January 11, 2005

North Korea Cracks Down on Longhairs and Slobs

When Christopher Hitchen described North Korea as a state “where everything that is not absolutely compulsory is absolutely forbidden,” he wasn’t joking around.

Here’s the latest from the ne plus ultra of nanny states.
SEOUL (AFP) - Stalinist North Korea has stepped up its campaign against long hair and untidy attire which its media says represents a "corrupt capitalist" lifestyle, reports said.

North Korean state television, radio and newspapers have led the grooming drive, urging people to cut their hair short and to dress tidily, the BBC said in a dispatch citing broadcasts from Pyongyang.

Men were asked to have crew cuts with hair growing up to five centimeters (two inches) in a twice-a-month visit to the barber, it said.

Not only health and hygiene but also intelligence was cited by the North Korean media as reasons for the crackdown on appearance.

Pyongyang television noted long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy, according to the BBC.

But another serious reason came from state radio which said tidy attire "is important in repelling the enemies' maneuvers to infiltrate corrupt capitalist ideas and lifestyle" in North Korea, it said.

The ruling communist party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, even warned inappropriate appearance under foreign influence could lead to national decay.

"People who wear other's style of dress and live in other's style will become fools and that nation will come to ruin," Rodong was cited as saying.

Some North Korean TV broadcasts adopted a hidden-camera style video of longhaired men on various locations throughout Pyongyang in an unprecedented break with their usual approach.

The program showed those who were not "in accordance with Socialist lifestyle" just run away or make excuses of being too busy to trim their hair.
A guy who looks like this need to shut up about hair.
Kim_Hair.jpg

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 11, 2005 07:11 PM

Comments

The Left wants your soul.

Posted by: David at January 11, 2005 07:19 PM

"The program showed those who were not "in accordance with Socialist lifestyle" just run away or make excuses of being too busy to trim their hair."

And to think Totten once encouraged me to read Lenin's Tomb! What great insight awaited me. To read of the abject Soviet slaughterhouse in Poland, circa 1940. Ah, twas a blessing indeed, Michael. The wonder of it all, I was in awe, did these Poles die, enmasse, with a head full of hair, I wondered? Or did they simply die with their "boots on."

p.s. I have recently heard that Russia has offically denied any involvement in the death of some 30 million Ukrainians during the Stalin years. Seems Lenin has risen from the grave, eh?

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at January 11, 2005 07:27 PM

Marc Lamb: And to think Totten once encouraged me to read Lenin's Tomb!

Not sure what you're saying here. Are you implying that I wouldn't recommend that book now?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 11, 2005 07:32 PM

north korea is, i'm afraid, the most miserable place on the planet.

Posted by: harm d. at January 11, 2005 09:43 PM

Hair! (hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair)
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it, my hair

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at January 11, 2005 11:41 PM

"The Left wants your soul."

Actually short hair is often associated with conservatives. Singapore has pulled similar stunts and Singapore is hardly a left-wing liberal paradise. This campaign sounds like something dreamed up by a small-town Mississippi mayor. Clearly Kim is feeling anxious about his hair loss. Maybe if the West got him some hairplugs and better glasses he would mellow out a bit. "Queer eye for the murderous psycopath".

Posted by: Vanya at January 12, 2005 05:45 AM

next you neocons will want to bomb him and call the communists "insurgents" when they try to defend their country from conquest

Posted by: the good professor at January 12, 2005 06:23 AM

I realize that this may make me sound somewhat hysterical, however the more I read about 1930's Hitler, the more this guy scares the crap out of me. He may seem like a raving little madman with more bark than bite, but we've seen this before and were caught almost unawares.

If ever there was a time we must now bear down heavily on China and Russia to reign this guy in before it's too late. And when I say bear down heavily I mean with both negative as well as positive incentives and consequences.

I have a feeling that it may cost us Seoul, Tokyo or even San Francisco before we are stirred to resolute action of any sort.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 06:46 AM

Michael: Not sure what you're saying here. Are you implying that I wouldn't recommend that book now?

What I'm saying is that I've never understood the Left's "moth to the flame" fixation with Communism (or whatever your new "word" for it is today). You all so proudly trumpet "civil rights," in the name of "community" yet, who coined the endearing term "Uncle Joe"? Who mocked Reagan at every step as he stood down the Soviets. Who fears for another "quagmire" whenever America stands against tyranny?

I don't "get it," Michael, and I probably never will.

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at January 12, 2005 07:24 AM

Who fears for another "quagmire" whenever America stands against tyranny?

Marc,

Fears? You could more accurately say hopes, anticipates, delights, and does everything they can do ensure a quagmire.

They do this by "voting for our military funding before they vote against it".....

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 08:01 AM

I like this quote: "Pyongyang television noted long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy, according to the BBC."

Does anyone know if long hair grows faster than short hair?

Posted by: John B at January 12, 2005 08:05 AM

"Pyongyang television noted long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy, according to the BBC."

Maybe part of the deal is that you're supposed to immediately consume your hair after it's been cut, thereby reusing all those nutrients which are otherwise wastefully tied up in your long, luxurious hair? Or maybe the NKs are just a bit loony?

Also, David and Marc, could we please dispense with the tiresome nonsense that there is any meaningful link between "the Left" and North Korea or Stalinist Russia? Failure to acknowledge this will be taken as permission to accuse "the Right" of Fascism whenever convenient.

Posted by: Smokey at January 12, 2005 08:53 AM

Mike:

Kim Jong Il has plenty of bite, as witnessed by the thousands in the NK gulag. Collective punishment of entire families, including small children, is considered just punishment for the infraction of any
family member.

"Aquariums of Pyongyang" written by a survivor of the NK gulag, describes the system in great detail. It's harrowing reading. Also highly informative is Human Rights in North Korea (HNRK)
publication "The Hidden Gulag," available for download in PDF format at http://www.hrnk.org/HiddenGulag.pdf
It's meticulously documented and put together by the well-known human rights campaigner David Hawk.

Posted by: Daniel Calto at January 12, 2005 08:58 AM

Except in American politics, Fascism and National Socialism would be on the Left.

Oops, don't go there!

Posted by: T-Bone at January 12, 2005 09:00 AM

I think the nutrition this is just an excuse for some stupid meddling in people's lives. Beats trying to fix his economy, I guess.

What a miserable, miserable place. Reminds me of Albania under Enver Hoxha. He made certain names illegal. Or even of Pinochet, who had his soldiers slice the trousers of any women caught wearing them (they were told "in the new Chile, women wear dresses").

Dictatorships suck.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 09:01 AM

"Dictatorships suck."

Except in Cuba, where even the toilets are solid gold.

Posted by: InernationalANSWER at January 12, 2005 09:18 AM

Except in Cuba, where even the toilets are solid gold.

Some relatives of mine just got back from a vacation in Cuba. No mention of solid gold toilets. Maybe you're thinking of a different resort.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 09:30 AM

Mabye you are just spreading neoliberal propaganda. The fact is some dictatorships do not suck (such as Cuba) and some do (such as the US and Pinoche). Do you agree or are you a neocon?

Posted by: InernationalANSWER at January 12, 2005 09:38 AM

And maybe you are troll, I.A.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 09:40 AM

Does the dictatorship in Cuba suck or not? It is a simple question.

Only someone trained in the Karl Rove school of deception (e.g. an agent provocateur for Bushco) would keep avoiding my question.

Posted by: InernationalANSWER at January 12, 2005 09:44 AM

Looks like a picture of Michael Savage!

Posted by: Dragon Fly at January 12, 2005 10:09 AM

Kim Jong Il has plenty of bite, as witnessed by the thousands in the NK gulag

Excellent point Daniel, you are absolutely right. I realize I understated Kim's power and ability to wield that power against his own people as well as his closest neighbors. I simply meant that in his Stalinist propogandized style he appears to be more talk than anything else reagarding actions against "the Enemy", however as we witnessed just over 66 years ago, that can be a deceptive and fatal assumption.

Also thanks for the reading suggestions, I will be sure to follow up on them. And always appreciate any more you may have.
------------------------------------------------
Hey Double,

At least the lunatic fringe like IA don't make it hard for us to pick them out right?
------------------------------------------------
InternationalANSWER,

Your unhinged man, you need to get a grip.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 10:14 AM

Does the dictatorship in Cuba suck or not? It is a simple question.

If anyone who ISN'T trolling under a provocative and trollish identity wants to pose this question with the aim of actual discourse and not an idiotic pissing match, please pose it. I'd love to answer it, but don't want to feed a troll.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 10:18 AM

What is unhinged about asking Double (and the group) if the dictatorship in Cuba "sucks" or "doesn't suck"?

It is really a simple question. Does it "suck" or not in your opinion?

Posted by: InernationalANSWER at January 12, 2005 10:19 AM

IA,

Tell you what, I'll answer you're question however please rephrase it within the context of your own opinion so that we all can understand exactly what the hell you're talking about.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 10:24 AM

Does the dictatorship in Cuba "suck" or not?

Our opinion at InernationalANSWER is that it doesn't "suck."

Agree/disagree?

Posted by: InernationalANSWER at January 12, 2005 10:26 AM

IA,

You're so full of crap it's not even funny, but here goes anyway:
Any nation state governed by a system in which power is concentrated among an unregulated and accountable few to govern the many is rarely if ever a pleasant place to live. Such conditions infringe upon the basic human rights and individual freedoms of the population, and does little to spur economic, political, and social growth.

While at inception some of these governments may have come to power under honorable principles and the intent to serve the better good of the masses, they seldom fulfill these promises. More often, in fact in virtually every instance, these sytems fall into decay and stagnation and cause widespread misery and oppression among those who it seeks to rule.

Only the when the infusion western ideals, progressive thought (and that doesn't necessarily mean liberal) take place do you ever begin to see some of the buds of hope, liberty and individual freedom begin to sprout.

So in answer to your question, yes in most every sense for the people of the Republic of Cuba life sucks. That is at least in comparison to what it could be were Cuba under the direction of individuals appointed and continually re-affirmed by the citizens of Cuba, who seek to better the lives of every individual regardless of race, creed, color, class or political persuasion.

Now go ahead and spring your trap.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 11:07 AM

We disagree about Cuba, and with your neo-liberal flimflam. I suspect Double agrees with me regarding Cuba, hence he is incorrect that all dictatorships suck, as only dictatorships like Franco & Pinnoche (and soon the US under Bushco) suck.

Posted by: InernationalANSWER at January 12, 2005 11:18 AM

Sigh. After all that grandstanding I really expected something better than that IA. Anyhow, I've read and debated DPU and I'm sure he's more than intelligent enough to articulate his own opinions on Cuba. However I suspect he despises oppresssion and cruelty where ever it manifests itself.

That aside I'm afraid you've vastly miscalculated my political leanings by categorizing me as "Neo-Liberal", and reached a little to far by referring to my country as a "dictatorship". Oligarchy, maybe; dictatorship, no.

Keep trolling along though and you'll get one right one of these times.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 11:31 AM

Pinnoche? Does his nose grow every time he executes a dissident or something?

Posted by: Smokey at January 12, 2005 11:34 AM

Any nation that does not continually reasses their leaders, their laws, their policies and their processes will decay and become a bad place to live. The reason is simple. There is only one constant in the universe, change. Everything must change or it will become stagnant and die. Dictatorships do not have any system that forces a constant reassesment of the government and its functions. Therefore, while it may have begun well, it stagnates and creates a putrid hole as opposed to a decent country for its populace to live in.

Democracies are not immune to this. We have a better chance of evading stagnation, but its still possible. The only way to ever fully protect a nation from the potential for stagnation would be for every law to have a sunset clause. If every law had to be reviewed and remade every 10-15 years, the Senate and House would have to continually reasses the usefulness of the law in question. A great example of this working was with the recent assult weapon ban. Think about how many other laws, would likely drop off the books (or be greatly modified) if Congress HAD to deal with it (as opposed to getting enough groundswell to force Congress to look at something).

I think its the one big miss our founding fathers had in the Constitution (for good reason... they didn't expect full-time carear politicians with extra time on their hands).

"We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country. " - Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: Ratatosk at January 12, 2005 12:01 PM

Well said.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 12:04 PM

Some relatives of mine just got back from a vacation in Cuba. No mention of solid gold toilets. Maybe you're thinking of a different resort.

double,

my Liberal ex-pastor went to Cuba like the good Lefty he is and reported back to us that in Cuba there isn't poverty, only "scarcity." Nice spin.

And my Liberal father is all psyched that 92-year-old Pinochet is going to be tried, but thinks Castro is just fine because "Batista was so much worse."

Lefties make me sick (except for the ones in my family whom I still love).

Posted by: David at January 12, 2005 12:17 PM

International Answer,

I will ban you for trolling if you post one more time. Use your real name and post your real opinions.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 12, 2005 12:34 PM

David: And my Liberal father is all psyched that 92-year-old Pinochet is going to be tried, but thinks Castro is just fine because "Batista was so much worse."

Aha. Suddenly, all is clear.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 12:47 PM

Michael,

that's not trolling. Those ARE his opinions, in the form of satire. Is he insulting anybody? ad hominems? etc?

Posted by: David at January 12, 2005 12:48 PM

double,

my whole family is Liberal. Is that clear too?

Posted by: David at January 12, 2005 12:49 PM

my whole family is Liberal. Is that clear too?

You have an emotional reaction to liberals, that is certainly clear. I was wondering about the root of it.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 12:51 PM

NK is not only the most oppressive dictatorship in the planet, it's also the weirdest. And now it will be the lamest looking one.

At least in my oppressive (but very sensible) dictatorship, we'll have a decent dress code. (I still have mine, how dare these people try to sell theirs!) Hey, if you're gonna put a boot on the human face forever, it better darn well look just darn great!

Posted by: Bill at January 12, 2005 12:52 PM

double,

yeah I do. And it gets pretty hot in my family when we talk politics. But I enjoy it.

Posted by: David at January 12, 2005 12:54 PM

David,

In core beliefs you and I are of relatively similar opinion, however many of your posts lack any degree of objectivity. For that reason I suggest you read George Orwell's essay "Notes on Nationalism. It provides excellent perspective and lends a great deal of clarity to the progression of thought which leads men like your father to conclude that Castro is a "positive" alternative.

In turn, it may also help identify those of us of the more conservative persuasion, who make the same mistakes as the "Lefties" except under a different pretense. This for no other reason than to prevent the misguided among us from delegitimaizing, and subsequently sabotaging, progressively conservative efforts.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 12:54 PM

If I were going to have my own dictatorship, then forcing everyone to have the same drab clothing and haircut would be a way of enforcing conformation, and supressing individual expression. Individuality is always the enemy of totalitarianism.

Preppy clothing might qualify, but those gray featureless suits have the added element of having nothing cool about them.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 12:56 PM

"Progressively Conservative Efforts?"

Now that is a term for the times. And an indication that the C and L words may need to be discarded like a pair of soggy espadriles.

Posted by: Bill at January 12, 2005 12:56 PM

In turn, it may also help identify those of us of the more conservative persuasion, who make the same mistakes as the "Lefties" except under a different pretense.

Mike,

I agree. I don't want to be a conservative version of a Lefty, so when people like my father gloat about Pinochet, I gloat right along with him. I only wish he could gloat right along with me when I'm gloating about Saddam. But he can't, and that's when the it gets hot in my family.

Posted by: David at January 12, 2005 12:59 PM
Preppy clothing might qualify, but those gray featureless suits have the added element of having nothing cool about them.

Looks a heluvalot better than Grunge or Christina Arigula Agullerra or whatever's version of teen skankorama though.

That said however, I just had a nasty flashback to when the Alexander Julian 'Colours' collection came out. For once I'm thankful the ones I was duped in the buying would no longer fit.

Posted by: Bill at January 12, 2005 01:01 PM

Now that is a term for the times.

For years here in Canada, the conservative party was named "The Progressive Conservatives". If that weren't bad enough, the short version was "the PCs."

When they allied with the right-wing Reform Party of Canada, the new name they picked was the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party.

They quickly changed the name a few days later.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 01:02 PM

Q: Does the dictatorship in Cuba suck?

A: Which way are the rafts pointed?

Posted by: Achillea at January 12, 2005 01:09 PM

This goes back a while... but didn't Singapore have rules against long hair some time ago (to match the rules against gum chewing)?

Posted by: Bill at January 12, 2005 01:12 PM

David I don't want to be a conservative version of a Lefty

How is that even possible? That's like saying one wants to be a left-wing version of a conservative. They're mutually exclusive.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 01:12 PM
Q: Does the dictatorship in Cuba suck?

A: Which way are the rafts pointed?

And how many illegals cross over from Mexico?

The dictatorship in Cuba may suck, but using people leaving their country for the US may not be the best measuring stick to use.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 01:14 PM

Bill,

Wow, espadrilles and Alexander Julian's Colours, all in the same thread. I feel like I'm having an eighties flashback. I'm embarassed to admit that I once wore espadrilles, and with Jams, no less. "Shudder" Is there any chance we can blame Castro for Jams? Someone should be held responsible.

I'm going to go home and watch Making the Grade now.

Posted by: Smokey at January 12, 2005 01:21 PM

David,

I hear ya.
----------------------------------------
Double,

There isn't much that can be said for Canadian Conservativatism as of late (no offense). I think that would be in large part the reason why Canadian Liberals and have enjoyed such success.

However, it's not fair to denigrate a concept simply because a few morons have stood up and taken action in the name of said concept. Therefore progressive conservatism is a viable and worthy doctrine; as is many forms of liberalism as well.

I do think it's pretty funny they were called the "PC's" though; didn't know that one.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 01:22 PM

I do think it's pretty funny they were called the "PC's" though; didn't know that one.

Yeah, but Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party (CCRAP) was funnier.

The only political acronym that was funnier was the episode of Red Dwarf where Rimmer had all his anger sucked out by the emotion leech, and turned into a simpering leftist:
Rimmer: Erm, I think we're losing sight of the real issue here, which is 'What are we gonna call ourselves?' Erm, and I think it comes down to a choice between 'The League Against Salivating Monsters' or my own personal preference, which is 'The Committee for the Liberation and Integration of Terrifying Organisms and their Rehabilitation Into Society'. Erm, one drawback with that - the abbreviation is 'CLITORIS'.
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at January 12, 2005 01:30 PM

Wow, I'm really having a slow day. I didn't even pickup on the CCRAP acronym until you pointed it out. That is pretty damn funny; that's the type of shit that always happens to people who take themselves too seriously. (and deservedly so)

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 01:36 PM

"And how many illegals cross over from Mexico?"

How many Americans illegals are crossing into Mexico, or risking their lives to raft to Cuba?

Mexico may not be rules by a stalinist dictator, but both countries rank on the suck-o-meter.

Posted by: Epitome at January 12, 2005 01:40 PM

Speaking of Kim Jong Il and Acronyms, did anyone see Team America: World Police? Since seeing that I have a real hard time looking at pictures of Kim without laughing my ass off. And how about the Film Actors Guild whose members include the likes of Sean Penn and Alec Baldwin. I couldn't think of a better acronym for a group that includes those two idiots.

Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 01:48 PM

And to think Totten once encouraged me to read Lenin's Tomb!

Perhaps I should add an addendum to my ! point, here. I confess, I posted my comment before I read Totten's latest piece, Where The Communist Manifesto Meets The Koran, at TCS. Obviously Michael is becoming more keen (and I say that respectfully) to the wiles of those who tend to speak out both sides of their mouths with regards to "capitalism and communism." Even Lenin embraced capitalism to further his ultimate Commie cause (check out the life of Armand Hammer if you don't believe me). The lies upon lies makes one weary of those who seem ever so intent, as liberals are so inclined, on apologizing for the deadly, gross excess of Communism.

Yes, I know, as moveon.org told us, "Bush is Hitler." But... whatever.

Regardless, I have much respect for Mike Totten. And my post was merely an expression of long-held frustration than intellectual discourse on long-hairs and ping pong.

Sincerely,
Marc S. Lamb

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at January 12, 2005 08:46 PM

>The dictatorship in Cuba may suck, but using people leaving their country for the US may not be the best measuring stick to use.

You think there's a better one than people voting with their feet and their lives? Seriously?

Posted by: John Nowak at January 18, 2005 07:33 AM

STOP BASHING PEOPLE's political leanings.

Too right to the right = Neo Conservative or Facist.

Too far to the left = Facist + communists. Like Soviet Russia.

All dictatorships are bad, I only support democracy where the people decide the leader, not bombs.

Like in Iraq.

If you think you can bring democracy to a country by bombing, it you are sadly mistaken.

Nationalism is a very powerful force, even in our own country.

I tell you no matter how bad George Bush, is if someone used him as an excuse to invade our country, I would be fighting that country.

That is what we did in IRaq and I support every Iraqi's right to fight against us for invading their country.

Its time to pull out no proof of WMD, no worldwide accepted evidence of terrorist connection, even the genocide claim falls flat.

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