20 October 2018
Kim Jong-un doesn't like what he sees; the actor doesn't even remotely look like him. Photos: Reuters, BBC
Kim Jong-un doesn't like what he sees; the actor doesn't even remotely look like him. Photos: Reuters, BBC

The joke is on them, Kim Jong-un

No leader of even the tiniest, poorest nation on earth would be thrilled about being the target of an assassination plot — even if it’s just a movie plot.

But North Korea’s vicious reaction to the Hollywood flicker The Interview, which is about an American television host and his producer who are recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to kill its supreme leader Kim Jong-un, seems a bit over the top. The film’s a comedy, by the way.

A spokesman of the North’s foreign affairs ministry called the release of the movie “an act of war”.

“Making and releasing a movie on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted him as saying.

“If the US administration allows and defends the showing of the film, a merciless counter-measure will be taken,” he warned.

The spokesman went on, accusing Washington of “provocative insanity” for mobilizing a “gangster filmmaker” to defile their leader, and reminding the US that North Koreans, who were incensed by the movie, regard Kim’s life as “more precious” than their own.

But that’s typical bombast from the communist regime, which has long been isolated from the rest of the world except for a few friends like China. (Even China now appears to be having second thoughts about backing the young despot, who recently applied what he learned from his uncle about statecraft on his unsuspecting mentor.)

Even a light-hearted remark about Kim’s hairstyle could spark threats of nuclear holocaust from the hermit kingdom.

And that’s probably the reason why Kim — and before him, his late father Jim Jong-il — has been the favorite target of late night shows. Onion-skinned politicians and their ilk make great material for one-liners.

As Robin Williams, playing the role of an Armed Forces radio DJ in Good Morning, Vietnam, said of Richard Nixon: “There’s a man who’s screaming out to be made fun of.”

It’s a pity, really, since the Kims — both the late ruler and the current one — were known to be closet fans of Hollywood movies, despite their highly inflammatory anti-American rhetoric. In 2012, the young Kim was guest of honor at a state concert where the Rocky theme and Frank Sinatra’s My Way were played by a full orchestra with a man dressed up as Mickey Mouse conducting. Even by Hollywood standards, that’s as max as you could go in decadent glitz.

So our unsolicited advice to the North’s supreme leader and commander is this: Instead of pouring bile on the movie and threatening to send erratic missiles across the Pacific, why not use reverse psychology and take its side? 

Tell the world that you agree with what it says about the world’s evil superpower, which, aside from tapping Angela Merkel’s private conversations, would not hesitate to send out agents to terminate with extreme prejudice leaders of sovereign states who happen to disagree with it.

Just like in the movie, invite CNN’s Christiane Amanpour to do a one-on-one with you (you could ask your friend Dennis Rodman to personally hand her the invitation), show her the magnificent accomplishments of your regime, and like what your late father did when Madeleine Albright paid him a visit, ask her if you could have her email address. 

Perception is reality. It’s a make-believe world, just like the towering edifices and monuments in Pyongyang hiding the grinding poverty suffered by your people.

And the joke is on them.

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