It's no secret that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is terrified of losing his tyrannical grip on the starving "Hermit Kingdom" he rules over. And when you're a third generation totalitarian who routinely executes allies and family members as a means of letting your terrorized citizenry know that no one is beyond your iron fist, there's only so many more things still available to the public for you to ban.
But Kim has found one: sarcasm.
Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports that the North Korean people "have recently been warned against the use in casual conversation of sarcasm directed against the regime of national leader Kim Jong Un, with state security officers threatening that even indirect criticisms of party leadership will not be forgiven."
A source reportedly told RFA that government officials have been holding meetings advising citizens to not get "dragged into internal hostile behavior" by approving of or repeating phrases such as "This is all America's fault," which is commonly used ironically by North Koreans to mock the government's frequent refrain that all the suffering north of the 38th Parallel is the fault of Yankee imperialism.
Another reportedly banned phrase is "A fool who cannot see the outside world," which apparently originated among government employees who were appalled that Kim neglected to take part in commemorations of the end of World War II in Russia and China.
In 2014, it was widely reported that North Korea was so threatened by the scheduled release of The Interview, a North Korea-set comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, that it hacked Sony Enterntainment's servers and released a slew of potentially damaging information pertaining to high-level employees of the company. Almost two years later, those claims are still very much in doubt, but regardless of whether North Korea was behind the hack over a disappointingly mediocre attempt at political satire, it's clear that its monstrous leadership can not take a joke.
Watch Reason TV's interview with North Korean defector Yeonmi Park below: