Monday, June 19, 2006

My Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Let’s start this here blog off with a nice, non-controversial topic that everyone can agree on: North Korea totally sucks. This amateur photo essay, taken by a Russian tourist and later posted into a military history discussion forum, is interesting, but not particularly surprising. Creepy scary dystopian nightmare--yeah, that's North Korea for you. The photos are in color but the country is so bleak they may as well be black and white.

The one detail which haunted me the most: all the public spaces are far too clean. If you took even the most hardcore environmentalist and made him live in that preternaturally tidy country for a year, he'd come out writing odes to the beauty of litter. Yes, it’s annoying when you see things like food wrappers lying on the ground, but at least then you know there’s food to buy.


DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings,
who offered me a guest spot on his blog a couple of weeks ago; Jesse Walker of Hit and Run, who called attention to it; and Number 6 of Grylliade, who brought Jesse's post to light.

Anybody whom I might offend here should bear in mind that if not for the actions of the aforementioned men, I probably never would even have started this blog. Think about that.

4 Comments:

Blogger Dr. T said...

Jennifer, I think it's important to start this blog's comments off in the traditional manner: With some overly pedantic flaming!

You say:
Let’s start this here blog off with a nice, non-controversial topic that everyone can agree on: North Korea totally sucks.

North Korea does not "suck." Suction implies that forces are drawing things in from the outside. However, North Korea is actually losing people. Therefore, it ought to be obvious to anybody who has read as many books as me that North Korea doesn't suck, it actually blows.

I suggest you read "Principles of Vacuum Engineering" before you embarass yourself any further!

:)

6:12 AM  
Anonymous linguist said...

Wow. A picture does say a thousand words.

Regarding the lack of litter, I've seen that in other nations more socialistic than the U.S. I wonder if there's any significance to it.

Other than that, you're right, what a bleak country. Kim Jong IL - the Sun of 21st century! one of their signs read. Poignant, since it seems the sun never shines there.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

So you can read Korean, Linguist? Cool. Are there any other ironic slogans in any of those pictures?

8:33 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

"Regarding the lack of litter, I've seen that in other nations more socialistic than the U.S. I wonder if there's any significance to it."

Two theories: one, citizens of a socialist nation may be more likely to view public sapces as "theirs"; or two, a socialist government, being more prone to do things in an attempt to end unemployment, is more likely to hire people to clean those places.

North Korea's just that there is nothing to litter with in the first place.

8:11 AM  

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