North Korea

Balloting Closed; 2011 Beatrice Webb Award Winner Announced

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Three days into the new year and the 2011 Beatrice Webb Award (for excessive credulity in foreign travel) has already been snatched up! Thanks to BBC News for alerting us to young Brown graduate Matthew Reichel, 23, who has teamed up with North Korean dictatorship to offer a one-way exchange program of "grassroots level of engagement…between citizens" of the DPRK and idiotic American college students. Reichel's "Pyongyang Project" exists for students and academics to "experience DPRK for themselves and try to see a different side of a country that's a lot more dynamic than they may have anticipated." According to Reichel, who is currently "learning" (i.e. doesn't speak) Korean, Westerners are only offered a "one-sided" media view of the world's biggest outdoor Stalinist labor camp.    

So what can one learn on a tightly controlled, Potemkin tour of the DPRK? An exceptionally dumb PhD candidate and "Pyongyang Project" alum previously wondered if those Beatlemania-like scenes that greeted leaders Great and Dear were just Juche propaganda. But visiting Pyongyang and speaking with prop North Koreans, he was quickly disabused of one-sided Western misinformation, coming away from with "distinct impression that this was real and this was genuine."

Reichel "firmly believe[s] that peaceful engagement, dialogue and cooperation between citizens—American and North Korean—is the most direct way to build trust, promote mutual respect, and lay the foundation for peace and prosperity between North Korea and the global community." How a student visit to the museum of North Korean Agriculture Museum (I hear that the famine film is the Captain Eo of Pyongyang) would have prevented North Korea's recent shelling of its southern neighbor is a bit unclear.   

So what if you want to write about your experiences in Bizarro Korea, if you desire to "promote mutual respect" between the students of Amherst College and the prisoners of North Korea? Forget it. As Reichel's website informs potential applicants, "in line with DPRK government regulations, journalists, professional photographers, media employees (including school publications) and government employees are not able to participate in our programs." In case that wasn't clear enough:

—No cameras or recording devices will be allowed during weekdays, except on accompanied excursions. Cameras may be used during the weekends and with the explicit permission of the Korean program director.

– Students may not publish (professionally, publicly, or online) anything about their experiences in the DPRK or the program in general that has not been explicitly approved by us.

– Students will not be allowed to leave campus without a program representative or program director present.

– Students must sign both a program rules form and a waiver form before the start of the program. Failure to sign these forms may result in expulsion from the program.

Let us never speak of North Korea again.

But the real highlight of the "Pyongyang Project" website are the John Reed-inspired testimonials, where one will look in vain for even the mildest criticism of the most sinister country on Earth.  

"What an awesome experience with many highlights: we went to an agricultural museum where both leaders had been to several times, and were guided by the same lady that guided President Kim II Sung; on the very same night when we were back to our hotel, we turned on the TV and the TV was showing President Kim II Sung visiting the exact same museum guided by the lady we just saw in in afternoon. What de ja vu!"

Ji G.

Graduate Student,
Stanford University

But the best testimonial comes from James McClain, a history professor at Brown University (identified by the "Pyongyang Project" website as James M., a history professor at Brown University, a code of Venona-like complexity), who writes, apparently without irony, that Comrade Reichel deserves "thanks…for assembling such an outstanding group of fellow travelers."

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  1. Firsties! Because if I’m not dreaming, that’s about the intellectual rigor of Ji. G.

    1. I am not Matthew Reichel.

  2. Keep that video away from Thomas Friedman, unless you want to clean up the resulting jizzfest of admiration….”THAT’S what I’m talking about, RIGHT THERE!”

    1. …a one-way exchange program of “grassroots level of engagement?between citizens” of the DPRK and idiotic American college students.

      If it’s really a “one-way exchange program” then why do we have to take those idiots back?

  3. I fear that his hopeless naivet? stems from the closely related “Poontang Project” the North Koreans used on him.

    1. Honeybuckets upon honeybuckets of love.

  4. Also:

    “Our people need to understand all the issues involving North Korea are much more complex than a mere question of being right of being wrong; isolation will not solve anything, except exacerbating those differences. After going through all this, I say only engagement will solve the status quo.

    The Pyongyang Project made me grow into a more critical and responsible being…”

    Fer reelz, playah? Cause you sound straight up MORE STOOPID now. Jeebus H Fucking Christ! What about “the status quo” needs to be “solved”? Wait, don’t answer that – I might kill myself if I see/hear any more of this nonsense….

    1. He means nuclear engagement. In other words, the total and utter destruction of the rest of the world.

      1. If he’d said “Newcular Titties”, I might buy that

        1. I’m afraid he’s on the wrong side of the political spectrum to invoke the name of Newcular Titties “Newt” Gingrich.

      2. No, he wants to “engage” with some hot Nork chicks. After all, what other point is there to a foreign exchange program than to get some strange?

        1. I think my ex just came back from the dead….are you sure your initials are JD?

  5. That country has so much food the roads and hillsides are literally paved with wheat!

    1. Ooh, that reminds me about Wickard v. Filburn…

      1. ME, bitches.

      2. Loved that.

      3. Loved that.

        1. Patience

  6. “thanks?for assembling such an outstanding group of fellow travelers.”

    He’s got to be trolling. No one is that so unaware.

    1. Are you sure? I mean Obama did get elected in 2008.

      1. With the endorsement of some of the staff here…

    2. Except Ivy Leaguers…

      Is it unlibertarian of me to suggest that the solution to the nation’s woes is just to execute every alumnus or faculty member of an Ivy League institution? Ok, we could always strip of their citizenship and exile them to North Korea.

      1. Bullets are cheaper, but it would be fun watching a N. Korean soldier doing the executing.

        Then again, the Ivy Leaguers might wind up getting cushy gigs in the NK government.. THEN be executed.

      2. The tree of liberty does need watering now and then…

        1. I’m watching every bit of this, you know. Good luck getting on a commercial flight.

          1. I’m praying one comes through your office window, Jan.

            1. We should be so lucky.

        2. so does the tree of stupid…

  7. 2011 award, I assume.

      1. the 2010 Beatrice Webb Award

        See the first line of the article.

        Fuck the headline, who reads those?

  8. How anyone can watch that video and STILL encourage this kind of foolish “cultural exchange”/reeducation mindfuck, is beyond help.

    I would, however, like to know more about the “Poontang Project”.

    1. Stupid hillbilly. Life in North Korea isn’t THAT bad.

      1. Externalities!

        1. Only a Reich-wing Christ-fag would criticize Kim Jong Il’s success.

          1. ARFARFARFARFARFARFARF!!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. We have the tastiest stones to boil for our soup!

        1. Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing “Hallelujah.”

      3. Hey. Hey hey! Hey, what the hell you
        doing?! Mongorians? What the hell Mongorians
        doing here? Ey, fuck you, Mongorians!
        Tryin’ break down my wall! Get out
        of here, fuckin’ Mongorians! God-damnit,
        how come every time us Chinese put up
        a wall, stupid Mongorians have to come
        and knock it down?

        1. Lacist!

    2. I would, however, like to know more about the “Poontang Project”.

      Hier.

      1. Wow. Now I wanna go there, just so that hot, hot traffic chick can make me a traditional North Korean meal of twigs and scraps from Kim Jong’s breakfast buffet.

      2. LIke the incredible porn we now get from East European babes, I cannot wait for the super freaky porn we will inevitably get from North Korean chicks once that regime inevitably falls apart.

        Super freaky kimche themed porn, no doubt.

        1. Ow. Kimchee burns!

          1. Um, that is, I *assume* it burns. Never used it for non-food funtime purposes.

            SugarFree? Any experience in this area?

          2. “Come on, ice cream!”

        2. You could probably get them to do anal on camera for the price of a Big Mac value meal. Or even just for a Big Mac itself.

          1. Hell, just the bits of lettuce and sesame seeds that fall off the Big Mac…

  9. – No cameras or recording devices will be allowed during weekdays… Cameras may be used during weekends with the explicit permission of the Korean program director.

    – Students may not publish …anything about their experiences in the DPRK or the program in general that has not been explicitly approved by us.

    – Students must sign both a program rules form and a waiver form before the start of the program. Failure to sign these forms may result in expulsion from the program.

    What happens in Pyongyang, stays in Pyongyang, baby.

    1. I signed something similar to this when I got hired by a big company – fortunately I did not have to re-locate to North Korea or face execution…

      Anyhoo – putting aside the stupid college students – it’s probably not the worst thing in the world for more north koreans to have more face to face contact with outsiders even if controlled / staged, etc. The more of them that think we are vaguely human even human’s of the ‘tool’ variety presented this this case.

  10. Everyone has seen the Vice Guide to North Korea by now, I hope.

    1. I can’t watch that video enough. The karaoke scene just fucking rocks.

      1. Heh. “Anarchy in the NK”.

        1. That had to feel so good after days behind the looking glass. Bravo!

          1. A couple other insightful films are Pieter Fleury’s A Day in the Life. While he states that he wants to present the “other” (e.g., the NK) side, the grimness is apparent even as the North Koreans put their best foot forward. One review stated that he basically just gave them enough rope, and I think there’s some truth to that.

            Laura Ling’s National Geographic doc Inside North Korea was worth watching, as well.

            Both are available from Netflix.

            1. Both are now in my queue, BP. Gracias!

              1. Not if we get our mitts on the internet, Jeffersonian!

            2. I believe the national geographic one is one Youtube. Is that the one where they travel there with the doctor to do cataracts surgery? The scene where they take the bandages off of the patients tells you all you need to know about totalitarian, cult of personality, regimes.

                1. Warty-sorry I missed this yesterday. Essentially the doctor does surgery and cures their cataracts, but they don’t thank him. The patients are full of praise and thanks to be sure, but you’d just have to watch to see how it plays out. I thought it was exceptionally disturbing and spoke volumes about totalitarianism.

            3. I would also recommend A State of Mind, a documentary that focuses on two young female gymnasts. Their journey toward a performance in the Mass Games reveals one seriously fucked up place. Also available on Netflix.

  11. At one point during a tour through a computer lab at Kim Il-sung University, students stared blank-faced into machines that were turned off, the Texas native says, adding that some rooms in the university even felt unused and smelled of fresh wood and paint.

    Creepy.

  12. If you really want to see how awful North Korea is, read Nothing to Envy.

    1. Seconded. I own this book and it’s incredible.

      I also recommend “This is Paradise!” by Hyok Kang.

      Too few people understand just how brutal of a place DPRK is.

  13. Our people need to understand all the issues involving North Korea are much more complex than a mere question of being right of being wrong…

    Are we sure this guy’s real name isn’t Mouch or Taggart? He couldn’t have given a more sterotypically retarded answer if he were a character in a book.

    The thing is, though, I don’t think this is a question of credulity. I don’t think even he believes this crap.

  14. I will be starting the Poonany Project. The catalogs brochures should be ready soon.

    1. I can provide “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” as the theme song…

  15. Reichel’s parents really, really need to demand their money back from Brown. All that tuition down the drain and just a starry-eyed totalitarian shoeshine boy to show for it.

    1. Old school fight song…”What’s the color of horseshit? Brown, Brown, Brown”

  16. What do you expect? He went to fucking Brown.

    (sneer)

    1. Him She is very fond of cricket, as a matter of fact.
      Norman (leans across, looking away) Who isn’t, eh? Know what I mean. Likes games, likes games. Knew she would. Knew she would. Knew she would. Likes games, eh? She’s been around, eh? Been around?
      Him She’s traveled. She’s from Purley.
      Norman Oh…oh. Say no more, say no more. Say no more – Purley, say no more. Purley, eh? Know what I mean, know what I mean. Say no more.

    2. Like Lovecraft, I got rejected by Brown for grad school.

      Biggest mistake they ever made.

  17. He means nuclear engagement. In other words, the total and utter destruction of the rest of the world.

    I think that’s the most charitable and optimistic read.

    1. Hey, it’s a new year.

  18. What happens in Pyongyang, stays in Pyongyang, baby.

    Nice!

  19. Hmm, I wonder which country this shitkicker *lives* in?

  20. What a bunch of fools you are. You all probably have TRUCKNUTZ hanging off the back bumpers of your Camaros.

    1. You give them too much credit, Comrade Wonketteer.

      1. Slackers, the whole lot of you!

    2. It’s racist to criticize North Korea’s leadership!

      1. I think you’re all forgetting the worst part about North Korea is their patriarchical society!

        1. Um, we’re gonna look the other way, like we did with Bill Clinton.

          1. Damn right you will, just like you do when we execute a woman for the heinous crime of being in the company of a strange man.

            1. Allahu-akhbar!!

            2. Strange as in weird or strange as in not a family member?

  21. Our experiences included schools, farms, and industrial sites; this is probably the closest to a real on-the-ground experience you can get.

    I’d say the “miserable fool” in the video probably got closer.

  22. Five bucks this guy has a “Tread On Me” flag on his car antenna.

    1. That’s a great idea. Someone should market a “Please Tread on Me” flag. Sold as a witty rejoinder to “Teabaggers”, but actually being a joke on the purchasers. Like the Sokal hoax, but for money.

      1. I’m an ideas man!!

        1. Yeah, and I’ll bet you want to PROFIT off of them! Y

          You fucking capitalists make me sick.

          1. Yes, but under this scheme, only capitalists will be soiled by the unclean profit. No socialist will be harmed. Not by money, anyway.

            1. Also comes as a doormat.

  23. From the link http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news16723.html:

    “Unlike government-run guided tours, the project allows participants … occasionally unshackles visitors, allowing them to wander around public spaces”.

    I shit you not, this is what the article says!

    No idea whether it’s intentional.

    1. The dude’s utterly irony-proof.

  24. From the link http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news16723.html:

    “Unlike government-run guided tours, the project … occasionally unshackles visitors, allowing them to wander around public spaces”.

    I shit you not, this is what the article says!

    No idea whether it’s intentional.

  25. They’re all bloody wops at the brickworks.

  26. Failure to sign these forms may result in expulsion from the program.

    Said “expulsion” will be carried out at three hundred feet, from a helicopter flying above the DMZ.

    1. I’ll volunteer to pack their parachutes… I just watched a Looney Tunes marathon, and I have a bunch of anvils and silverware.

  27. Read my latest blog post about how North Korea gets me hot.

  28. My new movie goes by the original title “Road to Pyongyang” and extols the virtues of the PRNK’s wonderful healthcare system as contrasted with the awful American one.

    1. Their diet plan is especially effective.

      1. No obesity (except for the unfortunate Dear Leader and his offspring).

  29. Was the peace movement always filled with fools, or is this a recent development? I want peace with North Korea, but that peace means no violence from either side. A one sided peace is just a slaughter. If the West keeps silent in the name of peace while North Korea advances on South Korea, the results will be gruesome.

    1. I don’t want peace with North Korea except as a temporary stopgap. That regime needs to be obliterated one way or another.

  30. These late evening threads (after the kids get out of middle school) certainly have a great deal more hilarious spoofing hijinks than the ones during school hours…

    1. I always got to wrestle with my Daddy this time of day.

        1. I’m obsessed with heller, why else would I think that everyone who spoofs me is heller?

    2. to have an adult like Ming to police the place.

  31. “the 2011 Beatrice Webb Award (for excessive credulity in foreign travel)”

    I guess it would have been improper for Moynihan to nominate himself…

    https://reason.com/archives/200…..unketeer-p

    1. Israel, North Korea, tomato, tomatoe?

      1. Of course NK > Israel re human rights violations, but I would rather not be a tool of either…

        1. “Of course NK > Israel re human rights violations, but I would rather not be a tool of either…”

          Rather a bucket-load of innuendo, MNG, and about par for your sophistry.

        2. The Israeli government doesn’t control what tourists see, MNG.

      2. Israel, North Korea, tomato, tomatoe?

        Dude, it is posts like this that require regular recalibration of the sarcasm meter. I drtfa dip shit posted and thought you were serious. Just before hitting submit, I remembered where I was and thought I better check the link.

        Well done, you got me.

    2. OH SNAP!!!!

      But as disgusting as the Israeli govt is, NK has them beat by a lot.

  32. It isn’t truly one-way. Because unfortunately they send them back here.

    1. We send them idiot frad students and what did we get..not even lousy t-shirts.

  33. I’m pretty sure I’m OK with exporting our home-grown totalitarian boot-lickers.

    1. Pay attention – those boot lickers come back. We need to find a way of keeping them there.

  34. So where’s the program where the free and prosperous NK students come to the US and are allowed to wander freely, ask questions and take all the pictures they want with the cameras their hosts provide?

  35. Just thank your lucky stars there’s no Libertopia, Moynihan, you master of cheap shots and easy fucking targets. Stick you failed right-wing ideology up your ass, you moronic twit.

    1. Sweetie-kins, stop bothering those people. Remember what your parole officer told you.

      1. …I take it you approve of how North Korean citizens are treated by their government…

        1. …makes Max moist.

    2. Max|1.3.11 @ 9:56PM|#
      “…Stick you failed right-wing ideology up your ass, you moronic twit.”

      Oh, and go suck a goat’s ass, you sleazy, ignorant, bastard.

      1. I’d rather live there than in fucking Libertopia!

        1. “I’d rather live there than in fucking Libertopia!”
          Of course you would! Hating anyone’s freedom here means you might collect the votes to stop that foolishness.
          Go away, asshole.

  36. “Just thank your lucky stars there’s no Libertopia,…”

    You bet! Max gets apoplectic at the thought that people could do what they please.

  37. How can someone so dumb be a graduate student at Brown? Seriously, how can someone at Brown be so uneducated?

    An Ole Miss cheerleader is smarter and better educated.

  38. Oh wow, I can hardly wait for that!

    http://www.anon-web-tools.edu.tc

  39. It’s a very power full and informative post. big thanks to author for great share:)

  40. Students may not publish (professionally, publicly, or online) anything about their experiences in the DPRK or the program in general that has not been explicitly approved by us.

    Right. That is SOOO enforceable once these idiots get back to the states.

  41. You imperialist running dog! You will be dealt a thousandfold retaliatory blow with the weapon of single-hearted unity!

    http://www.nk-news.net/extras/insult_generator.php

  42. What de ja vu!

    What, me wor ry?

    Korean must use one idiotgram per syllable.

  43. What de ja vu!

    What, me wor ry?

    Korean must use one idiotgram per syllable.

    1. And one per post.

      And one per post.

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