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Author Topic: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs  (Read 5332 times)
MicroBalrog
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« on: February 07, 2010, 05:44:28 AM »

A Nation of Racist Dwarfs
Kim Jong-il's regime is even weirder and more despicable than you thought.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Feb. 1, 2010, at 10:01 AM ET

Visiting North Korea some years ago, I was lucky to have a fairly genial "minder" whom I'll call Mr. Chae. He guided me patiently around the ruined and starving country, explaining things away by means of a sort of denial mechanism and never seeming to lose interest in the gargantuan monuments to the world's most hysterical and operatic leader-cult. One evening, as we tried to dine on some gristly bits of duck, he mentioned yet another reason why the day should not long be postponed when the whole peninsula was united under the beaming rule of the Dear Leader. The people of South Korea, he pointed out, were becoming mongrelized. They wedded foreigners—even black American soldiers, or so he'd heard to his evident disgust—and were losing their purity and distinction. Not for Mr. Chae the charm of the ethnic mosaic, but rather a rigid and unpolluted uniformity.

I was struck at the time by how matter-of-factly he said this, as if he took it for granted that I would find it uncontroversial. And I did briefly wonder whether this form of totalitarianism, too (because nothing is more "total" than racist nationalism), was part of the pitch made to its subjects by the North Korean state. But I was preoccupied, as are most of the country's few visitors, by the more imposing and exotic forms of totalitarianism on offer: by the giant mausoleums and parades that seemed to fuse classical Stalinism with a contorted form of the deferential, patriarchal Confucian ethos.

Karl Marx in his Eighteenth Brumaire wrote that those trying to master a new language always begin by translating it back into the tongue they already know. And I was limiting myself (and ill-serving my readers) in using the pre-existing imagery of Stalinism and Eastern deference. I have recently donned the bifocals provided by B.R. Myers in his electrifying new book The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters, and I understand now that I got the picture either upside down or inside out. The whole idea of communism is dead in North Korea, and its most recent "Constitution," "ratified" last April, has dropped all mention of the word. The analogies to Confucianism are glib, and such parallels with it as can be drawn are intended by the regime only for the consumption of outsiders. Myers makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right. It is based on totalitarian "military first" mobilization, is maintained by slave labor, and instills an ideology of the most unapologetic racism and xenophobia.

These conclusions of his, in a finely argued and brilliantly written book, carry the worrisome implication that the propaganda of the regime may actually mean exactly what it says, which in turn would mean that peace and disarmament negotiations with it are a waste of time—and perhaps a dangerous waste at that.

Consider: Even in the days of communism, there were reports from Eastern Bloc and Cuban diplomats about the paranoid character of the system (which had no concept of deterrence and told its own people that it had signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty in bad faith) and also about its intense hatred of foreigners. A black Cuban diplomat was almost lynched when he tried to show his family the sights of Pyongyang. North Korean women who return pregnant from China—the regime's main ally and protector—are forced to submit to abortions. Wall posters and banners depicting all Japanese as barbarians are only equaled by the ways in which Americans are caricatured as hook-nosed monsters. (The illustrations in this book are an education in themselves.) The United States and its partners make up in aid for the huge shortfall in North Korea's food production, but there is not a hint of acknowledgement of this by the authorities, who tell their captive subjects that the bags of grain stenciled with the Stars and Stripes are tribute paid by a frightened America to the Dear Leader.

Myers also points out that many of the slogans employed and displayed by the North Korean state are borrowed directly—this really does count as some kind of irony—from the kamikaze ideology of Japanese imperialism. Every child is told every day of the wonderful possibility of death by immolation in the service of the motherland and taught not to fear the idea of war, not even a nuclear one.

The regime cannot rule by terror alone, and now all it has left is its race-based military ideology. Small wonder that each "negotiation" with it is more humiliating than the previous one. As Myers points out, we cannot expect it to bargain away its very raison d'etre.

All of us who scrutinize North Korean affairs are preoccupied with one question. Do these slaves really love their chains? The conundrum has several obscene corollaries. The people of that tiny and nightmarish state are not, of course, allowed to make comparisons with the lives of others, and if they complain or offend, they are shunted off to camps that—to judge by the standard of care and nutrition in the "wider" society—must be a living hell excusable only by the brevity of its duration. But race arrogance and nationalist hysteria are powerful cements for the most odious systems, as Europeans and Americans have good reason to remember. Even in South Korea there are those who feel the Kim Jong-il regime, under which they themselves could not live for a single day, to be somehow more "authentically" Korean.

Here are the two most shattering facts about North Korea. First, when viewed by satellite photography at night, it is an area of unrelieved darkness. Barely a scintilla of light is visible even in the capital city. (See this famous photograph.) Second, a North Korean is on average six inches shorter than a South Korean. You may care to imagine how much surplus value has been wrung out of such a slave, and for how long, in order to feed and sustain the militarized crime family that completely owns both the country and its people.

But this is what proves Myers right. Unlike previous racist dictatorships, the North Korean one has actually succeeded in producing a sort of new species. Starving and stunted dwarves, living in the dark, kept in perpetual ignorance and fear, brainwashed into the hatred of others, regimented and coerced and inculcated with a death cult: This horror show is in our future, and is so ghastly that our own darling leaders dare not face it and can only peep through their fingers at what is coming.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the Roger S. Mertz media fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2243112/

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Standing Wolf
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2010, 06:13:57 AM »

Well, yeah, but it was Bush's fault. Dead white men did that to that poor, pitiful, helpless country. We need to send money.
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2010, 10:31:28 AM »

Well, yeah, but it was Bush's fault. Dead white men did that to that poor, pitiful, helpless country. We need to send money.

And the schtick continues. 

We all get it. 

It was funny the first billion times.


 rolleyes
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 11:03:38 AM »


Micro Sez:

Slavery: Degrading and destroying the human condition since 100,000 BC.

Ain't that the truth.
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 11:55:51 AM »

And the schtick continues. 

We all get it. 

It was funny the first billion times.


 rolleyes
If Democrats and Obama weren't still using Bush as an excuse (in the State of the Union Address no less), I would be the first to agree we should put it aside.  I guess they won't stop until they find someone else to blame their failures on.
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 11:57:11 AM »


Slavery: Degrading and destroying the human condition since 100,000 BC.

Agreed.  Not to mention arrogance and self delusion.
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"This observation, also, I have laid to heart, that they, who in matters of war seek in all ways to save their lives, are just they who, as a rule, die dishonorably; whereas they who, recognizing that death is the common lot and destiny of all men, strive hard to die nobly: these more frequently, as I observe, do after all attain to old age, or, at any rate, while life lasts, they spend their days more happily."  Xenophon
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 12:04:29 PM »

If Democrats and Obama weren't still using Bush as an excuse (in the State of the Union Address no less), I would be the first to agree we should put it aside.  I guess they won't stop until they find someone else to blame their failures on.

No, the schtick of using it as a standard reply to every thread that has nothing to do with Bush or even US Politics is idiotic and degrades the quality of discussion at this forum.   Face Palm!
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Matthew Carberry
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 12:29:28 PM »

No, the schtick of using it as a standard reply to every thread that has nothing to do with Bush or even US Politics is idiotic and degrades the quality of discussion at this forum.   Face Palm!

I mean this in the best way.  When Jamis of all people makes a point about posts being idiotic and "enough" that might as well be word from above.

That's why you want tolerant folks in charge, when they say enough's enough the line isn't merely being pushed, it's at the breaking point.

Not to defend the Norks but I would point out that all of the nations mentioned (China, Japan, S. Korea) are pretty xenophobic in culture even today. I know half black American/Korean kids don't get a fair shake in South Korea.  The Norks have just revised and expanded a cutural norm of the region into something fetid.  More noticiable because the rest have been moving, at least incrementally, the other way.
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2010, 12:45:52 PM »

If you do a search for the terms "Standing Wolf" and the phrase in question, you'll get at least 3 pages of individual posts where it was used.

That's a  Face Palm! thing, if ever there was.
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2010, 12:55:34 PM »

Quote
But race arrogance and nationalist hysteria are powerful cements for the most odious systems, as Europeans and Americans have good reason to remember.

That little bit of moral relativism is why we need to find some journalists that report, not preach. Yeah, we're just as bad, did away with slavery 150 years ago, when it existed then slavery was a near universal economic construct, enforced not by a wacko government, but by a legion of consumers that wanted an easier life and cheap crap. You know, like we do with China. I also fail to remember any nationalist hysteria here that was rampant enough to make parents accept their children starving. I'm sure I'd go right along with that. I'll give the writer partial credit, Europe has had a few big fails on the nationalist hysteria front.
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2010, 01:37:55 PM »

carebear called it right about the xenophobic nature of the folks in japan korea and china.   i argued with a dweeb on another forum about it once  he was all aflutter about how nice the japanese were to the lil blond haired boy.  i said yea  they took home to dinner right?   he was so proud until i explained it was like getting to bring the zoo animal home for your kids to look at.    very politely done of course.  and the ones  that rubbed his blond hair washed their hand after   like you would after petting a dog
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2010, 05:55:40 PM »

carebear called it right about the xenophobic nature of the folks in japan korea and china.   i argued with a dweeb on another forum about it once  he was all aflutter about how nice the japanese were to the lil blond haired boy.  i said yea  they took home to dinner right?   he was so proud until i explained it was like getting to bring the zoo animal home for your kids to look at.    very politely done of course.  and the ones  that rubbed his blond hair washed their hand after   like you would after petting a dog

Despite what our detractors home and abroad believe we are one of the most tolerant nations on earth.
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mordechaianiliewicz
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2010, 06:04:02 PM »

This is a continual part of East Asian culture.... East Asians don't like each other, let alone people that aren't even Oriental in their features. I've said before, the real mark of acceptance of another is would you be okay with another group (whether religious, cultural, racial, ethnic, etc.) to marry in to your family.

Outside of transplanted Asians in the West, the answer is almost always a definitive no.

While one can come up with good reasons why they might have issues with a certain culture, or religion (because it goes to the "content of your heart"), it's not really all that justifiable to me to blanket have a problem with a particular race or ethnicity.... that's just looks.
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2010, 06:23:48 PM »

Quote
Well, yeah, but it was I haven't had an original thought this week!.

That is not what I wrote. I've now encountered two of my posts someone has modified in a single day. If it happens again, I'm going to have to take action.
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2010, 07:58:32 PM »

You mean like the action the APS staff took to have the forum software automatically replace certain overused phrases with others?   Wink
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2010, 08:02:05 PM »

Well, yeah, but it was I haven't had an original thought this week!.

When I read that I wondered if you were having a T.I.A. or something. shocked

That is not what I wrote. I've now encountered two of my posts someone has modified in a single day. If it happens again, I'm going to have to take action.


Well, the leftist extremist parasites will just try to shut you up if you're not a member of their club.  grin
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Personally, I do not understand how a bunch of people demanding a bigger govt can call themselves anarchist.
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2010, 08:17:35 PM »

'
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2010, 09:28:10 PM »

You mean like the action the APS staff took to have the forum software automatically replace certain overused phrases with others?   Wink

I kinda like to say pwnd.  However, comma, I'm not sure why a running joke that just happens to be an element of today's pop-culture needs to be censored.  Why do y'all care?   Huh?

(I'm presuming Standing Wolf is talking about a former President receiving undue blame.)
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Chuck Dye
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2010, 09:49:29 PM »

I really must put a bug in the ears of the Dems to get them to subsidize the waaaambulance industry.  It will fit perfectly into ObamaCare and make billions: the ideal career change for an uncaring SOB such as myself.
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« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2010, 03:48:25 AM »

You mean like the action the APS staff took to have the forum software automatically replace certain overused phrases with others?

And yet they won't replace the most overused phrases: "wastes bandwidth" and "degrades the quality of discussion."

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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2010, 05:27:46 AM »

I kinda like to say pwnd.  However, comma, I'm not sure why a running joke that just happens to be an element of today's pop-culture needs to be censored.  Why do y'all care?   Huh?

(I'm presuming Standing Wolf is talking about a former President receiving undue blame.)

Three plus pages of one line replies from the same user.  It won't stay that way forever, but it was time to call out the obnoxious as, well, obnoxious.
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-Jason D.
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 "Why'd you open your bonghole, you smelly hippie? You'd sacrifice a beautiful woman to save a moderately attractive monkey? You must have smoked some bad granola."

Wanna see a jetliner make a smokin' hole in the ground?
Chuck Dye
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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2010, 07:14:06 AM »

You mean like the action the APS staff took to have the forum software automatically replace certain overused phrases with others?   Wink

It appears we can cancel some of those waaaambulances.
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2010, 07:43:58 AM »

We had our fun.  Maybe a new schtick?  kthxbai
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-Jason D.
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 "Why'd you open your bonghole, you smelly hippie? You'd sacrifice a beautiful woman to save a moderately attractive monkey? You must have smoked some bad granola."

Wanna see a jetliner make a smokin' hole in the ground?
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« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2010, 10:19:04 AM »

Three plus pages of one line replies from the same user.  It won't stay that way forever, but it was time to call out the obnoxious as, well, obnoxious.

Ya know, Standing Wolf has been Standing Wolf since the old TFL days (IIRC) and I don't remember anyone's panties getting run through the spin cycle with Bag 'O' Rubberbands about it before. rolleyes
Three plus pages of one line replies from the same user.  It won't stay that way forever, but it was time to call out the obnoxious as, well, obnoxious.

Hmmmmm.....  Tongue  I don't find it obnoxious at all.

How about you Bueller? Bueller?

Anyone? Anyone?
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 10:22:51 AM by Sergeant Bob » Logged

Personally, I do not understand how a bunch of people demanding a bigger govt can call themselves anarchist.
I meet lots of folks like this, claim to be anarchist but really they're just liberals with pierced genitals. - gunsmith

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« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2010, 11:03:24 AM »

Ya know, Standing Wolf has been Standing Wolf since the old TFL days (IIRC) and I don't remember anyone's panties getting run through the spin cycle with Bag 'O' Rubberbands about it before. rolleyes
Hmmmmm.....  Tongue  I don't find it obnoxious at all.

How about you Bueller? Bueller?

Anyone? Anyone?

1.  This probably wouldn't fly at TFL since they're much stricter about things being on topic.  We have no such prohibitions.
2.  It becomes obnoxious when you have to read damn near everything posted on a board and every time you see a Standing Wolf post, you can bet money on the content of that post.

It's a shame because his relevant posts are interesting and worth reading...

Chris
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