Take one look at him, and you might think he is the world’s greatest warcraft player. Look beyond the chubby face, upside down binoculars, and you just might see Kim Jong-un, Vice Chariman of the Central Military Commission of the Worker’s Party of Korea, or more easily spelled the ‘Son of God’.
With the demise of Muammar Gaddafi, the God in question solidly holds claim to the title of craziest man alive: Kim Jong-il. His 3rd son, Kim Jong-un , is his recently anointed heir to the worker’s paradise named North Korea.
Life wasn’t always like this for the younger Kim. Before 2001, Kim Jong-un was just a another jovial, pudgy, forgotten son of a world dictator. While he studied in Switzerland and enjoyed many a night in Basel, the real problems of the world were born by his elder brother, Kim Jong-nam, who was his father’s heir apparent. But the icy fingers are fate are never far from the 2nd-in-lines of the world, and they soon tapped Kim Jong-un’s shoulder.
In May 2001, Kim Jong-nam was arrested at Tokyo’s Narita Airport attempting to illegally enterJapan. Turns out, Kim Jong-nam was sneaking into Japan so that he could live every little North Korean child’s Disneyland dream. His audacious plan was snuffed out by Japanese customs officials that suspected something amiss when a large Korean-looking man, with 2 Korean women at his side, presented them with a Dominican Republic passport. Kim Jong-nam wonders to this day, ‘how could such an amazing plan fail?’
Kim Jong-il was not impressed, and soon the call was sent out for the prodigal Kim Jong-un to return home to be named the successor to the bat shit crazy line of Korean dictators that started with his grandfather, Kim Il Sung.
Like that of Simba and Mufasa, the relationship between the the elder Kim and the younger is complicated. As Jesus would tell you, its not easy being the son of God. Especially so when your father was born under a double rainbow, and doesn’t defecate, as Kim Jong-un’s. But just like Richard Simmons, this street goes both ways. Kim Jong-il, absolute king of North Korea, leader of the world’s third largest army has had to come to grips with the fact he is the father of dumb kids. Just this February, Korean TV broadcast the image of Kim Jung-un inspecting a military formation with his binoculars held upside down. (see picture at top of post) U.S. spy satellites were reported to have heard 30 million foreheads being slapped at once.
While nobody will mistake any of the Kims for a rocket scientist, there is a evil brilliance that Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il displayed in wrestling down, and keeping an entire country militarily mobilized and yet under their thumb. Nobody is holding their breathe that the kids will carry this on.
If the Kim dynasty could be compared to a Asian family of Ivy League educated doctors, and lawyers, then Kim Jung-un would be that kid who went to study Art History and who the parents never really talk about.
Sensing his own mortality, Kim Jong-il has come to spend most of his time teaching his son the ropes of power. Kim Jong-il has become Mr. Miyagi to Kim Jong-un’s Daniel-san. But this proves difficult when your student is less Uday Hussein and too much Tommy Boy.
Recently, the bustling streets of Pyongyang have been witness to Kim Jong-il putting his son through a crash course on being a ruthless dictator: teaching him such things as the intricacies in diverting humanitarian aid from hungry mouths and into the world’s largest DVD collection (amongst other things)
One can imagine that Kim Jong-il’s most important despotic teaching is that of physical presence. Being a dictator requires not only a wanton disregard for people’s lives, but also a presence, a certain je ne se quois, an aire of infinite power. There is perhaps no better practitioner of this then Kim Jong-il. His dumbfounded expression as he stares at the output of North Korean factories sends generals and factory managers scurrying away in fear. The teachings have already taken hold with the youngster, as he can now be seen touring the country in the same tan winter coat and rat skin hat that has come to epitomize the Kim Jong Il style code.
Hollywood couldn’t write a father-son bonding script like the one playing out in North Korea. In fact, someone call Morgan Freeman to see if he can be booked for the movie, it will definitely need a narrator. Now if we can only find some way to insert a role for Tom Hanks, then there will soon be a 50-story statue in Pyongyang with the name ‘Oscar’.
Crazy doesn’t do justice to Kim Jong-il. World leaders take his threats to engulf South Korea in a ‘sea of fire’ very seriously. When he dies, the Korean Peninsula will hang on a knife. Will Kim Jung-un be able to consolidate his power, or will a North Korean general establish a new dynasty?
The wild card is Kim Jung-un, and his crazy score. Can a kid who wanted to be like Mike and play basketball and sing showtunes continue to allow millions of his people to starve to death?
I believe the best case scenario for Korea is if he does move into power after his father dies. I am sure diplomacy with North Korea will take the most interesting turn when instead of Bill Clinton being sent to free the latest set of foreign hostages, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley are sent to Pyongyang for a pick-up game with the Korean emperor. As Dr Scholls said: ‘Teach a man a jump shot, take away his need for nuclear weapons’. Instead of trading oil for rockets, maybe all it will take is a nice pair of Nike shoes to get the country to open up?
The worst case is that Kim Jong-un finds his inner Uday Hussein. Combined with an Dubya-esque intellectual score, this can only mean more suffering for the millions of North Koreans. Let’s us hope for the sake of the starving masses of Korea that Kim Jong-un wasn’t one of those kids on Leroy Jenkins’ Warcraft guild, then we are all screwed. Thanks a lot Leroy, dick.
Read my follow up: Juche: It’s what Kim Jung-un will eat for dinner