Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Walking small, but carrying a huge stick

Yes, the picture to the left is a caricature.  But it's appropriate and close to scale nevertheless.

Of all my favorite unjustifiably self-centered lunatics filled with their own brand of tyrannical hubris -- from Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Muammar Gaddafi, Omar al-Bashir, Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Osama bin Laden himself -- none have been as thoroughly entertaining, and disturbing, as Kim Jong-il.

The official biography of Kim Jong-il states that his birth was prophesied, and later heralded, by the appearance of a double rainbow over the Baekdu Mountain in Japanese-occupied Korea.  Although the story of his birth is clearly hogwash, the national cult of personality established by his father, "Eternal President" Kim Il-Sung (d. 1994), allows for such embellishments, which ultimately enables the Russian-born "Dear Leader" to remain both an untouchable oppressor and the unquestioned head of the world's fourth-largest military.

Kim's disastrous policies as North Korea's despot-in-chief have resulted in one of the world's deadliest famines.  Despite his well-known craving for fine dining, millions of his fellow Koreans -- at least 10% of the population -- have succumbed to starvation over the past 15 years.  Only Mao and Josef Stalin have starved more people to death.  It is also reported that Kim Jong-il, to his considerable dismay, believes he will be replaced by a triplet.  Because each of his children were born individually, Kim has ordered all triplets in North Korea to be rounded up and raised in orphanages where the Stalinist dictator can keep a close eye on them.

Nuclear threats and pesky human rights violations notwithstanding, the 5'2" god-man also plays a mean game of golf.  The government-controlled media -- which ran headlines recently that proclaimed victory in the World Cup over the top-ranked Brazilians, 29-0 -- reports that Kim Jong-il routinely shoots at least three holes-in-one per round.  The odds of achieving but a single hole-in-one are approximately 1 in 5,000.  So either the propaganda machine is lying, or KJ-i is better than Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods combined.

In an unrelated, but equally grandiose story, I am a better guitarist than Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, Darrell Abbott, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Brian May, Randy Rhoads, Kirk Hammett, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Zakk Wylde, Vernon Reid and Duane Allman combined.

Yes, Kim Jong-il is going to burn in Hell one day.  The punishment his totalitarian regime has inflicted will last, most likely, for generations.  Yet we can hope that one of those triplets for whom Kim is inexplicably afraid will, by some act of God, rise to become the benevolent replacement North Koreans so desperately need.

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