Boy, North Korea sure is a wacky place, right? It feels like every month or so, we learn some hilarious new thing about those crazy Kims and their whimsically brutal policies. Like this!
Should be a pretty easy law to enforce.
It's been trending on social media for the last few days, and soon it'll fade out of the limelight and into your brain's general "Facts about North Korea" file. Like the story about how Kim Jong-un executed his uncle with a pack of dogs:
Bad dogs. BAD DOGS!
Only that's not true. It turns out the "report" the story originated from was a satirical post on a Chinese social media website. I know, I was surprised China lets people have social media accounts too.And this story about Kim Jong-un forcing everyone to copy his hairdo?
Why would you even need to be forced? That guy has great hair.
Actual journalists have puzzled out that it's roughly 90 percent BS. Certain haircuts are prohibited in North Korea (and if I'm being completely honest, there are more than a few that should be prohibited here), but the whole country isn't being forced to copy their leader's 'do. The original article cited by outlets like The Daily Mail and Maxim ...
If we can't trust Maxim to deliver the news, then who?
... was the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo. The English translation of that article notes that short hair was mandated for men in the capitol only, partly to mimic Kim Jong-un, but also to get their hair ready for a giant upcoming festival. But skimming The Daily Mail or Maxim articles will leave you reading a completely different story:
This article by Radio Free Asia makes it clear that the hairdo laws are probably even narrower, likely only really effecting university students. RFA, by the way, is the origin of the "Kim Jong-un Bans Sarcasm" story. But you'll notice their title is much less "clickable":
Not even so much as a "You Won't Believe What Happened Next" at the end.
Radio Free Asia winds up being an origin point for many of these "wacky North Korea" stories. And you might get all conspiracy-minded about the fact that they're funded by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a U.S. government agency. But RFA doesn't even have to report on anything inaccurate to generate bullshit headlines in mainstream sources. If you actually read the article, it's clear that the "ban" was just people being warned not to make jokes disparaging the Great Leader:
Sarcasm only came up because the joke of the day slowly meming its way through North Korean society involved saying "This is all America's fault" ironically when something went wrong. The government didn't ban sarcasm. It did what North Korea has always done: threaten to punish people for making fun of the Kim in charge.
But here's how popular British tabloid The Sun translated this:
The rare headline that makes less sense the more times you read it.
And then an army of other daily news sites followed suit, some adding to the legend with details completely absent from the original article:
Meanwhile, here's the only use of any form of the word "ironic" in the RFA article:
Once again, you've got a completely standard dictatorship behavior -- crushing all criticism with an iron fist -- turned into another hilarious article about the Kim family's long tradition of loopy decrees. We'd rather read that than "Totalitarian State Does What It Always Does" or "So What Are We Gonna Do About Those Nukes They Keep Firing?"
Robert Evans has a book! You can buy A Brief History Of Vice right now!
See how both Koreas are in a ridiculous arms race in 6 Hilarious Tactics North And South Korea Are Using To Fight, and get the inside perspective from a North Korean citizen in 5 Ways Growing Up in North Korea Is Crazier Than You Think.
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By now you're probably aware of the arrest of Robert Durst, the millionaire accused of multiple homicides dating back to the 1970s, who until recently was walking around a free man. And even though the American judicial system prides itself on that "presumption of innocence until proven guilty" spiel, Durst seems oddly eager to give the prosecution the option to spend his entire trial blackout drunk and not wearing pants.
The above confession comes from the finale of The Jinx, an HBO documentary series about Durst directed by fellow super-rich guy (and Felicity theme song co-writer, seriously!) Andrew Jarecki. And if we're to tease out their relationship, Durst seems to be Mr. Burns, whereas Jarecki falls into the role Mr. Smithers. Why do we say that? Well, Durst has a penchant for the the kind of cartoonish evil of somebody who lives in an impenetrable force field made of dollar bills, whereas the documentarian Jarecki has been noted for his extreme closeness to his subject. Which perhaps explains why the following anecdotes didn't make the cut ...
#4. Durst's Many Ridiculous Fake Companies
Remember Vandelay Industries, George Costanza's go-to fictional employer on Seinfeld? Apparently, fake business names are big with the wife-murdering crowd. According to an author researching Durst, the millionaire maintained a ton of pseudonymous identities and launched several dummy entities -- which wouldn't necessarily be news, except he gave them goofy asshole names like "WoofWoof LLC" and "Woofing LLC." Knowing this is like watching the boogeyman traipse out of your closet and noticing that he's wearing Crocs.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"What about the logos?"
"Eh, just flip the McDonald's one upside down, whatever. I don't give a fuck."
Between the films and novels and comic books and the commemorative Burger King cups and that crappy 1997 fighting game in which an unarmed Han Solo was able to fist-fight Darth Vader and win, Star Wars is maybe the biggest fictional universe ever devised. (Discounting unofficial fan fiction -- otherwise the Bible or Home Improvement would probably take the cake.)
He then wins the dance off to save Lando's rec center too.
Anybody looking forward to seeing a classically lighthearted version of Marvel's first family had their dreams swiftly clobbered with the premiere of the new trailer for Fantastic Four. According to director Josh Trank, this film is going to be "hard sci-fi" (think Blade Runner, The Twilight Zone, or Black Mirror -- science fiction that explores a controversial area of science and/or technology to a grim extreme). The director even went as far as claiming this second reboot of a Silver Age comic franchise involving a rock monster and a man who can stretch his arms out really far will be "Cronenbergian" in its grittiness -- implying that Fantastic Four will explore the consequences of Jeff Goldblum dabbling with body horror science.
20th Century Fox
They'll need a much larger jar when Reed's dick falls off.