Book Recomendation - Pyongyang


Posted on : 9/24/2012 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

One of the positive aspects of shopping a local store is the ability to see all the things you do not plan on buying.  And then sometimes you do anyways.

We have a great comic book shop in town; Nostalgia, Ink.  They sell comic books, graphic novels, and all sorts of gaming essentials.

On one visit, I happened across "Pyongyang - A Journey in North Korea" by Guy Delisle.  This book tells the story of Mr. Delisle's time in North Korea working as an animator.  I think it is more correct to suggest that he was an animation supervisor as he made sure that the grunts that were doing all the real animation work produced art that was marketable in the west.

Just about every page contains a political or cultural anachronism.  One random example would be when his North Korean minder told him he would have to turn down his jazz as it could have a bad influence on "the others".  Mr. Delisle was working alone in a room with the door shut.

Another passage talks about the curious lack of any handicapped people walking on the city streets.  His minder and his driver cheerfully accept this as appropriate without questioning why how that condition could come to exist.

Mr. Delisle spent a fair portion of his non-working time trying to purposefully be non-subversive.

He also passed a copy of George Orwell's infamous "1984" to his minder.  Apparently, he didn't like science fiction.

As regular readers know, I have a mild interest in politics.  I've read a fair number criticisms of American Presidents that suggest that each in turn is some sort of "Dear Leader"; someone to be followed unquestioningly.  I believe I will find those assertions to be politically tone deaf...if not totally stone the future. 

Read the book to find out why.

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