Washington: Late North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Il enjoyed an elaborate personality cult at home but he
was also a favourite of Western popular media, which found him
to be a time-tested source of laughs.
From Hollywood to websites, satirists relished skewering
a leader whose shrill missives to the world, intolerance for
any dissent and bouffant hairstyle made him -- at times
literally -- a cartoon villain.
Kim, who is to receive a massive funeral send-off today,
was spoofed on Fox's MADtv as a talk show host who raps about
his pursuit of nuclear weapons and gleefully shoots petrified
cast members who do not follow his every wish.
Even more incongruously, a website dubbed "Kim Jong-Il
Dropping the Bass" depicts the usually humourless dictator as
a nightclub DJ, ceding the spotlight to revelers as he devotes
himself to the turntables.
Kim's death has immediate consequences for one US show,
NBC's "30 Rock," where a fictional Kim kidnapped a character.
Fans have been asking on social media how the show will adapt.
Margaret Cho, the Korean American actress who has played
Kim on "30 Rock," wrote on her blog that while the role was
obviously comedic, she felt a sense of tragedy when she donned
his trademark jumpsuit.
"My heart broke for a country cut off from the rest of
the world, whose only representative is a crazed megalomaniac
who fancies himself a polymath... who can not only play the
most incredible golf, he also directs films and is half
man-half deity -- also half-size -- as well as being a
full-time dictator," she said.
Perhaps the best-known satire of Kim Jong-Il was in the
2004 movie "Team America: World Police," a biting take on US
foreign policy by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the
popular animated series "South Park."
Kim, in marionette form, feeds UN weapons inspector Hans
Blix to sharks, plots to carry out bombings across the world
and organises a "peace ceremony" led by actor Alec Baldwin.
At one point, Kim wanders sullenly around his palace and
sings a Broadway-style tune called, "I'm So Lonely." He
croons: "I'm the smartest, cleverest, and most physically fit /
But nobody else seems to realise it."
The mockery stands in polar opposite to North Korean
official media, which faithfully reported the strongman's
supposed exploits such as firing 11 holes-in-one in his first
try at golf.
The state media coverage in itself has generated a
following overseas. One blog entitled "Kim Jong-Il Looking at
Things" collects pictures of the leader's inspections of
everything from toilet paper to fruit as he toured the
First Published: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 13:07