Libertarian Ghostwrites for Kim Jong Il


The New York Observer profiles Objectivist-libertarian celebrity ghostwriter Michael Malice, focusing on his latest project: a ghostwritten memoir of late Korean dictator Kim Jong Il.

Mr. Malice is an avowed anarchist. He doesn't vote, he doesn't believe in marriage, he doesn't believe in God. But according to his friends, he's extraordinarily open-minded. He has to be, one would imagine, given the career he's chosen.

"I hate this idea that the personal is political," Mr. Malice said. "Especially with the nature of my work, I'm collaborating with people of all sorts of perspectives, and if they're living their truth, I'm their biggest fan."….

Of course, his latest endeavor, to be titled Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il, isn't a collaboration…..

"I'm getting a little bugged out," Mr. Malice told The Observer. "I have to put myself in his high-heeled shoes as much as I can. He was painfully aware that when the people cheered for him, it was fake. And he's an evil, horrible man with the blood of millions on his hands, but you have to humanize him a bit."

In that way, Mr. Malice acknowledged that the book will be harder to write than previous ones. He genuinely likes the people he has ghostwritten for and keeps in touch with them to this day. Kim Jong-il? Not so much….

"His worldview is very simplistic," Mr. Malice noted. "When you're not in touch with reality, you don't have to have a nuanced philosophy."

While Mr. Malice plans to make the book comical, he wants more than anything to draw attention to the plight of the North Korean people.

I reviewed Harvey Pekar's graphic biography of Malice back in 2006.

Malice wrote an article about his personal experiences in North Korea that will be appearing in a forthcoming issue of Reason. Subscribe now!