Bruce looks at the Korean hit parade

The population of North Korea is approximately 23 to 24 million. All of them, it seems fair to assume, have been exposed mightily to a song titled “No Motherland Without You.” It’s a song that sings the praises of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, featuring such lyrics as—

Our future and hope depend on you,
People’s fate depends on you, Comrade Kim Jong-Il.
We cannot live without you,
Our country cannot exist without you!

Hope the melody for that one is a killer, because the words aren’t exactly Grammy-grabbers. But here’s my point. In a country of 24 million, how many of your typical Joe Q. Kimchis come home at night, pour themselves a Jack and Coke, turn on the state-owned radio station, hear yet another spin of “No Motherland Without You,” and think to themselves, “Goddamn, if I hear this bullshit song about that freakazoid megalomaniac yo-yo one more time, I’m gonna flat out lose it!”

I mean, there’s gotta be some, right? Not everybody in the dang country can be successfully pounded into a state of brainwashed stupefication by constant and incessant overexposure to toxic sloganeering. Can they? They can’t all be goose-stepping haters of all things Californian, right? The numbers on the bell curve would seem to mandate that there simply has to be a certain number of North Koreans who have fallen through the slim cracks of that country’s eternally vigilant brain police. There has to be a fair number of reasonably intelligent adults who put on a brave public face, sucking it up, grinning and bearing it, but who quietly and guardedly get together with like-minded friends on occasion to say, in essence, “Can you believe this guy?”

So this week’s column gives a shout out to those folks, whatever their numbers may be, who live in defiant non-ignorance in North Korea. Those who dare not dissent in any way, but who must play along to get along, feigning affection and allegiance to their goofy little leader and his never-ending need for international attention, to be gained by any means whatsoever.

I’m talking about those brave North Koreans who not only downloaded the outrageous 2004 puppet flick Team America: World Police, (featuring extensive and savage mocking of Kim Jong-Il) but who also laughed at it. Hard. One can only imagine the penalty for having that one on the laptop.