N. Korea announces “gust of hatred and rage” over James Franco movie

Kim Jong Un visits the dolphinarium at the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground. Nothing in this caption is made up.

Kim Jong Un visits the dolphinarium at the Rungna People’s Pleasure Ground. Seriously.

The good news, if you are an asshole, is that James Franco and Seth Rogen are making another high-concept buddy movie. The bad news, if you are an even bigger asshole, is that the comic premise is Kim Jong Un. In The Interview, Franco and Rogen play journalists whom the CIA recruits to assassinate the North Korean dictator. Normally Kim has a great sense of humor about himself, but this time Hollywood has pushed it too far. According to a spokesman for North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

If the United States administration tacitly approves or supports the release of this film, we will take a decisive and merciless countermeasure…[The film] is the most blatant act of terrorism and an act of war that we will never tolerate.

Somewhere in the State Department, a whole office is dedicated to interacting with these people.

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Steve King compares Obama to Kim Jong Un after Redskins lose trademark

"You're telling me there's been a New Mexico in the United States this whole time?"

“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):

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 9.54.39 AM

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.

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Close Readings: North Korea’s declaration of war or something


This is sarcastic clapping. I will turn your production of Our Town into a sea of fire.

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.

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Friday links! A problem like Korea edition

North Korea

Can you imagine how weird it is to be the guy in the United States government—possibly there is a name for this position—in charge of dealing with North Korea? On one hand, they are clearly not a serious country; their economy alternates between collapse and starvation, and they can’t afford electricity at night. On the other hand, they keep threatening nuclear war. Perhaps most infuriatingly, their threats come in a form that insists everyone else is threatening them. It’s a weird combination of delusion, incompetence and crowing arrogance, and it is frustrating. How do you solve a problem like Korea? That’s the worst part: you ignore it. You don’t even get the pleasure of seeing the weirdo son of the weirdo son of the weirdo dictator get his comeuppance. You just have to let being Kim Jong Un be its own punishment. Today is Friday, and the high ground sucks. Fortunately, our decadent American lifestyle provides the internet to distract us. Won’t you ignore belligerence with me?

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North Korea plans nuclear Pope, probably



It cannot be a coincidence that two historically unusual events both occurred yesterday. First, the Pope retired—something that hasn’t happened in 600 years. Hours later, North Korea announced that it had completed a third underground nuclear test—something that hasn’t happened ever, and which only has two near precedents. These events are so rare that the odds of them both happening on the same day are nigh infinitesimal. There can only be one explanation: they are the same event. Irrefutable argument for North Korean supremacy after the jump.

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