When news of Kim Jong-il death hit the wires Sunday night, the Internet reacted the only way it knows how by writing obituaries, wondering what comes next for the country, turning Dear Leader’s death into a meme, and so on. BuzzFeed had four items on his death ready to go within an hour of the news breaking. The speed with which news spreads is fascinating to consider, but the speed with which that news gets swallowed by the Internet, re-purposed and churned out at the other end is even more so.
The world outside of North Korea didn’t know much about Kim Jong-il. He liked movies, specifically James Bond, Rambo and Godzilla; he drank Hennessey and loved using the Internet, despite not allowing North Koreans access to it. He was rumored to be a very good golfer (11 holes-in-one in one round!). He also became a Hollywood villain and a member of the Axis of Evil.
Americans, and the world at large, will probably never understand who Kim Jong-il was or what he psychologically meant to the North Korean people. Because of that reality, this video of the country weeping hysterically over the news of his death is heart-wrenching and intense.
We will never fully understand Kim Jong-il.
It also makes us wonder: If these people don’t cry, will they be thrown in jail? Or, are they actors hired by the new Dear Leader Kim Jong-un? Neither would surprise us.
OUR SUNDAY NIGHT POST:
Just when you thought 2011 couldn’t get any crazier, North Korean state TV reported on Monday that Kim Jong-Il, who had become increasingly ill and reclusive, has died at the age of 69.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea died on a train ride of “physical fatigue.” His son of unknown age and personality, Kim Jong-un, will take over as the nation’s leader, State TV reported officially.
Jong-il had been in power since the 1994 death of his father Kim Il-sung, who founded North Korea. He presided over a nation flagged by human rights abuses and was constantly chastised for threatening the region with missile tests and the development of nuclear weapons.
One of the most interesting stories of his life is when the notorious film buff had his secret agents kidnap South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, Choe Eun-hui. “Kim Jong-il later confessed to me that the reason he kidnapped my wife first was because he wanted me to come and make films for him,” Shin Sang-ok later told the BBC. After Kim put $2.5 million into an Austrian bank account, Shin made 20 movies for Kim over the next two years, mostly propaganda films.
But nothing tells the story of Kim Jong-il’s North Korea more than this piece of propaganda:
Okay, maybe this famous “lights” photo better tells the story of Kim Jong-il’s North Korea:
The state TV presenter who announced the news of Kim Jong-il’s death against a serene mountain backdrop looks exactly how you’d expect her to look (the video follows below).
A funeral will be held December 28th, and the mourning period will continue through the 29th. We’ll have more details as they come. For now, enjoy this highlight reel:
Moammar Gadhafi? Check. Osama bin Laden? Check. As HV contributor Jonathan Cox tweeted following the news, “[Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad had better watch his back.”
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