, a defector who arrived in Seoul in 2004.

Further proof that we cannot possibly imagine what life must be like in North Korea.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:41 AM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


It was "effeminate", all right. Which I assume was code for "gay".

"Effeminate" or "girlish," depending on the article and the translation. Yeah, pretty much code for "pansy."

The other son was sent to the metaphorical gulag because he spent too much time attending soccer matches in Monte Carlo and getting snapped by paparazzi, if memory serves.
posted by blucevalo at 10:46 AM on June 3, 2009


Do we yet know whether their tests were nuclear fission/fusion, or just a lot of conventional explosive + radioactive material to make a really big dirty bomb?

Maybe the first one. But conventional explosives don't register 4.7 on the richter scale.
posted by empath at 10:57 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not like Kim Jong-Il is actually in power. The country is run by military generals.

Which is why
Wouldn't it be cool if a son and potential heir realized how utterly crazy their predecessor was and just pretended for years to be the 'right' man for the job. All the while though knowing that he would end the craziness as soon as he got in power. Imagine what would happen if as soon as The Leader dies his son says "Ok, you poor people can all go see your South Korean family that you've missed for all these years and no you don't have to practise these stupid dances for hours everyday anymore.
won't happen.

:(
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:01 AM on June 3, 2009


(in other words, they'd have had to have blown up 20,000,000 pounds of TNT. (10+ kilotons)
posted by empath at 11:01 AM on June 3, 2009


Are you sure you're interpreting dios's comment correctly, bardic?
posted by Mister_A at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2009


I'm thinking it's more like a regeneration scene from Doctor Who.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on June 3, 2009


they'd have had to have blown up 20,000,000 pounds of TNT.

Sonic screwdriver!
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on June 3, 2009


obligatory youtube link
posted by DreamerFi at 11:24 AM on June 3, 2009


The other son was sent to the metaphorical gulag because he spent too much time attending soccer matches in Monte Carlo

The NYT says that the eldest, Kim Jong-Nam, was the front runner until he was caught sneaking into Japan on a fake passport so that he could visit Disneyland Tokyo. (Also, "voracious appetites for alcohol and women".)

My fave detail is that the CIA calls the new heir "The Cute Leader" (vs. his forebearers, The Dear Leader and the Great Leader).
posted by msalt at 11:32 AM on June 3, 2009


I like this new Kim more than I like those rapping dolts from Dartmouth. I hear he can beatbox real good, too.
posted by Mister_A at 11:36 AM on June 3, 2009


That seems to include the fact that it is "just a couple of assholes in charge" and if we have different people in charge, all is well. That's why Iraq was fine when Saddam left, and-

Brbrbrbrbrbr, what????
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:26 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


quin: ...I would love it if right after Il dies, while everyone in the west is panicking over what kind of crazy despot they are going to have to deal with, his kid takes over and immediately throws open the doors to the country ... it would be great to watch pundits who've tried to vilify the country try to get their heads around the idea that the third spoke of the "Axis of Evil" was actually just a couple of assholes in charge.
It would be a great thing for the people of North Korea, for sure.

But the pundits who included North Korea in the New Axis Of Evil would say that the opening of North Korea was the inevitable result of 8 years of tough policies from the second Bush administration. Chalk up one more name on the on the list of tiny impoverished third world nations that George W kept us safe from! Woo-hoo!
posted by Western Infidels at 12:39 PM on June 3, 2009


>: That's why Iraq was fine when Saddam left

When is that negative favorites pony coming? Or did it get sent to the knacker's?
posted by dunkadunc at 12:49 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Re: the golfing score: I was always struck by KJL's inane claims to fame in his futile attempt to place himself in the first rank of galactic leaders, second only to Xenu.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:09 PM on June 3, 2009


But will he have the palate to enjoy cognac as much as his predecessor?
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:42 PM on June 3, 2009


It's not like Kim Jong-Il is actually in power. The country is run by military generals. I wouldn't be surprised if Jong-un was selected because he is a complete feckless wonder not because he isn't.

I'm going to apologize right now for factual errors. I'm working from hazy memories of history class.

For much of the Ottoman empire, the sons of the Emperor where placed the "Gilded Age", the beautiful rooms they were never allowed to leave, attended only by mute servants. When the Emporer died, there would be a mass tumolt as the various princelings inside the cage vied for position by killing as many siblings are they could. The military, which really ran the country, would run in, pick the most hapless survivor, and place them on the throne, killing everyone else. They had a vested interest in keeping the Emperor weak, so there was a long line of dribblingly insane, incontinent, illiterate Emperors, including one who kept a loaded pistol at all times incase he was spooked.

I think the whole military rule of the country was put to end by one of the Memids. I think. His mother managed to keep him out of the Gilded Age and kill all his half-brothers. He then promised the military leaders all new weapons and uniforms and had a big parade to where they ceremonially tossed all their weapons and uniforms into a fire.

Then the entire city attacked them. They had good reason, as soldiers would run through town, demand food, then demand a tooth-tax for the wear and tear on their teeth.
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everytime I've heard Kim Jong-un's name mentioned, I keep thinking of some comedy sketch I saw years ago where an oversexed guy kept thrusting his pelvis forward and going "UN!" when he did it. Which makes me think, how can anyone take anybody called Kim Jong-UN! seriously?

Oh. Right. The nuclear weapons and stuff.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:02 PM on June 3, 2009


Wouldn't it technically be Kim Jong IIl?!
posted by markkraft at 2:31 PM on June 3, 2009


But conventional explosives don't register 4.7 on the richter scale.

Is there really a measurable link between geological effect and explosive quantity?

I'm not a geologist, so anyone feel free to correct me, but I think I've read that digging mines and pumping fluids out of the Earth's crust can cause instability. Maybe this preparation for a faked test could exacerbate the geological effect of detonating a conventional weapon.

And 20M pounds of TNT sounds like a lot, but from what I read is not much in terms of what a small industrial plant or two could produce in a year.

I'm just saying that there is not much corroboration of NK having nuclear weapons. Instead, we have lots of cool, flashy graphics from CNN and FOX News' art departments and Wolf Blitzer and friends telling us to remember to duck and cover.

After the last set of lies the Republicans told us, I'll admit I'm somewhat skeptical.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:35 PM on June 3, 2009


Let's hope that the soil in North Korea is rich and loamy, because I have a feeling it could be what's for dinner for the next couple of decades...

(Goes off to the kitchen to grab some kim chee.)
posted by markkraft at 2:52 PM on June 3, 2009


I'm just saying that there is not much corroboration of NK having nuclear weapons.

You would think geologists would have plenty of experience with reading nuclear explosions on a seismograph. Just because they rate nuclear bombs in TNT doesn't mean they behave exactly like them.
posted by smackfu at 2:53 PM on June 3, 2009


I know the meaning of my comment is obvious from the context, so I'm not going to explain it despite the moronic attempts to troll me.
posted by dios at 3:17 PM on June 3, 2009


Actually, no, it's not obvious, and calling people "trolls" and "moronic" who express confusion at your statement is probably not as good a response as a simple clarification.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:04 PM on June 3, 2009


Well, I'd actually take your confusion as genuine if you did not have a history of intentionally distorting my comments, calling me names, and just various rude behavior to me.

I'm quite confident that any fair individual can read my comment and figure out what I was saying, and it is obviously not what you are suggesting.
posted by dios at 4:07 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


You seriously need to lick those old wounds. I don't think I've even addressed a comment of yours in weeks if not months, let alone "distorted", or "called you names" or acted "rude" towards you. If you're not going to clarify what you mean by saying Iraq was "just fine" after Saddam, I can't say it makes a lot of sense to pout about how people are being mean to you when they act confused.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


In other words, yeah, maybe I am a "moron" here and your comment just flew over my head. Responding to my confusion by calling me a troll and making claims that I'm somehow bullying you all over this site doesn't help.

So please, spell it out for me: what did you mean by that comment? Am I asking too much here?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:18 PM on June 3, 2009


I, for one, am also confused.

>: That's why Iraq was fine when Saddam left

This struck me as being either horribly obtuse or just sarcastic, and if it's sarcastic then it doesn't make logical sense with the rest of the comment.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:20 PM on June 3, 2009


I heard the same NPR piece yesterday as mentioned upthread, and the most interesting thing to me from that piece was the information that when North Korea formed after WWII, the North Koreans adopted a lot of their philosophy from their most recent masters, the Japanese. They used communist ideologies to build the nation and strengthen and control the populace but reshaped that in the most expedient image that ties into the nationalistic jingoism, rejecting Marxism/Leninism/Maoism for their own self-reliant isolationist model. Their beliefs that Koreans are the most moral, most pure people on earth and their leader is to be revered and perfect in all things is cribbed from the Japanese. So ostensibly, they're all equal, but their leader is purer than pure.

And boy, do they hate Americans and blame them for everything. We are the epitome of everything bad and it doesn't matter what color we are, what our ideology is, or what we've done. If the power goes out, "Damn the Americans." In fact, they accept their crappy economy with equanimity because Kim Jong Il told them that he couldn't feed them and take care of them like his dad did because he had to funnel all of the money into preventing the imminent nuclear invasion of America into North Korea. So their starvation? Our fault. Lousy living conditions? Our fault. Their leader? The bestest thing in the world.

Even though the kid went to school in Switzerland and loved Jordan, I bet things won't change. Kim Jong Il watches and obsesses over plenty of foreign starlets, but the system is working for him.
posted by julen at 4:21 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


North Korea, Iraq and Iran were identified as an "Axis of Evil."
The designation did not mean that the people of North Korea, Iraq and Iran were bad.
The designation meant that the regimes of those three countries were bad.
Thus, regime change from KJI to someone one who is more open, etc hopefully means that North Korea will not longer be apart of the "Axis of Evil."
Just as in Iraq, we changed regimes. So Iraq is no longer part of the Axis of Evil. We no longer have an official policy towards Iraq of regime change and no longer designate it as a hostile foreign power.

It appears some of you want to read my comment above as if I was saying Iraq is the land of milk and honey now. Disneyworld in the desert. I can't imagine how you could read that comment that way. Of course things are peachy keen there, but the comment was not addressed to the issue of quality of life. The comment was addressing the issue of hostile regimes, which is why Iraq is "fine": they no longer have a hostile government like under Saddam.

And to Marisa: if I have you confused with someone else, then I apologize. I just get increasingly disgusted with the same people intentionally insulting me and trying to misread my comments or suggest I'm taking a position when I do not. I'm pretty sure that you have done this in the past unapologetically. If I am wrong about that, then I am big enough to offer you an apology.
posted by dios at 4:32 PM on June 3, 2009


Of course things are peachy keen there

This should say "things are *not* peachy keen"... just want to clarify that typo before more people read yet another comment uncharitably.
posted by dios at 4:33 PM on June 3, 2009


Ahh, OK. My confusion was over the definition of 'fine'. My apologies.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:35 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Boy, I would so not want to be in KJU's shoes right now. This is like Caligula appointing you his Official New Best Friend. You know it's just a matter of time…

one of the two "too unstable"

Wow, I figured someone took a crap in that ever-decreasing gene pool of his, but you know he's gotta be pretty fucking nuts if the Big Man himself is saying it. I'm genuinely curious if he even knows how to wipe, or if he just has handlers that have always done it for him?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2009


I'm pretty sure the cover as a "driver's son"would have been blown if someone in Bern spotted the handlers wiping KJU's ass between lecture periods.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:40 PM on June 3, 2009


The Whelk, I think you're basically correct about the Ottomans. But what are you on right now? You probably meant the Gilded _C_age. The Gilded Age was the latter 19th Century, IIRC. Other typos betray fatigue. Get some sleep, man! :-)
posted by Araucaria at 5:04 PM on June 3, 2009


regime change

God, that term is so gross. It's like some crass, obtuse sexual reference. "UNGH UNGH gonna change your regime you naughty little sovereign nation!"
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:08 PM on June 3, 2009


CAGE! CAGE!


Oh shit.
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on June 3, 2009


Wouldn't it be cool if a son and potential heir realized how utterly crazy their predecessor was and just pretended for years to be the 'right' man for the job. All the while though knowing that he would end the craziness as soon as he got in power.

Strangely, this sort of thing does happen (the sample size of all history being rather large). The best example I can think of is King Juan Carlos^.

Raul Castro has also surprised, although his initiatives are mainly small-bore.

It's also the plot of I, Claudius, though Graves is somewhat more sympathetic to the man than history itself has been.
posted by dhartung at 5:29 PM on June 3, 2009


Just as in Iraq, we changed regimes. So Iraq is no longer part of the Axis of Evil. We no longer have an official policy towards Iraq of regime change and no longer designate it as a hostile foreign power.

This certainly makes a lot more sense than saying things are "fine" - that you meant "fine" in the sense of "we don't regard Iraq as a country ruled by an evil dictator" - but it's sort of pointing out the obvious. The clarification is appreciated. I still think saying Saddam "left" is a pretty mild interprettation of events and changes the meaning of what happened in Iraq.

And to Marisa: if I have you confused with someone else, then I apologize. I just get increasingly disgusted with the same people intentionally insulting me and trying to misread my comments or suggest I'm taking a position when I do not. I'm pretty sure that you have done this in the past unapologetically. If I am wrong about that, then I am big enough to offer you an apology.

Like I said, whatever disagreements we had in the past, that was quite a long time ago. In checking, I see that the last time we had this exchange was in February, actually, and I apologized to you via MeMail then because you seemed to take things pretty bad. So I really don't appreciate accusations of trolling thrown at me over what was genuine confusion on my part, nor the added bonus of the other charges. So here: I'll apologize, again, for what was said between us last winter. I really, really hope this is the last I have to hear about it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:43 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


pulace but reshaped that in the most expedient image that ties into the nationalistic jingoism, rejecting Marxism/Leninism/Maoism for their own self-reliant isolationist model. Their beliefs that Koreans are the most moral, most pure people on earth and their leader is to be revered and perfect in all things is cribbed from the Japanese.

No, it isn't, or certainly not entirely, at least. It's a linear continuation of the isolationist attitudes of the effete, ultra-moral, hermit-kingdom Confucian scholar powerbase of the Choseon Dynasty, up until the last half of the 19th century. The recurrent idea that Japan was anything but an equal of Korea up until the Meiji restoration and its concomitant rapid industrialization along with skillful manipulation of the doddering dynasty in Korea, followed by the Occupation which brought the old international order to an end, is insulting and inaccurate (and totally typical), even when we're talking about the begging-to-be-insulted Norks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:51 PM on June 3, 2009


"they no longer have a hostile government like under Saddam"

Actually, Iraq's highly dysfunctional government is incredibly pro-Iranian and anti-Israel (or, pro-Hezbollah if you prefer).

And while it might not be actively anti-American, it certainly doesn't qualify as pro-American in the sense of the UK or Australia.

And btw, was I involved in another one of dios' tantrums? Without actually being involved? Why didn't someone me-mail me!
posted by bardic at 3:51 AM on June 4, 2009


Thanks, Stavros, for correcting that. I wrote it poorly, but still inaccurately. I must have misunderstood the reporter.
posted by julen at 7:34 AM on June 4, 2009


[That] is insulting and inaccurate (and totally typical), even when we're talking about the begging-to-be-insulted Norks.

Norks?
posted by msalt at 8:21 AM on June 4, 2009


North Koreans. A pretty nasty term, but one that I'm seeing more often.
posted by bardic at 4:58 PM on June 4, 2009


Thanks, Stavros, for correcting that. I wrote it poorly, but still inaccurately. I must have misunderstood the reporter.

No, no worries. These things are often more a matter of opinion than hard facts, anyway, given the secrecy of the regime.

Norks?

My admittedly-belittling diminutive for the North Koreans. They so love to puff up and declare their Masterful Powers that I enjoy poking holes in the attitude. I don't know if anyone else uses it. Sorry, I just generally assume it's pretty clear from the context.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:00 PM on June 4, 2009


I thought you meant some kind of nerd-dork hybrid.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:08 PM on June 4, 2009


That would, of course, be a derd.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:56 PM on June 4, 2009


Looks fine when written; said outloud it's sounds like you're saying "nerd" with a cold.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:10 PM on June 4, 2009


I like Norkruns a little better. but I'm kind of literal.
posted by msalt at 11:59 PM on June 4, 2009


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