Hey … isn’t that video of Dennis Rodman personally giving banned luxury goods to Kim Jong Un?

Skip to the two-minute mark. Well, that certainly looks incriminating. (Hat tip to a reader.)

[I guess he picked the wrong week to quit drinking.]

If you haven’t read my post explaining the ban on importing luxury goods to North Korea, you should probably start there.* And since you ask, yes, as a matter of fact, I do believe the bottles are engraved with likenesses of Kim and Rodman.

Just to be clear, I don’t think Dennis Rodman should do time over five bottles of liquor, but when you flaunt your disregard for the law, you almost force the feds to do something about it, even if that something is a modest civil penalty and a Cautionary Letter.

Of course, five bottles of liquor may not be quite the full extent of it, either. Chad O’Carroll at NK News has done some first-rate investigation of this story. Don’t miss this one — it’s an absolute must-read.

It’s hard to watch something this … insane and not laugh. Try harder; so will I. The luxury goods ban is in place because most of the other 23 million North Koreans are living on the verge of starvation while this tiny oligarchy lives like this. There’s nothing funny about that.


* Or, you can watch it on Arirang News, whose report uses language nearly identical to my post, but spares me the burden of attribution. Start at 1:45. You’re welcome.


  1. I think you’re right that the images on the bottles are of Rodman and Lil’ Kim. The hangeul for “Dennis” is clearly visible on the bottle (pause at 1:53). I wonder how Rodman managed to get his name placed first on a bottle that features both his and Kim’s images.

    You know… if I were Kim, and if Rodman’s behavior were bothering me, I’d come up with a way to kidnap the guy and stuff him in a dark corner of the country. First, I’d invite Rodman to NK for a few weeks. During that time, I’d be sure to have an entourage of cameramen following him around, taking photos and video of him in all sorts of different settings, weather conditions, and lighting conditions. I’d store that footage up and gather handwriting samples from the man as well. Then I’d kidnap him, stick him in a gulag, and slowly release tantalizing, 1- and 2-second bits of footage and handwriting when people started wondering where he’d gotten off to. “Oh, he’s still here, extending his stay and enjoying our great land.” The ruse would work for a few weeks, or even a few months. Then ol’ Dennis would quietly… meet with an accident. Dramatic footage would be shown of a mostly-eaten corpse. Kim would act shocked to the core at the news of his best friend’s totally random death-by-125-Chihuahuas. Problem solved. Rodman’s nose ring would be placed in state next to Michael Jordan’s basketball.

  2. There seem to be a large number of foreigners in attendance. You can see them around the 2:37 mark of the video? Are the all part of the group that traveled over with Rodman?

  3. It is most exciting to see what will surely be a new showcase exhibit in the International Friendship Museum.

    But seriously, doesn’t putting his image on an equal par with that of Un seem like a big deal? For them to show that on tv seems even stranger.

  4. I find it very interesting that he smiled and appeared friendly to the US ball players, but when he came to congratulate the NK players his smile faded into an mask of intimidation. So clear one part of his performance was to show his is an opening and reforming government, the other part of his performance was meant for domestic consumption, in intimidate and install fear into the populace. I find it so sad that south Korea remains too monetarily motivated, and afraid to help their own people. I do relive that they could gather international help to do so. So as always the wealthy prosper and poor suffer, does not matter which culture or country.

  5. Slightly off topic, I know, but PBS’s “Frontline” documentary show will be about North Korea the Tues. night, Jan. 14th. The show will also be available on-line…not sure when. Josh…maybe you can look at it and tell us what you think…

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