In Which North Korea’s “Brilliant Comrade” Gets a Haircut

In Which North Korea’s “Brilliant Comrade” Gets a Haircut February 19, 2019

Kim Jong Un, the Hermit Kingdom’s Brilliant Comrade, launched a new hairstyle on an unsuspecting world four years ago. One source critiqued it this way: “The style is a variation on Kim’s signature shaved sides, but with the top now sculpted into a high, wedge-shaped pompadour that sits atop Kim’s head like a hat, or perhaps a small, dormant woodland creature.”

Some speculate that he’s trying to look more like his grandfather, the founder of North Korea, the “Great Leader” and still its Eternal President. Grandfather Kim was a revolutionary hero, and Li’l Kim may be using his new hairdo to declare that he’s maturing into that role.

Why so much excitement over a haircut? Because North Korea is a dangerous and unstable enemy, and there’s so little information that even something this trivial was parsed for clues.

Remind you of Someone?

And that’s also the Christian’s task. They have their own unpredictable Great Leader whose intentions they must infer from minimal clues. Christians become pigeons in a B.F. Skinner experiment, where intermittent reinforcement produced better results than continuous reinforcement. The dribbles of approval they infer falling from God’s table are enough to keep them eager for more.

Kim’s uncle was executed early in Kim’s reign, presumably with Kim’s approval. Similarly, God is also dangerous, and Christians unashamedly admit that he’s killed millions. But, like the North Koreans who wept genuine tears at the death of the previous leader in 2011, Christians are quick to justify God’s actions. Someone’s child dies? Their faith is strengthened. The Canaanite genocide? Those bastards had plenty of chances. The Flood? They got what they deserved. In fact, God’s actions are good by definition.

I imagine the conversation in North Korea about Kim is similar.

North Korea is officially the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” but how can a dictatorship be democratic? I suppose in the same way that Yahweh the genocidal murderer is “all loving.”

But of course we have better, more tangible things to talk about in North Korea than a haircut. Instead of the hair, we could ask about the quality of life of North Koreans. And instead of God worship, we could focus on helping his children.

Lord knows he’s not doing it.

Choose faith in spite of the facts.
— Rev. Joel Osteen

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(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 2/20/15.)

 Image credit: Vox

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Lex Lata

    “I imagine the conversation in North Korea about Kim is similar.”

    Not just among North Koreans. Here’s what a Republican President of the United States has been saying about Kim: “Great personality.” “He loves his country very much.” “His country does love him.” “Very talented.” “And then we fell in love, okay?” “I do trust him, yeah.”

    (Can you imagine the reaction on Fox News if Obama had spoken like this about the dictator of North Korea?)

    /rant

    • Here’s what a Republican President of the United States has been saying about Kim: “Great personality.” “He loves his country very much.” “His country does love him.” “Very talented.” “And then we fell in love, okay?” “I do trust him, yeah.”

      A bromance that deep is so rare …

      • RichardSRussell

        Rivaled these days only by the fawning admiration for Vladimir Putin. Poor Rodrigo Duterte and Mohammed bin Salman are relegated to the bottom of the dance card.

  • johnsoncatman

    . . . that sits atop Kim’s head like a hat, or perhaps a small, dormant woodland creature.

    THAT reminds me of someone: the orange idiot with the fake hair that lives in the White House.

    • “That thing on Donald Trump’s head”–what David Letterman called it.

      Ah, how I long for those innocent days of yore.

  • skl

    Similarly, God is also dangerous… he’s
    killed millions….Someone’s child dies… The Canaanite genocide… The Flood…

    More theodicy theorizing.

    Yet, sensational stuff aside, I think all that’s needed for
    atheist rejection of the bible’s god is the middle one – “Someone’s child dies”.

    And actually, not even that. Having a boo-boo or a bad day is enough.

    • Say, that’s a great argument! “I got a paper cut; therefore, God doesn’t exist.”

      It’s not much worse than many Christian apologetics.

      • skl

        Say, that’s a great argument! “I got a paper cut;
        therefore, God doesn’t exist.”

        Yes, you got it!

        Actually, I think you’ve always had it. But now you’re acknowledging it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Actually, I think you’re deficient at sarcasm identification.

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        it is completely defensible, depending on how you define the god in question, and much better than the pseudo logic word play that accounts for the majority of apologia (i think that’s the word)

    • WCB

      As many well regarded Near Eastern archaeologists have admitted, the whole Exodus/Joshua myths of the OT are faux histories, they never happened. None of it is true. There was no Moses, no exodus, no wandering in the desert 40 years. No invasion of Canaan, no genocides, mass murders, massacres. All fantasy. All this paints God as a bloody thirsty, murderous, genocidal monster. But it is false. All lies from some ancient billy goat herder priest.

      If then, there is indeed a God that exists, this Old Testament set of lies and myths slanders that God. Is that a good idea? Or is time to admit these lies are nonsense and let them go?

      William, Dever, Israel Finkelstein, Nadav Na’aman, Donald Redford, and many others. How many leading Near Eastern archaeologists have you read? We have these ancient lies and myths that reach down 2,700 years to cause trouble, bigotry and divisiveness. And slanders God by laying these bigotries at God’s feet.

      • skl

        If then, there is indeed a God that exists, this Old Testament set of lies and myths slanders that God. Is that a good idea?

        I suppose it’s a “bad” idea. At least for the non-existent god being slandered by the OT. (But I suppose he won’t mind, as he doesn’t exist. And as the invasions, genocides, mass murders, massacres, etc. in the OT didn’t exist.)

        But “If then, there is indeed a God that exists”, then someone could write another Testament slandering that god. I mean, for
        all the invasions, genocides, mass murders, massacres, etc. in more
        modern times which we know existed. And also for the boo-boos and bad days (and for Bob S’s paper cut.)

        • Greg G.

          Atheists never say that God actually drowned the world nor ordered genocide. The only people who do that are Bible thumpers.

          I got a paper cut therefore there is no being that is both capable of preventing paper cuts and caring enough to prevent paper cuts. The Problem of Suffering only works against certain claimed god thingies, including the xtian god thingy, but not god thingies in general.

        • skl

          But “If then, there is indeed a God that exists”, then someone could write another Testament slandering that god.

        • Greg G.

          Anyone can write another testament whether a god exists or not. If the believers use the festament to oppress people and the god thingy does absolutely nothing the testament implies it would do, then those who believe it should be criticized. But it isn’t possible to slander an ethereal being.

          Note: “festament” was a typo but now it’s a neologism.

        • skl

          Anyone can write another testament whether a god exists or not.

          That’s not what I meant. I wasn’t talking about “whether”. WCB’s premise was “If then, there is indeed a God that exists.” Combine that with all the invasions, genocides, mass murders, massacres, etc. we know occurred and continue to occur. Then someone could write another Testament slandering that god who exists.

          But it isn’t possible to slander an ethereal being.

          Only if it’s not possible that an ethereal being exists.

        • eric

          The Problem of Suffering only works against certain claimed god
          thingies, including the xtian god thingy, but not god thingies in
          general

          A good philosophy argument, but Christian theologians tend to only consider something to be a god thingy worthy of discussion if it has their own god thingy’s traits. They take the theodicy argument as applying to all god thingies because they don’t really consider limited power, animistic, polytheistic, even deistic god thingies to be worthy of discussion or consideration.

          Skl feels the same way: he’s stated bluntly in the past that he has no interest in debating the credibility or existence of other supernatural thingies, he’s only interested in discussing the Christian one. But he says he’s a non-Christian skeptic, so I’m sure this is mere coincidence.

        • skl

          Skl feels the same way: he’s stated bluntly in the past that he has no interest in debating the credibility or existence of other supernatural thingies, he’s only interested in discussing the Christian one.

          I might have some interest in discussing them.
          But Bob S. and others here seem only interested in discussing the Christian one. So, I’ll follow their lead.

        • Michael Neville

          Besides, as a Christian you have no interest in other gods than the one you favor.

        • Greg G.

          You could go to a blog that focuses on the religion you wish to discuss. This is “Cross Examined”.

        • skl

          You could go to a blog that focuses on the
          religion you wish to discuss. This is “Cross
          Examined”.

          I could, except that I guess I’m more interested in cross-examining
          non-belief.

          Bob’s blog seems devoted to non-belief in Christianity in
          particular. As a resident of the U.S., where Christianity is the dominant religion, this particular non-belief interests me more than does non-belief in Islam/Hinduism/etc.

          But if you know of Patheos Nonreligious blogs devoted to
          non-belief in Islam or non-belief in Hinduism, etc., let me know. I might have some interest in commenting there, too.

        • Greg G.

          The internet is a big place. You can find a blog on almost anything. You can start one, too.

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      if there was an omnimax god that watched over all his followers and only wanted what was good for them then a literal stubbed toe would be proof that he didn’t exist, you seem to not understand how christians define their own god. to a being of such power the difference between preventing genocide and saving a single butterfly is virtually the same, yet apparently it does neither. what does that tell you?

      • skl

        what does that tell you?

        Just what I already said.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          So no counter argument, excellent, so i can assume that you accept the obvious implication that the god of the bible does not exist, glad we cleared that up

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Look.

      The xtian ‘bible’ BRAGS about it.

      So don’t go trying to apologize it away.

      • eric

        I guess we should be thankful he’s trying to ignore it rather than touting such genocides as wonderful.

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      Yes, we know there are some Christians who don’t care how evil the god they worship is. But there are moral Christians who actually have to somehow reconcile their beliefs with their conscience.

      • skl

        I wasn’t talking about Christians.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          But I’m talking about you

        • skl

          But I’m talking about you.

  • WCB

    A supremely ugly hair cut. He needs a red rubber nose to go with it.

    • RichardSRussell

      And do you know how many North Koreans have told him that? None of the living ones.

  • Chuck Johnson

    North Korea is officially the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” but how can a dictatorship be democratic?

    In the same way that war can be peace, freedom can be slavery and ignorance can be strength.
    Despots will generally name their countries using such grand egalitarian rhetoric.
    It’s doubleplusgood duckspeaking.

  • aCultureWarrior

    I’ve never given atheists credit for having good tastes when it comes to anything. Maybe if atheist Kim Jong Un butchers a few more Christians, he’ll smile knowing that he’s once again the head of a nation that leads the world in Christian persecution.

  • eric

    I’m honestly not sure whether Kim is doing this out of some control-freak power play (i.e., do something silly to see if/which of your followers will call it silly), or simply because for cultural or whatever reasons he actually thinks its a good-looking haircut.

    I kinda hope it’s the former. I’d rather the people in charge of nuclear weapons be ‘unpredictable like a fox’ rather than just plain unpredictable.

  • RichardSRussell

    I once heard a description of Kim Jong Un that left no doubt whatsoever about whom they meant: “the only fat man in North Korea”.