Everyone is by now familiar with the fact that hate groups, terror organizations, and rogue states have their own official websites, websites that offer “alternate” versions of history and the truth. It’s already been said. This piece, then, written for the Nassau Weekly’s Politics Issue, is not meant as a concerned ex-po-zay. Instead, spitting the brown juice from the Skoal nestled between my receding gums and lower lip into an empty Sprite Remix bottle, I intend to tool around those farcical quarters of the internet infested by some of the planet’s more sinister goofballs.
The Official Website of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
On the website of the DPRK, or “North Korea”- the country where the recipe for kim chee simply reads, “don’t make kim chee, just worry about keeping all of the distended-bellied children away from the camera”- there’s a section devoted to the Korean Friendship Association (KFA). The website talks about the KFA like it’s some serious worldwide network dedicated to the defense of the DPRK. Is there really a brave international cadre, thousands- nay! millions!- strong, standing proudly behind the flag of the Fatherland? Double-click on the “International Organization Committee” link. The International Organization Committee is, according to the site, “in charge of the direction and coordination of the KFA worldwide.” Here’s the picture for Mr. Jason D. LaBouyer, the “Int’l Organization Secretary”:
It’s a fifteen year old boy standing in front of an oak tree! It’s a fifteen year old boy standing in front of an oak tree!! It’s a fifteen year old boy standing in front of an…. let me catch my breath… an oak tree!!!! I mean, the country is playing a game of nuclear brinkmanship, and they put Christopher Robin at the top of their international solidarity leadership!? What- did secret DPRK agents find Jason D. LaBouyer thirty yards from the tetherball courts, offer him a top position in their organization, and then take his picture on the spot!? God bless you, Jason D. LaBouyer.
Other goofy things about the website:
-There’s a complete version of the website in Esperanto. <
– Although not pictured here, everyone else in the KFA leadership on the website almost gives you the notion to start buying into the nineteenth-century concept of a “criminal physiognomy.” Very creepy.
Visit the DPRK at www.korea-dpr.com
Funny Faces of the Cuban Leadership or If Guess Who? were a board-game about Cuban government ministers, then children wouldn’t be able to fall asleep.
What is it about the last remaining Communist states and some absurd compulsion to propel certifiably weird-looking people to the highest ranks of leadership? To be fair, Cuba’s official website is less goofy than those of its peers, but these official photos are fucking ridiculous:
These are the Ministers of Culture, a Provincial Assembly President, another Provincial Assembly President, and the Minister of Transportation, respectively. Note the suspicious sideways look of the second-from-right Assembly President (and then recall that this is the offical, sugar-coated site of an autocratic regime- nothing to worry about here folks, everything’s alll right…). How about the tremendous mullet on the Minister of Culture? Of Culture. Do you see what I’m getting at? Then again, he has the exact same glasses as I do. I’m serious. Ask anybody. That leaves Mario over there with that botched lobotomy look that I hear those Cubans go wild for, and his brother Luigi on the far right whose oversize head is: a) poorly photoshop-ed over the head of the just-assassinated previous Minister of Transporation b) the onset of “medicine head” like in the commercial c) especially adapted for smashing, or “bonking”, rocks and dino-enemies for the TurboGrafx16.
Visit the Republic of Cuba at www.cubagov.cu
Ain’t No Diorama Like A Myanmar Diorama ‘Cause A Myanmar Diorama Don’t Stop.
Myanmar, formerly Burma (Myanmar being the name given to the country by its ruling military junta), is the second-largest producer of narcotic drugs- heroin, opium, etc.- in the world (It’s also one of the most militarized states in the world, with over a dozen armed rebel groups throughout the country in various states of conflict with the ruling military state. This is obviously a country with its shit together). That’s why Myanmar is such an apt location for the Drug Elimination Museum, whose exhibits depict the country’s valiant attempts to eliminate narcotics from its midst. The first odd thing about the Drug Elimination Museum section of the country’s official website is that it lists every exhibit in the entire museum, and does so as a series of “booths”, but in the pictures of the exhibits there are no booths. That can be chalked up to a language thing, I guess, but the content of some of the exhibits really have no excuse. The diorama pictured below is supposed to show a military operation that took out a major poppy-growing estate controlled by a druglord. Keep in mind that: a) Myanmar is a military dictatorship that is actually very bad at dealing with its country’s drug production in any way, and probably benefits from it under the table; b) Myanmar, like many other countries on the Asian continent, is a martial-arts practicing country- with all that entails in terms of comical American stereotypes:
So, ummm… right here it looks like we got some second-hand action figures holding ninja swords, beating up a flower. Did you keep in mind the stuff that I mentioned above? Is it all clicking now? I mean, I understand that the flower is supposed to be a poppy plant, but still. Also, are stiff swipes with a ninja sword the most effective means of clearing out endless poppy fields? I would read this diorama as a critique of the soul-crushing (hence, the menaced flower) backwardness (hence, the ninja sword) of the existing regime. One question: On the back of the box that these action figures came in, was there a chart showing little photos of all the action figures, a chart split down the middle between the “Good Guy” and “Bad Guy” sets of characters? Please tell me, Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt (His last name is Nyunt. Alternate joke: the name’s Khin Nyunt, but my friends call me Khunt.), I’m dying to know.
Visit the Golden Land of Myanmar at www.myanmar.com
Fumble in the Jungle- The Columbian Proletariat’s Revolutionary Struggle with Bra Straps
One last ridiculoso dispatch before I have to go. For years and years, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia), a Marxist rebel army, has been fighting the right-wing paramilitaries and the government in Colombia. Or something like that. I think they even control part of the country. I have to read up on all this. In any case, there’s a part of their website labeled “Fariana Life”- that is, life as a member of the FARC. The only things on this part of the site are links to three essays by a man named Arturo Alape. My favorite essay, parts of which I’d like to reproduce below, is entitled, “Love Beneath the Intimacy of the Mosquito Netting”. Keep in mind that what is being described here is daily life in a band of jungle guerillas that have been locked in a decades-long civil war. It’s almost as if Alape needed to turn in these essays to the FARC leadership at the last minute but never really did any fieldwork, so instead he just watched Woody Allen’s Bananas and faked it:
Then maybe someone will appear as a go-between: \”so-and-so likes you…\” The guerrillero or guerrillera bursts with joy if the note is answered. They seek each other out during games, during calisthenics, during rest time, in the bathroom, on guard. They seek each other out in common places: the dining hall, the news room and the study room. Romance is born in this world of marching, camping, when night is just beginning. \”The process goes like this: I like a compañero, you see? Or he likes me, so you talk to him, hey, I want to be with you, that this, or that…\” Commander Sonia smiled as she explained it to me.
Cries are stifled, you learn how to stifle the passionate outburst of orgasm in complete silence, in the silence of mingled sweat and the pleasure that invites blissful sleep, intertwined.
Guerrilleros with harsh mannerisms, perhaps a bit ordinary, suddenly show up clean-shaven and smelling of deodorant, cologne you can smell from three meters away… The ladies dress up, put on make-up and fix their hair. Then comes the tender embrace, the knowing smile, holding hands. Combatants become sensitive: \”they talk, you see them there with their kisses and their hugs. If they have to work each goes where s/he must. Some people are very shy… we aren\’t so public, we wait until night falls to come together,\” explained Commander Eliana.
And here it is folks, the essay’s bizarre ending, and incidentally, the ending of this article:
We still have the idea that likeness should be like a sore tattoo that will never be removed from a skin always waiting submerged in insomnia and never offering anything.
Visit the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia at www.farcep.org/pagina_ingles