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 7:11 PM

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