KCNA Etude

So many lessons are just lying in wait for all of us on the KCNA repository of news, without which North Korea would remain but a phantom painted in dark hue by sinister CNN.

Truth!  Elusive commodity, elegant reality.

For instance, it becomes apparent that Russian opera, Tchaikovsy in fact, is central to proving the standing of the DPRK on the world stage, at least according to Kim Jong Il, who supervises its rehearsal.  The tales of the life of the aristocracy in the late Romanov period….

Dear God, the distant Onegin in his duel is the splitting image of Kim Jong Suk, sharpshooting mother of the nation!

Attending a rehearsals at the Kim Won Gyun Conservatory in Pyongyang, along with his grey imminence Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong Il stated:

It is high admirable that young students have had abilities to produce any foreign opera, he said, adding that this proud achievement is a vivid manifestation of the validity and vitality of the WPK’s policy of training artiste reserves.

He stressed that the Korean people, who have the world-famous cultural assets such as the five revolutionary operas and proudly advance toward the world with high pride and self-confidence of being a soon-to-be great prosperous and powerful nation, should get better understanding of the world culture.

Does this mean, Dear Leader, you would like them to intern at the Met in New York?  Because Stephen Bosworth can help you with that, good man!  It’s called a Track II exchange, a land where the ruts are fresher and more shallow, promising land, in fact, for farming.

So what if the plot is a bit bourgeois?   Amp up the requisite paeans to rural life, recall the virtues of brotherly love, and virtually anything can be justified.

And with infant prodigies rendering songs like “We Will Be Loyal Down through the Generations,” Maestro Kim can sleep easy (just not on his left arm, which isn’t a problem because conductors don’t need that arm anyway).

Now that the hygenic propaganda teams have helped the whole country to quit smoking, the music sounds even clearer.  Doesn’t it feel good, that sense of smug superiority, when your Chinese colleague shows up in a plush chair, offers you a Marlboro, and you can refuse thanks to that catchy jingle?  It almost makes you want to give an interview!  Almost like a Canadian!

What will your Mexican friends say?  Will they praise your vitality?  Will they support your subterranean feats of atom-splitting eruptions that the Chondogyo millenarians of 1894 Hamgyong could only have fantasized about?

If they are really impressed, they will bring farm implements as gifts, like those big-spending, camera-toting Chinese.   The Chinese are so great!  You don’t hate them at all, especially not in Changchun.  And when their kids get overweight and steal the Wii from your own bedazzled children, it doesn’t matter in the least!  Because everyone knows kids are not at all conscious of social class, entertainment technologies, or their need to eat, and after all, it’s the year of children’s friendship too in the loving arms of the PRC-DPRK relationship.

Your country is strong, very strong.  If it weren’t, why would a gaggle of random foreigners visit Mount Paektu?  They’re going to the apex just to pay tribute to the Kim family genius, just like those Chinese on the other side of the lake, right?

Oh my God.  I love you so much.  Really.   So much, great nation, that I would give my very skin for your perpetuation, that I would remain married and care for a disabled soldier.   So much that I would ignore those nasty spy planes and radio broadcasts and very consistently tart East Coast bloggers.  And the DVDs; I would ignore those too.  And songs of a certain tempo. And the pimped-out Acura Integra racing along on that new new superhighway the Chinese appear to have blasted out of a giant mountain of rock just across the river.  Because you, my country!  You mean that much to me, and I can’t read Chinese anyway.

I love you sufficiently and ardently enough.  Believe it!  For you, I would carry an A-frame full of bricks, all day long, just like Kim Jong Suk and little, laboring Kim Jong Il did one day which was just discovered in 1946.  Apparently it was a leap year, and a secret page opened in the queen mother’s diary, or the story was found on an inscription in the trees near the secret base camp, where Kim Jong Il’s little friends transcribed his various activities at the age of five into various plant and stone life.  Because these are things we do because we love you, DPRK, all of us, and I say the letters of your name with a loving inflection on each syllable, pausing as if I were a Koguryo general in between applying four thick and successive blobs of ink to a poem of victory over the bloated and dastardly armies of the Sui or the perfidious Silla, poems which would certainly be in Hangul had Hangul been invented by the northern genius of the Koguryo rather than the southern scion, King Sejong, whose pubis was not nearly so voluminous as that of the great Tangun, whose goiter perhaps reminds me of the great founder of the nation, Marshal Zhukov (ahem!) Kim Il Song.

Yes, indeed.  This is a wonderful time to advance the cause of socialism in the motherland, our great country, land of liberty, of thee I sing, free of H1N1, and sometimes I get little chills just recognizing how wonderful it is that we are an impregnable fortress, even against the French.   And thus I remain in a perpetual state of halcyon, high-altitude bliss, floating like a Midsummer Night’s Dream fairie above the clean and abundant Taedong River…that is, until night falls and the Juche beacon hits the mighty mountain, and, like some Himalayan-trained crime-fighter of Gotham/Inspector O’s metropolis, leaping from parapet to parapet on the Ryugyong Hotel, I am called into action, and I experience an explosive “eruption of my pent-up grudge and resentment against the Japanese imperialists’ ferocious colonial rule over Korea” and then open my throat fully to roar with the friction of “a massive patriotic struggle to get back the territory of the country occupied by the latter and achieve the sovereignty of the nation.”

All this I can achieve because my will is indomitable, my patriotic stamina indefatigable, and my belly is made of iron and can smash down bowl after turgid bowl of corn porridge.  Oliver Twist?  Never knew the stinging lash of the Japanese whip.  Yodok, the musical?  Don’t have a clue.  Joshua Stanton?  Never heard of him.  Lee Myung-bak?  Race traitor, flunky, cancer-like entity.  Mao Anying?  Couldn’t download the Flickr photo feed from the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang.

I just do my thing here, which is to fight global warming by fighting illegal deforestation.    Oh my God, my unity is so powerful.  It is more powerful than a nuclear weapon.  It’s almost as if, like my ingenious leader Kim Jong Il and our eternal leader Kim Il Song, I myself can partake of this national upswing of strategy, the footsteps moving ever more rapidly towards the Gates of a Strong and Prosperous Nation in 2012, which is when the rapture hits and the Juche tower and Mount Paektu all erupt at once, and the Taedong turns into a river of corn porridge and the old people’s eyes get big like they did when they once saw Pusan.  Something big is going to happen.  Maybe even bigger than a mammoth rally with big stinking torches, wet and sopping with enough kerosene to drive a thousand Juche-driven tractors.   I can sense it, here, in the countryside, where I strike down my hoe and continue with this row, unimpeded by Yankee fertilizers, Chinese landlords, or South Korean digital tethers.  Truly, yea truly, I am free.

Die Zeit, 4 June 2009


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