THREE MILLION DEATHS IS A STATISTIC, BUT A DEAD PORN STAR IS A HEADLINE! Sure, I guess the nominal leader of a regime that starved 2.5 million people to death and killed another 400,000 in concentration camps is capable of having his ex and a bunch of her musician friends machine-gunned. I can even believe that North Koreans can buy video cameras and make porn, although I incline more to the view that, if any part of this story is true, the regime made up the porn part to destroy the victims’ reputations. According to the Chosun Ilbo, which bases the report on “sources in China,” the tapes are on sale in China, which means that a thorough, um, intelligence gathering operation should be able to confirm or deny that particular aspect.
Overall, I tend to trust stories from Pyongyang or regime-linked sources less than I trust reports from the provinces that can draw from multiple sources with no links to the regime. That’s especially unfortunate, given the recent trend toward the celebritization of North Korea’s third-generation tyrants. Here’s a question that interests me more: would an equal quantum of evidence about famine and cannibalism in South Hwanghae draw a degree of media curiosity proportional to its humanitarian impact? I think you know the answer to that.
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LESS CHARM, MORE OFFENSIVE: A day after State clarifies that Bob King was only going to Pyongyang to talk about Kenneth Bae, North Korea has disinvited King. With North Korea, all diplomacy is on a strictly pay-to-play, no-money-no-honey basis.
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YONHAP IMITATES THE ONION: Here’s our first empirical evidence that Kim Jong Un is less popular than his father. Using methods that aren’t explained but would undoubtedly fascinate a statistician, Yonhap reports that his approval rating is 50 percent, representing a 70% decline from his father’s: