Was Kim Jong-il a Sex Symbol?

12/19/2011 4:40 PM |

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Perhaps you are already tired of talking about Kim Jong-Il. I guess that’s just the way our news cycle works now—Twitter burns through all possible jokes in an hour and then we’re done. But there’s something about him in particular that I think is really fascinating to people. I don’t know if it’s the reclusiveness or the South Park thing or that guy’s willingness to just straight-up lie his face off about things that would be instantly disprovable if North Koreans had any contact with the rest of the world, but whatever it is, I feel like Westerners write about him differently than they do about other brutal dictators.

Take for example this Telegraph story: Kim Jong-il’s relationships: an unlikely sex symbol.

Relationships? Sex symbol? I don’t think “fuck me or I’ll kill you and your entire family” can really be described as a “relationship.”

Here is how the story starts:

Kim was 8 when his mother, Kim Jong-suk, died in childbirth, according to his official biography, although there are suggestions that his mother died of gunshot wounds.

His loss was made worse when his father remarried, to Kim Song-ae, and the boy and his stepmother quarrelled.

Childbirth, gunshot wounds, one of those two things. It doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that he and his stepmother didn’t get along. I mean, sure, I understand that the story is attempting to put aside the “kept his entire nation on the brink of starvation” narrative for a moment and examine the sexual psychology of the guy. But does Kim Jong-il really deserve these kind of kid gloves:

Even while they were married, Kim Jong-il was having a relationship with Song Hye-rim, a star of the North Korean cinema, who was married to another man and whom Kim forced to divorce her. Professor Shigemura said Kim was “looking for the love of the mother that he lost.”

Aw. How relatable! and

Throughout his relationships, however, Kim was drawn to attractive women and lavish events were staged at his palaces with the most beautiful young women from around the country ordered to dance for his pleasure.

“His senior staff competed to find the prettiest girls so they would be rewarded with better posts,” said Professor Shigemura. “They travelled all across the country looking for women.”

“Danced”. The article goes through his roster of wives and mistresses, all of whom die of natural causes mysteriously young. Then, there’s this:

Kim also had a curious relationship with a Japanese magician who went by the name Princess Tenko and Professor Shigemura claims Kim travelled to Tokyo every summer for eight years in the 1980s to meet her. Princess Tenko also went to North Korea twice, in 1998 and 2000, where she met Kim’s entourage.

Okay, sure, Princess Tenko. She sound cool. Who doesn’t like magic. Then finally, it comes to an end:

Despite his apparent fascination with women, Professor Shigemura said there were no suggestions that he had ever expressed interest in Western women.

Is that supposed to make this article more relevant to me, as a Western woman reader? Or something? Is the Telegraph writer just stunned someone wouldn’t want to bang white chicks if given the chance? Whatever it is, the whole thing is WEIRD. Could you imagine the headline “Saddam Hussein’s relationships: an unlikely sex symbol”? Also, “apparent fascination” has to be the most euphemistic possible way of describing his officers hunting through the populace bringing him pretty women to “dance” with. C’mon Telegraph.