There are many reasons why I would like to visit North Korea. I am not a communist or a commie sympathizer so don’t think I want to go so I can study what’s great about their system. No, on the contrary I’m attracted to North Korea because it’s so fucked up. The brainwashing, the censorship, the little baby boy that became a Dear Leader, it’s all so intriguing. You might be saying to yourself, “What about Zimbabwe, Cuba, Iran, etc.?” No, thank you. What makes North Korea so much more interesting than these backwards dictator havens is the way NK has shut itself off AND the great lengths to which it goes to convince its people and the world that it has some kind of might.
For all of the criticisms of Cuba, when it comes to displaying their might they’re content to do so on the baseball field. Ditto Zimbabwe and cricket. Iran is a big regional player, not shut off at all. They want people to think they’re tough but they don’t do it from behind closed doors like NK. Visiting NK would be like visiting another world or at least that’s how I imagine it.
Here are a couple of buildings that represent some of NK’s ridiculous excess and attempts to prove something, who knows what?, to someone.
Construction on this gigantic hotel began in 1987 and then CEASED in 1992, leaving the behemoth unfinished! And there it sat as unfinished as ever until last year when a foreign company was hired to put in windows and finish covering the upper, circular floors. These changes were not made to complete construction but rather to make the thing appear finished and more attractive. The hotel will not actually be opened any time soon or probably EVER due to shoddy construction.
May Day Stadium
At least this exercise in excess is actually in use. Finished in 1999, it’s the largest non-car racing stadium in the world, with a capacity of 150,ooo! And the thing has a partial dome! It’s 50% larger than the biggest football stadia in the USA. What’s strange about this is that sports aren’t exactly a huge deal in NKorea. In fact the only possible tenant for the stadium is the national soccer team as there’s no big league of any sort in the country. When Japan and South Korea co-hosted the World Cup in 2002 they actually offered to allow NK to host a few matches, presumably at the May Day stadium. This seems like a no-brainer ‘yes’ (all that income and attention without the expense of any campaigning). However, NK said, “No, thanx” and instead organized a huge series of performances at the stadium to distract NKoreans from the World Cup tournament being held south of the border. This big show, the Arirang, has become an annual occasion. It runs for several days and it’s basically like the Opening/Closing Ceremonies at Olympics – lots of silly costumes, streamers, dancers, etc. The shows are so huge that the performers occasionally outnumber the spectators.
JESUS HERBERT WALKER CHRIST!