There’s something about the green marble background at the UN General Assembly that really puts Trump in his element. Normally it looks dated, like Astoria’s idea of opulence in the 1990s, but put an icon of self-aggrandizing greed in front of it and the whole thing comes together. It makes me want to get out my gold fork and knife and dig in to a copy of The Andromeda Strain. Anyway, decor is the only way Trump is in his element at the United Nations. He makes a jarring contrast with most other aspects of that organization, for example their commitment to world peace. This morning, he took advantage of his audience of world leaders to threaten North Korea, like so:
For those of you who can’t watch videos because you’re prisoners or something, here’s the fillet:
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully, this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about. That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.
The United Nations is the greatest force for peace in the world, and I call on it to fulfill its mission by restraining my murderous impulses. Let’s see how they do. These remarks call attention to another element of the Trump aesthetic that is totally out of place at the UN: mean nicknames. In addition to raising questions about how he understands the Elton John Song, referring to Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” seems very out of place here.
Mean nicknames made a kind of sense during the campaign, which explicitly set candidates at odds with one another. Trump’s basic promise was that he would bully politicians on behalf of ordinary people, so his insult-comic persona was likable, albeit from a limited perspective that I did not share. It makes no sense before a body whose object is international cooperation, though. I suspect that the UN would cause more problems than it solved if all the delegates called one another names. It’s hard to claim you want peace with North Korea when you antagonize its notoriously vain dictator and then threaten to “totally destroy” his country. But it’s not Trump’s job to prevent the war that two generations of his predecessors have successfully avoided. That’s up to the UN. Let’s see how they do.
Ballistic missiles on parade in Pyongyang Saturday
Two interesting things happened in North Korea this weekend. First, third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un presided over a parade to honor his grandfather Kim Il Sung. There were lots of missiles, including the ostensibly intercontinental Pukguksong pictured above. The next morning, apparently as a show of defiance as American ships approached the Korean Peninsula, the North tested another ballistic missile that failed within seconds of liftoff. Let that be a lesson to you, Kombat! Kids. When you become dictator of a secretive rogue state and want to show off your military might, schedule the parade after the missile test. Otherwise, you risk embarrassing yourself. On a completely unrelated note, here’s US President Donald Trump on his revised opinion of China’s relationship with North Korea, which President Xi Jinping explained to him over the weekend:
After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy. It’s not what you would think.
Ah, yes—our new president, who insisted throughout his 18-month campaign that China had absolute control of North Korea and its belligerent foreign policies, changed his opinion after considering the subject for 10 minutes. This news raises a fun question: Which of these egomaniacal stewards of his family empire will keep us out of war?
A $2.5 million Bugatti with a penis painted on it. Can you spot the composition error in this photo?
According to a website called The LAD Bible, someone parked his Bugatti Veyron on the streets of Seattle, where someone else—presumably a rival Veyron owner—spray-painted a penis on the hood. The LAD Bible says that’s bad. Its 200-word article does not say who owns the car, the date this may have happened, whether the police are involved or how LAD Bible came to know about it, but it does describe the act of vandalizing a sports car as “unthinkable.” Today is Friday, and you don’t need a government to run your propaganda state. Won’t you relentlessly enforce the values of the ruling class with me?
“You’re telling me there’s been a New Mexico in the United States this whole time?”
Yesterday, the US Patent Office canceled the trademark of the Washington Redskins, ruling that the name disparages American Indians. Obviously, this is a case of political correctness run amok. The Redskins name celebrates first Americans in much the same way that the n-word only refers to certain African-Americans, which is to say according to white people. Consider the response of noted white person Rep. Steve King (R–IA):
Props to Fletch-Dogg for the tip. In related news, the offices of the Department of Hyperbole will be closed this weekend while a tightly coordinated squadron of illegal immigrants invades and sterilizes them.
This is sarcastic clapping. I will turn your production of Our Town into a sea of fire.
On Friday, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ruined imperialist weekends by declaring war on South Korea and the United States, sort of. The official declaration is hard to interpret. On one hand, you’ve got sentences like “It is the resolute answer of the DPRK and its steadfast stand to counter the nuclear blackmail of the U.S. imperialists with merciless nuclear attack and their war of aggression with just all-out war.” It sounds like they’re standing in steadfast resolve to attack us mercilessly/nuclearly, right there, but then you also get sentences like this: “The state of neither peace nor war has ended on the Korean Peninsula.” So maybe Kim Jong Un is threatening nuclear peace. Also we’re pretty sure he does not have nuclear capabilities, and the whole baffling plate is slathered over in a runny translation that makes this state declaration sound like it was edited down to 500 words from 1000, then stretched out again to 750. In short, it’s a prime candidate for Close Reading.