Kim Jong-un: Parroting Parody or Floundering Fool?
Parodying his Grandad?
There has been a discussion over at the Marmot's Hole about North Korean propaganda as North Korea expert Brian Myers sees it. Myers argues that what serves as public-image propaganda these days by Kim Jong-un -- e.g., openly playing with foreigners at 'his' amusement park, publicly hanging out with a 'strange' Dennis Rodman, unnecessarily humiliating his 'corrupt' uncle on national television, and other such 'feats' -- is surprisingly bad, for it makes Kim Jong-un look not only utterly immature, but also even disrespectful of his elders in the eyes of North Koreans. One commenter disagreed with the position taken by Myers, arguing that the regime in Pyongyang could use any sort of propaganda it wished, and the North Korean people would have to swallow it, even if it were as irrational as bad mathematics, because, "Up north, 2+2 can equal 5 today, 3 tomorrow." I disagreed with that point, so I posted my own comment:
"Up north, 2+2 can equal 5 today, 3 tomorrow."
Only for small values of 5 and large values of 3.
Propaganda can be consistent with people's values or inconsistent with people's values. The former tends to be more effective.
Kim Jong-un has shown himself both publicly frivolous and impulsively brutal in a culture that expects leaders to appear serious and deliberative.
He therefore lacks gravitas, despite his girth, and looks like a parody of Kim Il-sung.
My interlocutor, a reasonable fellow going by the eminently sensible moniker "George Smiley," accepted that my argument "makes sense," thereby giving me the confidence to post my views here, where truth alone is admitted through the gate and presented for posting! Falsehood must remain outside, languishing in the dust and pleading through bitter tears to be allowed entrance, but the gates are forever shut to such foul error. Unfortunately, that doesn't prevent the occasional inaccuracy from sneaking in through the sewers, but their stink eventually betrays them, and they are purged! Not like Uncle Jang Song-thaek was purged, though, for I don't even own a machine gun or a flamethrower . . .