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North Korea’s uniquely funny propaganda

Despite it being a highly sinister state, one of the most notable aspects of the façade North Korea presents to the rest of the world can be found in the unintentionally rich comedic value sincerely dished out by Pyongyang’s global network of propagandists. Exhibit A would have to be the depiction of the country’s kooky leader, Kim Jong il, who was famously and brilliantly lampooned in the movie Team America: World Police. Further evidence can be found in Samizdata postings on earlier oddball giggles courtesy of North Korea’s propaganda machine – review these here and here.

But wait, there’s more. A brief glance at recently-discovered Songun blog (looking through the comments threads there, it is quite remarkable how many people do not realise the site is satirical – hint, hint) prompts further amusement at the cack-handedness of the North Korean P.R. people. Did you know that North Korea is planning to host an international rock festival in early-mid 2007? It’s true. According to the North Korean English language website, Voice of Korea, ROCK FOR PEACE

will be the 2007 version of Woodstock rock festival in 1969 but in a different location and with a different goal.

Riiiight. And like crazy ol’ spontaneous and unregulated Woodstock of 1969, Rock For Peace promises

few restrictions and conditions on participation but any band will be considered even though you are from USA. The lyrics should not contain admirations on war, sex, violence, murder, drug, rape, non-governmental society, imperialism, colonialism, racism, anti-DPRK, and anti-socialism. There are few restrictions and conditions on participation but any band will be considered even though you are from USA. The lyrics should not contain admirations on war, sex, violence, murder, drug, rape, non-governmental society, imperialism, colonialism, racism, anti-DPRK, and anti-socialism.

I am not sure there are any American acts who would satisfy the criteria. Perhaps the Brits could send Rolf Harris, preferably on a one-way passage.

There are, however, indications that the North Korean propaganda machine is starting to come to terms with the concept of producing convincing copy. Displayed at the bottom of the Voice of Korea website is a photo of a few hot and bothered middle-aged Euros posing with a group of male teenage soccer players. Songun (and this Guardian article) quotes the caption of the picture in question as reading

HEY, AMERICANS, YOU SHOULD LEARN A LOT FROM OUR NORWEGIAN FRIENDS WHO ARE HAVING REALLY GOOD TIME WITH NORTH KOREAN YOUNG SCHOOL BOYS.

No doubt to the Norwegians’ immense chagrin, a really good time with the boys is no longer being had over at Voice of Korea. They’re learning – one step at a time.

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