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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Why Do We Laugh at North Korea But Fear Iran?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum where historic objects and models are displayed, on March 24, 2013. (Reuters)

In the United States, we make fun of Kim Jong Un and the North Korean regime's over-the-top propaganda machine. The regime may have launched a massive cyberattack on South Korean banks and TV stations last month, but we were circumspect that they were capable of such a thing. When former basketball player Dennis Rodman visited the country in February we giggled. How silly, we thought. Kim Jong Un is a Dennis Rodman fan - how out of touch! Soon after, a video emerged from North Korean state television showing Kim welcomed by jubilant masses of soldiers sprinting to welcome him as he visited a posting from whence rockets were launched in a brief 2010 skirmish with South Korea.

A man starves his own people and threatens to start a nuclear war, and Americans laugh. What a bizarre thing to do.

Partly it's the way they present themselves. North Korea is a relatively small nation with leaders who come across as stereotypically incompetent Bond villains: uniformly dressed, tasteless but expensive cliché obsessions, physically unintimidating, with every major attack blowing up in their face like Wile E. Coyote. The Kim family does not produce tall or physically gifted men, nor exceptionally handsome ones. They are also Asian, which connotes a whole set of racist stereotypes, none of them necessarily terror-inspiring. Iran, meanwhile, is a Muslim nation, and for obvious but unfortunate reasons it's easier to stoke public fears of Muslim fanaticism than Northeast Asian nationalism.

Full article:
Why Do We Laugh at North Korea But Fear Iran?:

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