WASHINGTON, July 13, 2014 – In an impressive show of soccer skill, North Korea blew past a badly outclassed Portugal team to win the World Cup final by a score of 6-0. The match was much more lopsided than indicated by the score.
The North Korean team attributed their victory to the coaching of supreme leader Kim Jong-un, who also scored the final goal. The crowd was so swept up in the victory that they stripped and fed the hapless Portugal team to a pack of 120 starving dogs, incinerated the remains with flame throwers, and then, to the last man, woman and child, had their hair cut like Kim’s.
The supreme leader humbly admitted satisfaction with the result.
So, anyway, might go the headlines tomorrow in Pyongyang.
According to various internet reports, the Korean people have been told that their team, which did not qualify for the World Cup, has defeated Japan, the United States, and China to reach the finals. Those reports, unfortunately, are probably untrue.
North Korea is the National Enquirer of countries. How do you parody the Enquirer? You can’t. It’s already a parody of itself.
In the last few years, several grim or amusing rumors have hit the internet about North Korea: All college-age men are required to get a Kim Jong-un haircut (not true); Kim fed his uncle to a pack of starving dogs (probably not true, though he did have him executed); Kim had his girlfriend and her band executed when he learned she’d made a porn video (possibly true; they have all gone missing); Kim has had people executed by flamethrower and by mortar round (possibly true). The World Cup story is only the most recent.
If the story turns out to be true (if only it were!), no one will be shocked by it; if it’s false, it’s still just barely believable.
In related news, Steven Spielberg killed a dinosaur. The picture of him next to his victim, a gentle triceratops, went viral on social media after Jay Branscomb posted it to his account. Facebook users were disgusted, blasting Spielberg for cruelty.
“Steven Spielberg has absolutely no respect for animals. Posing infront of this poor dead animal like that. Barbaric.”
Apparently their Sunday school teachers never told them that the last dinosaurs died in the Flood.
Irony is dead. The internet killed it. As one of Branscomb’s Facebook commenters said, if it’s on the internet, it must be true, though we don’t know whether he meant that ironically.
Critical thinking has gone out the door; we’re left with a world of literalists who believe that every last word on the page is in deadly earnest.
North Korea is a parody, and that is part of its tragedy. The nation’s leaders are loathsome, the regime is unspeakably cruel, the sufferings of North Koreans are beyond belief. Yet we laugh at it rather than demanding that the world’s governments react. Kim is a monster hiding inside a clown suit.
Instead of directing our outrage at Kim, we direct it at a dinosaur hunter (there’s no evidence that Spielberg has ever hunted any big game that didn’t die out by the end of the Cretaceous Period), at cheerleader-hunter Kendall Jones, at teams named after Indian stereotypes, or at senile old NBA owners.
We’ve lost all sense of proportion.
Perhaps the problem is that we have too much information about too many outrages. If it were just Israel and Palestinians, just the kids on the border, just North Korea or just brutality in Iraq we could work up the appropriate level of outrage.
But there are too many outrages to keep up with, so we save it for problems we can tackle or that have a face.
I can’t do anything about Nepali workers dying to build World Cup stadiums in Qatar, but I can boycott the Redskins (who watches them anyway?) and write nasty things on Miss Jones’ Facebook wall, and even nastier things about her on my wall.
The North Korea World Cup rumor and the fuss over Spielberg’s cruelty to dinosaurs are funny.
They’d be hilarious if they weren’t also so sad.