A Different Kind of Playwright-President Is Dead: Welcome to Hell, Kim Jong-Il!


One of modern history's greatest monsters, the grand crab of the Hermit Kingdom, is dead of heart failure at 69 after a 17-year reign of terror. This is how North Koreans with a television heard the news:

And here is some ritualized public weeping in the streets:

Johan Norberg is right -- this was the greatest Economist cover ever

As in most totalitarian monarchies, the death leaves a potential succession crisis in its wake. Son Kim Jong Un, the foreign-educated, maybe-in-his-late-20s annointed successor and known Michael Jordan fan, is said to lack a certain gravitas, and, more importantly, the full confidence of the military. Whatever happens next to the pulverized North Korean populace, it could hardly be worse.

Reason on Kim Jong-Il here. Of special note is John Gorenfeld's great 2005 look into the dictator's work as a drama critic and librettist, one of many bizarre cult-of-personality traits that made Jong-Il the unlikely breakout star of Team America World Police. As Nick Gillespie wrote in 2004, "North Korea remains a site of cosmically black humor, too real to be funny, a human nightmare incapable of being fully processed." Take it away, Matt & Trey:

Twitter is predictably full of mirth (Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro: "Guess he's not wonewy any more"), and though radio hero Phil Hendrie frets that "North Korea [has] its pants bunched around its ankles & we're making Twitter jokes," I would argue that the one thing totalitarians truly cannot tolerate, and therefore can never receive enough of, is mockery. Which is a concept that the polar opposite of Kim Jong-Il, the late Václav Havel, articulated better than maybe anyone else. Granted, that's a luxury imprisoned North Koreans almost certainly cannot afford, but it's somehow comforting to know that a ridiculous puppet movie drove Kim Jong-Il so mad that he put what passes for North Korea's diplomatic corps into censorious overdrive. It's good to laugh at the king.

UPDATE: Speaking of Havel, Pavol Hardos shows us the contrast of what mourning in democracy looks like:


NEXT: Phone Frisking

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  1. This just in:

    Kim Jong-Il’s condition downgraded to Kim Jong-Dead.

    1. Re-post!!!

      But still funny.

      1. Re-post, and shamelessly stolen from a friend.

        1. Actually, I had a friend make a similar joke way back when Dear Reader first had his mysterious health problems. It’s one of those jokes just waiting to happen.

          1. My wife once had a fantasy team named “The Kim-Jong Illest”, can’t remember what sport, hockey maybe? She also had a basketball team during the bio weapons panic named “Ann’s Thrax”, with Osama’s head photoshopped on the Celtics’ leprechaun logo.

            1. While the dear leader died of “physical and mental over-work” on a train, I deny he did it while fucking me in my private rail car.

              I also deny his last, breathless words were “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

              1. Though that is pretty much the play by play on how Warren G. died.

    2. Mr. Kim, your License to Ill has been revoked.

  2. World’s most repressed things:

    1. Knowledge of Dave Navarro’s continuing existence
    2. North Korea

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6OQJxe8ic0

    Here, have some propaganda. Someday I’ll learn how to turn that into regular text.

    1. OMG

      The only thing funnier than that video are the comments.

      My Favorites:

      Wow. This is so clearly propaganda that even a little kid would? find it stupid.
      Farvai0 6 hours ago

      TO THE AMERICAN SHIT TO READ NECESSARILY -Excellent? cartoon film. In general the Korean cinema gives 100 points forward to Hollywood. The American cinema is a full shit, as well as their country. It is better to look the Korean films
      nesmahno 3 weeks ago

      All subtitles are not correct!? Never!
      hsch1996 3 weeks ago

      all the brainwashed people are the ones who think people in north korea suffer and get tortured and hate the way they live over there. all you do is see the news hollywood movies and read the textbooks made by your own government and american companies.. none of you? have a bright enough mind to think outside the box and question all the buillshit youre fed you just take it up the ass because thats what they give you. fools this saddens me this is why everyone hates america theyre very ignorant
      kingcamilo 1 month ago

      watching 10yr olds debate the relative merits of western vs. N.Korean “propaganda” (i.e. – ‘take the video seriously’), is actually really, really funny.

  4. While I don’t mourn the loss of Mr Kim I do miss the old Economist. I read that thing from cover to cover for years.

    1. I doubt anyone mourns his death, even his son can’t be too sad, I doubt he really wants to take on the oriental despot job his father has given him.

      I also miss the old economist, but I will never subscribe again to what has morphed into a snooty Huffington post.

      1. I blame that bastard Micklethwait, although the Financial Times has also gone full retard so it’s probably a higher up policy change.

        1. I still head over to The Economist for their science articles. I also read Radley’s debate a little while back.

          1. Their science articles used to be outstanding, but last time I picked up an issue, half were about climate change or how to be greener and the rest were mediocre. But I’ve not been paying much attention.

    2. Word. I have the last five issues lying around. No interest whatsoever to read them.

  5. “…one thing totalitarians truly cannot tolerate, and therefore can never receive enough of, is mockery…”

    Which is why White Indian counts coup upon, and mocks Libertards who support the agricultural city-Statism’s Gambol Lockdown as harshly as Kim Jong-Il.

    Officer, am I free to gambol about plain and forest in a Non-State society lifeway?

    Kim Jong-Il: NO!
    Matt Welch: NO!

    That’s the way city-slickers roll.

    1. Jason you’d like North Korea. I hear they scavenge for their food. Of course, you’d have to shed a few pounds, since your fat ass would be considered a delicacy over there.

      1. heller, I hear North Korea is an agricultural civilization, just like you like.

        You’d suck Kim Jong Il’s city-Statist dick before accepting the personal responsibility to live a Non-State lifeway.

        That’s the way city-slickers roll.

        1. Fat fuck is trying to preach about personal responsibility?


          1. Domesticated poodles tremble with fear-of-wilderness and the personal responsibility one must assume to live outside of the agricultural city-Statist zoo.

            And frankly, you’re acting like you’ve been domesticated way too long, heller.

            Richard Manning on the Psychosis of Civilization

      2. It has a name?

          1. Wipe that smirk off your face, you’re just a Sugarfree punchline.

            1. …sound so second grade.

              Is that Reasonable?

              That’s the way city-slickers roll.

              1. No, this is the way city slickers roll


            1. Don’t go weak sister on me now, Kenny.

              1. The horror… the horror…

          3. garFree|12.19.11 @ 8:36AM|#
            And a face. A horrible face that will haunt your nightmares.

            That. Makes. A. Lot. Of. Sense.

            That person never gambols far from their internet connection-meets-buttplug.

  6. Instead of a funeral they should stick a bone up his ass and let the dogs drag him off.

    1. Dogs? In Norkland? They were eaten long ago.

    2. You think there are a lot of dogs around in NK?

  7. It will be interesting to see if NK can peacefully transition power or if the place collapses.

    1. How will we know the difference?

      1. The military deserts in mass or is pull apart in an internal struggle for power. Masses of people begin to move in search of food – and the military is too hungry or distracted to stop it. The Chinese intervene to prop up a dictatorship / prevent re-unification.

        1. I suspect that the South Koreans aren’t real excited about reunification at this point.

          It will break their economy, and I can’t even imagine how a political reunification could be done at this point.

          1. Wouldn’t be pretty in the short-term – it would have to be a very gradual process.

            With the added space and labor, an unified Korea would be a near superpower in the long-term.

  8. I wonder what they made that news propagandist sit on to ensure that reaction.

    1. Probably just had her family tied up with guns to their heads off camera.

      1. Whenever I see something from NK, I assume the guys with guns are just off camera.

        1. The truly disturbing part about NK is that the guns are generally unnecessary. After multiple generations of all-encompassing indoctrination and propaganda, most of the populous actually does love the Dear Reader. It’s a 25 million member cult, and the Kims are their living gods.

  9. Is it morning links time?

    RP leading in Iowa according to PPP poll

    1. I the last 3 PPPs, Gingrich has gone from 27 to 22 to 14, but, according to John, he isnt in free fall.

      1. But…but…he’s still leading South Carolina, you know, home of the Tea P…gag!

    2. No doubt in connection with Kim Jong Il dropping out of that race.

  10. Joe Biden this morning is hoping it’s true that Presidential deaths go in threes.

    In other news, new Public Policy Poll in IA has Paul #1, Gingrich fallen to third:


  11. And it seems to me you lived your life
    Like a candle in the wind
    Never fading with the sunset
    When the rain set in
    And your footsteps will always fall here
    Along Best Korea’s greenest hills
    Your candle’s burned out long before
    Your legend ever will

  12. “I’ll contend that constitutional monarchy can better preserve people’s freedom and opportunities than democracy as it has turned out in practice.” ~http://mises.org/daily/5415

    Wasn’t Kim Jong Il reading Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Democracy: The God That Failed when he exhausted himself in Dagny’s private rail car?

  13. I would just like to say re: Congressman Paul.

    He’s not my perfect libertarian/republican.

    I am pro-choice.

    I am pro-immigration.

    But always let us remember this:

    Ron Paul is the man who destroyed Newt Gingrich for us.

    Newt Gingrich will not be President of the United States.

    Thank you, Congressman Paul.

    Gentlemen, a toast:


    1. I haven’t been paying attention: what did Paul do to the Titties?

      1. he tried to motorboat

        1. Newkular MOTORBOATIN’

        2. OMFG…where’s the brain bleach?

      2. He ran brutal, bare-knuckle ads in Iowa that took the shine off the Titster, and reminded everyone who he really is.

  14. So long Funny Man.
    You won’t be missed.

  15. That’s a nice tribute video in the update; does anyone know what Havel is saying at the end?

    1. My Czech isn’t amazing and Havel is sort of slurring, but I think it’s a PSA for turning off phones in theaters.

      “Thank you all for turning off your mobile phones. Love, truth, must win over — and oppression(?). Turn off your telephones.”

      1. “Dekuju vam ze vypnoul jste mobilni telefony. Pravda a laska musi zvitezit nadrzy and nenavisy. Zapnete se telefone”

        Truth, love, must win over tanks and hatred.

        1. Not even a thanks, BlueBook? You are going on my list.

          1. Thanks :-p

            1. Welcome. Scratched out.

              1. I’m fluent in Russian, and I like buzzing through other Slavic languages to see how much I can understand — so far, out of Ukrainian, Czech, Polish, and Serbian, it’s Polish, and by a longshot. Damn Czechs!11!!

  16. …of a whole country. Now we know what that looks like.

    …the six Walton family members on the Forbes 400 had a net worth equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans.
    Wal-Mart Heiress’s Museum a Moral Blight

    Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income
    Nearly half of Americans are low-income as rising expenses, unemployment shrink middle class

    Capitalist Juche* is in the house!

    (* Juche is a North Korean term usually translated as “self-reliance.”)

    1. Some families make it into the “low income” category with incomes of $80,000.

      Which makes the headline more than a little comical.

      1. “…the low-income threshold ? roughly $45,000 for a family of four…”

        See Fluffy read? Read, Fluffy, read.

        1. the low-income threshold ? roughly $45,000 for a family of four…”

          Amazingly, that’s the median income.

          What has this country come to when half of the households have below-median incomes?

      2. I always find it pathetic when people raise the poorest 30% in America and how unjust everything is. The fact is, the “poorest” 30% are amongst the richest people in the world.

        In fact the poorest 30% are wealthier than the poorest 30% in Sweden or any other socialist system they fawn over.

        1. But soup kitchens and food banks!

        2. I always find it pathetic when Libertarians fawn over inequalities in North Korea, but wet their panties when anybody recognizes the same inequalities in their own country.

          1. Is that supposed to be some kind of witty retort ??? trust me, it is not.

            North Korea practices forced abortions, sends entire families to concentration camps and allows zero freedom of speech or practically anything else, but hey it is practically the same as America, because America has the evil inequality.

            Communist cunts like you will always be at the bottom 30%, not because of any unjust system, but because you were born a loser and will always be a loser. The best losers like you can hope for is for the Waltons to provide you with a standard of living that beats anything else, yet people as thick as you really believe that should the system change they will somehow move out of the 30%, well you wont’ because even in Sweden you would still be at the bottom 30%, and even in Sweden the women not be attracted to you.

            1. Is that supposed to be some kind of witty retort ??? Trust me, it is not, you city-Statist tyrant.

              You’re an agricultural city-Statist, just like Kim Jong Il.

              You hate Non-State sociopolitical lifeways as much as Stalin.

              Officer, am I free to gambol about plain and forest?

              MARX: NO!
              MISES: NO!

              1. Give it up loser, returning to your hunter gatherer ways will lead to your death not the people you despise. I would put my money on the Waltons beating you in hunt, even if your ideal mad max world comes about.

                1. Domesticated poodles like you always psychologically project your fear-of-wilderness and fear of the personal responsibility one must assume to live a Non-State society lifeway.

                  What is that nipping and yipping at my heals….NotSure.

                  1. I have been to multiple trips in Africa, in real wilderness, and I mean real wilderness, not some fenced off game farm or well trodden trail. What have you done exactly ? Been on some pantywaist hiking trail outside some big city ?

                    Before you lecture others about the joys of the wilderness, why not try it first you clown, then you actually will appreciate civilisation a bit.

                    1. I have been to multiple trips in Civilization, in real big Cities, and I mean real Cities, not some center-of-Empire suburb or walled enclave. What have you done exactly ? Been on some pantywaist McMansion subdivision outside some big city ?

                      Before you lecture others about the joys of civilization, why not try it first, you clown, then you actually will appreciate wilderness a bit.

                    2. Spoken like any belligerent neo-Con city-Statist, notsure.

                      Meanwhile, you ignore the fact that you’re a flagrant Statist.

                    3. Before you lecture others about the joys of the wilderness, why not try it first you clown, then you actually will appreciate civilisation a bit.

                      Um, I think Godesky is one of the “indoor kids”, if you know what I mean. He’d be winded after about seven seconds of all-out gamboling.

                  2. From A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court which I read for the first time this weekend.

                    I was not the only prisoner present. There were twenty or more. Poor devils, many of them were maimed, hacked, carved, in a frightful way; and their hair, their faces, their clothing, were caked with black and stiffened drenchings of blood. They were suffering sharp physical pain, of course; and weariness, and hunger and thirst, no doubt; and at least none had given them the comfort of a wash, or even the poor charity of a lotion for their wounds; yet you never heard them utter a moan or a groan, or saw them show any sign of restlessness, or any disposition to complain. The thought was forced upon me: “The rascals?they have served other people so in their day; it being their own turn, now, they were not expecting any better treatment than this; so their philosophical bearing is not an outcome of mental training, intellectual fortitude, reasoning; it is mere animal training; they are white Indians.”

                    1. Yeah, I figured that’s where this guy got his handle.

                    2. The second article of the English faith followed from their fundamental belief in the superiority of civilization, namely, that no civilized person in possession of his faculties or free from undue restraint would choose to become an Indian.

                      The White Indians of Colonial America
                      by James Axtell
                      The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Jan., 1975), pp. 55-88

                2. Don’t drag the Road Warrior into this! He had fast cars and guns – way too cool for the primitivist oseur

                  1. Don’t drag Apocalypto into this! They had personal responsibility and no fear-of-wilderness – way too cool for the domesticated poodles that paint themselves blue.

  17. How’s this for an unlikely Hitchens’ afterlife, Havel and Hitchens spend eternity drinking, smoking and mocking Kim Jong-Il. It’d probably get old after an aeon or two, but Kim would get tired of it very quickly.

  18. I guess I was spoofed last night on the Havel thread. For the record

    No I do not hope for a blood bath in Korea

    And yes rather is insane.

    My condolences to those, including Episiarch funnily enough, who were trolled. Rather should be out of her manic phase this morning. So it should be quiet.

    1. The Wi persists, unfortunately

      1. Did Scruffy capitalize the W and lowercase the i in White Indian in order to emphasis Whiteness above Indianness?

    2. Rather should be out of her manic phase this morning.

      I think that’s a bad call. She was quiet all weekend, and is nursing a envious grudge from banjo’s repartee with some of the regulars.

      I think today is going to be spectacular.

      1. No one wants to employ the only weapon that works.

  19. Does the death of Kim Jong-Il make libertarians wish that a hellish afterlife actually existed?

    1. I believe it does. But I picked the wrong year to quit drinking.

    2. Hell as catharsis for the souls of the repressed. Interesting concept.

    3. My only regret is that he was never made to truly live in the hell he created right here on Earth.

      1. “In 1999, a jury found Koch Industries guilty of negligence and malice in the deaths…” ~http://www.oilwatchdog.org/meet-koch-industries/

        1. … “of two people”

          Is that why you didn’t do the hyperlink hon? Didn’t want peole actually clicking on it?

          Oh, and, sweetie, nothing weakens an indictment as fatally as spending most of your text on alleging the high crimes of heresy to the cult of AGW and TEA party funding.

          You really are a pathetic loser, rather.

          You realize that with every angry post, your chance of getting lucky moves farther out on the i axis?

          1. So murdering two people via negligence and malice is somehow ok with you?

            Funny how KOCHsuckers think. Every day.

        2. Was the verdict appealed? If so, what was the final result?

          1. “First thing we do, is kill all the lawyers.”

            ~William Shakespeare
            King Henry VI

  20. Monster.

    We need a special “Mourning Rinks” today.

  21. Which is better, a viking funeral or a missile launch salute?

    1. Combine the two, kind of like the end of the movie The Loved One

  22. From some FB friends:

    Last week, Christopher Hitchens and Vaclav Havel went on a secret mission to North Korea to take out Kim Jong Il. They were successful, but they were both shot by Kim’s guards as they attempted to escape. Everything you’ve read the last few days has just been their official cover stories.

    1. So your FB friends are Chip Bok and Henry Payne?

      1. I’m trying to lessen the sting of losing two of the good guys in exchange for one of the bad guys is all.

        1. Havel and?

          Who was the 2nd good guy lost? Neo-cons need not apply.

  23. I don’t know whether the emotion in the streets is real or fake–I’m not sure the difference between legitimate and fake emotion is clear in the context of a Moonie type cult/society like North Korea.

    The emotional on display, however, isn’t so different from that shown by people who stray through Hit & Run, occasionally, and get all bent out of shape over something bad somebody said about George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

    Everybody that gets a little angry when somebody says something against one of our dear leaders has a little North Korean in them, too.

    1. You couldn’t tell by the oceans of tears all over the pavement?

      1. You couldn’t tell by the oceans of tears all over the pavement?

        That the emotion was real or that it was fake?

        In a cult, the authenticity of one’s own emotions is no longer measurable. The cult members feel the emotions of the group as authentically their own. Isn’t breaking that conditioning part of what deprogramming is supposed to be about?

        The North Korean or Moonie examples of that kind of cult behavior is a little extreme, but you’ll see the same sort of behavior on display at the Democratic and Republican conventions next year.

        1. Never will one see cult behavior with libertarians.

          1. I’ve seen commenters here at Hit & Run try to enforce ideological conformity.

            …by personally attacking dissenters. By ganging up on them. By trying to exclude dissenters from the group, etc.

            I’d like to think we libertarians are less prone to that than other people, though. But we’re all susceptible. The vulnerabilities that the cultists exploit are part of human nature.

            And when you hear people criticize Randians for their cult-like behavior, what do you think they’re talking about?

            1. I should have read your name first!


              1. We have all decided individually, which means in agreement with Ayn, that you are banned forever for you insolence.

    2. Part of the question is do the people feel that there will be a succession battle. In that scenario it’s the common people who suffer the most.

    3. This from the guy who gets bent out of shape over calling a cunt DA a cunt. ROFL.

  24. From the Bloomberg crap-ticle linked to above:

    “It’s also a moral tragedy, very much like the corporation that provided Walton with the money to build a billion-dollar art museum during a terrifying recession.”

    How the fuck does this make any sense whatsoever?

    “The museum is a compelling symbol of the chasm between the richest Americans and everyone else.”

    Class warfare, a fundamental misunderstanding of economics, AND it’s “compelling”? Fuck off, pinko.

    “In 2007, according to the labor economist Sylvia Allegretto, the six Walton family members on the Forbes 400 had a net worth equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans. The Waltons are now collectively worth about $93 billion, according to Forbes.”

    What’s this shitstain’s point?

    The museum, which opened last month, sits in a wooded ravine a few miles from Wal-Mart headquarters. Two main buildings, referred to locally as the armadillos, for their rounded and ribbed roofs, are linked to a series of galleries that ring what will eventually be a spring-fed pond. Crystal Bridges was designed by Moshe Safdie, who is a fine architect, and his museum in some ways resembles a handsome Scandinavian airline terminal. It is certainly the handsomest building ever built with Wal-Mart money. I suspect it is also the only building associated with Wal-Mart that is devoted solely to American-made goods.”

    Do I sense protectionistist, labor-union-lover bullshit?

    1. “I’m not begrudging Alice Walton her inherited wealth. What I am begrudging are her priorities. Walton has the influence to help Wal-Mart workers, especially women, earn more money and gain access to affordable health care.”


      1. Are you channeling Kim Jung Il, Res? He was LOLing over “helping women, earn more money and gain access to affordable health care” until he died in Dagny’s private rail car.

    2. The hatred is truly strong when a lefty anti-capitalist attacks the rich for building a museum with their money.

      Usually, they are whining because the rich aren’t “giving back to the community”. Well, here you go, and all it gets them is attacked.

      1. They’re not giving back in the approved fashion, RC. First bread, then circuses.

  25. Nate Silver’s current Iowa projection.

    1. Damn this optimism!!

  26. …her central character?a crude proxy for Rand herself?says to a Bolshevik: “I loathe your ideals. I admire your methods. If one believes one’s right, one shouldn’t wait to convince millions of fools, one might just as well force them.”

    Anything that pleases the Superman’s ego is good; anything that blocks it is bad.

    excerpts from:
    How Ayn Rand Became an American Icon?
    The perverse allure of a damaged woman.?
    By Johann Hari | Nov. 2, 2009

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