North Korea: An Ant Farm, but without the Personality

Kim Jong-il judging North Korean swimsuit competition.

I’m drawn to North Korea in the same way my morbid interests are drawn to the wreckage of a spectacular car crash. As I squeamishly peer through minimally separated fingers at this twisted hulk of a country, I can almost write the accident report myself:

It appears a hereditary Communist personality cult doing about 160 kmh purposely swerved into the High Occupancy Human lane and careened into a swarming mass of faceless people doing absolutely nothing. This collision of irresistible forces and listless masses resulted in a catastrophe of unspeakable ideological carnage, otherwise known as North Korea. Please note: This report to remain confidential pending the notification of next of Kim.

North Korea is not dysfunctional. Lindsay Lohan is dysfunctional. North Korea is a bizarre celebration of national dystrophy. It’s Disneyland in reverse – It’s the unhappiest place on earth. Even though the Korean War scarred the country immeasurably, it’s people are not suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They’re suffering from Current Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s citizens would be convulsing in disbelief had they not been placed in a government-induced coma that shields them from the gravity of their illness. After the war North Korea circled the wagons, hunkered down and guillotined anyone who refused to participate in mass gymnastics events. I mean their three branches of government are Threats, Reprisals and Amputations. North Korea is the worst case of Plan Continuation Bias since New Coke was brought to market.

Virtually everything about this country is pitiable and highlighting it at the expense of a compromised people may not be considered sporting, but I either write this piece and exorcise the demons of human ignorance or I weep eternally. North Korea is simply insane. Their technological advancement is positively  medieval. For example, all leafblowing is now done by mouth and all grass is cut by teeth. And over time these adaptable North Korean ants have developed multiple stomachs well suited to digesting large seed cereal grains.  This is a country that time has forgotten – so has dentistry and oatmeal for that matter. In fact it got so bad that from 1962-65 they actually lost track of the wheel. What a drag that was.

Whereas Albania might be considered a backwards country, North Korea is “Primordial Soup” backwards. Trilobites built better empires. Paramecia have more complex inner worlds. These poor people have no belly buttons for god’s sake. They’re all clones. As one might expect they’re ruled by a malignant Kleptocracy that steals anything worth having (usually defined as lint or better) and pisses away the residue (usually kidney stones) on the grateful masses. That’s North Korea’s version of trickledown economics.

North Korea is so forbidding even Chuck Norris won’t go there. They gotta whole lotta nuthin’ over there. In fact “nuthin” is the only thing that isn’t in short supply. In this smoothie-depleted country, chilled whipped sewage is marketed as Happy Juice Fun Time Drink. It’s so evil. What else can you say about a nation where the zoos are now called restaurants or where famine, pestilence and drought are referred to as Tuesday? This place is as dysfunctional as a Michael Jackson play date (This reference is still relevant because North Koreans haven’t been informed of his death).

North Korea is an ant farm, but without the personality. Even North Koreans can’t tell one from another. They’re like a community of dutiful worker ants but without any work to do. When they cross paths they stop for a moment to exchange vital information by touching each other’s antennae. Only in this way can they triangulate the coordinates of the government’s hidden cache of sugar. The regime recognizes this and has relocated entire communities by chalking a trace of sugar to a new development and letting nature take its course. Hordes of starving North Koreans invariably follow this trail of treacle and in no time a new North Korean ant colony has taken root.

Past is Prologue

In order to fully understand this epic affront to cellular organization, a brief history of the Korean peninsula may be in order. Suffice to say, some Mongol dynasty thought some other Mongol dynasty needed to have their vases smashed. Empires were built and razed. Ron Popeil popularized the Smokeless Ashtray and the Pocket Fisherman. The Boxer Rebellion sets the stage for mass discontent, the next thing you know the fortune cookie is invented and then more vases are smashed. This process continued for many unproductive centuries until the unworkable tenets of Marxism took root in the flinty soil of Northern Korea and before you can say “Workers’ Paradise,” the United Nation’s police action ends at the 38th parallel. In about 20 years CBS has a monster hit on its hands with M*A*S*H. It is interesting to note that M*A*S*H (1972-83) lasted about three times longer than the Korean War (1950-53) itself. I didn’t say it was funny, just interesting.

Perhaps the history of the Korea is a bit more complicated than that, but that didn’t change the psychotic behavior of North Korea’s newly deceased leader Kim Jong-il who refused to travel by airplane because he didn’t trust heavier than air machines. During the “Difficult Period” the “Dear Leader” starved 2 million of his own people just to prove the point that they were self-reliant and could stand up to the malevolent United States. All he had to do was give up his set of Toys-R-Us play rockets and North Korea would’ve been swimming in all the Pringles and Slim Jims they could possibly eat. Their rockets are Weapons of Minimum Destruction and are designed by the Ministry of Pointed Sticks. Nine year olds at Camp Minehune make more advanced missiles.

North Korean portable iPad displayed at Kim Jong-il's funeral.

Such paranoia and reverence surrounded Kim Jong-il that no one dared tell him he was dead. And rather than risk disturbing the Dear Leader from his dirt nap, they let him moulder in bed for 3 days. Some thought he was just pulling a Franco. Kim Jong-il’s funeral was carried off with conspicuous brilliance; if it was a US car show showcasing Detroit land yachts of the mid-70s. And the reins of idiocy were handed to the small chubby hands of his son, Kim Jong-un (literally: One whose pupils do not dilate).

We must contend with a North Korean regime so demented that cannibalism hasn’t been so much sanctioned as much as it’s been decriminalized. North Koreans were not at all surprised by that “Twilight Zone” when it is discovered the aliens’ book “To Serve Man” was actually a cookbook. I mean the dogs disappeared years ago and cockroaches are now referred to as cattle. They don’t even have Hamburger Helper in North Korea. They just sell “Helper.” 

I’m not the only one with peculiar interest in this Ant Farm by the Kamchatkan Peninsula. The CIA has expended considerable resources in determining that North Korea is the mother of all basket cases. In excerpts from documents I obtained extralegally from Julian Assange, I hope to shed more light on the inner workings of this Stalinist Nightmare. I’m now releasing 4 documents whose contents cement North Korea reputation as a gateway depressant:

  1.    A CIA White Paper describing the level of North Korea’s sophistication.
  2.    A report from a CIA mole who, at considerable risk, ferrets out non-actionable and useless information about “The Little Country that  didn’t.”
  3.    A testimonial by a college professor who continues to live there more out of a state of disbelief than anything else.
  4.   Finally I present a comedy routine and commentary smuggled out from Johnny Yune Jr.  set at North Korea’s only Comedy Club: “No Laughing Matter.”

 In the end I summarize my findings into something I call a conclusion.


Document 1 – A CIA Overview


Quick Facts:

Religion:  Autism

Size: North Korea is about the size of your worst nightmare

Average Temperature: Unknown. All the thermometers have been eaten

Population: 1. Divided into 22 million indistinguishable citizens named Kim

Language: North Koreans  speak no language. They communicate through the interaction of their antennae

Primary Food Source: The Earth’s crust

Most Surprising Retirees: Both “The Knack” and “The Bay City Rollers” have retired to North Korea where they continue to live comfortably off their generous record royalties.

Person most North Koreans would like to be shipwrecked with on a desolate island: Helen Keller

Chief Exports: Paranoia, Borax

Chief Import: Meteorological Conditions (It’s all they can afford)

Most Common National Handicap: Inability to pour piss out of a boot even when the directions are written on the heel

Largest Employer: The “Military.” Must have own weapon and the ability to remain expressionless for 45 years.

Organ Donations: Voluntary if you have one, but mandatory if you have two

Gross Domestic Product: It’s true. All their domestic products are gross.

Monetary Unit: The Dingleberry

Largest State: Catatonia

Most Purposeless National Practice: All sheets are monogrammed with “Kim”

Most Purposeless National Practice II: The Bureau of Heavy Industry earns hard currency by storing and exporting Daylight Savings Time for countries that are too busy to save it for themselves

Inexplicable National Mania: They believe they’re all related to Kim Kardashian.


Document 2 – The Mole’s Report

Top Secret: Eyes Only Report to the Director of the CIA

By Randall Viceroy (of the Southampton Viceroys) under deep cover in North Korea using the alias Sum Fun Soon:

Dear Mr. Director,

Conclusion: If you don’t read another thing, read this – North Korea is a house of cards waiting to be knocked over by a stiff breeze or some slippery pudding. Words fail me as I try to describe the creepy cartoonish atmosphere that pervades everything here in this nation of ciphers. It is clear that if Extra-Terrestrials visited Earth and examined the innumerable facets of earthly expression, their report would begin thusly: “What’s up with that North Korean regime? It’s like these people are from another planet or something.”

 The Impossible Missions Force (the other IMF) and I have managed to infiltrate the North Korean Bureau of Travel & Tourism and have befriended its secretary named No Fun Yet. Like all assembly line comrades he carries pictures of Chairman Mao and he ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow. With his famine-deluded insights, No Fun Yet helped me (Sum Fun Soon) prepare this report. This was one of one of our more lucid conversations:

Sum Fun Soon: Are we having fun yet?

No Fun Yet: No fun yet.

Sum Fun Soon: Some fun soon?

No Fun Yet: No fun yet.

Without question North Korea is a country of patriotic Freedom Fighters. That is, they stand shoulder-to-shoulder fighting freedom with all their might. Their war college teaches advanced battlefield strategies such as vase smashing and how to make a tree trunk look like a 30mm cannon. Potential adversaries should note they’ve not lost a single catapult battle to date and their cavalry would prove most effective if they stopped slaughtering the horses for food. Jousting, however, is where they really shine. There are plans to scrap their embryonic Tonka Toy nuclear rocket program and channel those misplaced resources into building a long curved lance for threatening the West Coast of the United States.

There are chronic shortages of everything in North Korea. The only things there are no shortages of are shortages. For example, their pancake restaurant is called “The International House of Nothing.” No one complains about lines at the DMV because they have no motorized vehicles. In North Korea a 2 horsepower vehicle means two horses power it. And they never stress about Microsoft updates or if their health care provider covers preexisting conditions. That’s because an abacus doesn’t require Microsoft updates and health care is defined as anything that responds favorably to air. NK is a lot like living on Mars, but without the creature comforts.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. In its own queer way the government displays its Stone Age paternalism. For example, on National Nutrition Day citizens may gorge themselves on all the state-provided pumice they can eat. During the “Difficult Period” food rations were cut in half and that meant 1 pebble per day instead of 2. Even the hot stone soup is lukewarm. The grocery stores have long since closed, but the nostalgic can visit “The People’s Museum of Food We Remember Eating.” To glorify the worker, the government called for a national day of fasting which began on September 6th 1967 and ended January 5th 1991. Some citizens have learned to swim open-mouthed to supplement their diet with schools of krill and plankton. Tourists however can order take-out BBQ from Mongolia and there are also several Manchurian candidates for take-out. Egalitarian starvation is not so much a societal plague as it is a collective goal.

North Korea is not without it’s political factions (I know, I should’ve said, “North Korea has political factions” instead of the double negative “not without political factions.” I hope that’s not inconsiderate). In Northern North Korea, in the State of Paranoia, the people are more liberal and generally vote for the death penalty by firing squad. However in Southern North Korea, in the red state of Hysteria, they’re naturally more conservative and favor the death penalty by guillotine. This “culture of death” pervades all aspects of North Korean life. In 1998 the Ministry of Health proudly announced the infant mortality rate had reached zero, but that was only because no infants were born in 1998. It’s sad really. North Korea has no word for “wet spot” and no need for cum towels. They’re so malnourished no one has reached puberty since 1989. Procreation is achieved with a communal turkey baster at the People’s Ministry of Ant Colonies.

In Pyongyang, the Minister of Enigmas told me of his country’s two greatest regrets; “Well first of all our Secret Police are so secretive no one knows who they are and secondly, if only Jane Fonda had visited North Korea instead of Hanoi, North Vietnam, today she’d be known as ‘Pyongyang Jane’. Try saying that 3 times fast.” To celebrate the rediscovery of the wheel in 1965, all taxes were removed on exhaling although inhaling still costs half a dingleberry.

Mr. Director, I promise you this: if you send me enough oatmeal or sorghum, I’ll topple this regime and have them embracing South Korea like East Germany embraced West Germany. They’ll fall into each other’s arms faster than Siegfried and Roy. That is a fresh reference since North Koreans believe they’re still performing at the Mirage and have not been replaced by the Beatles “Love.” In my next report I’ll focus less on North Korea’s achievements and more on her failures. Until then, please send anything edible – even wrappers with residue on them.

Your Faithful Mole,

Randall Viceroy (of the Southampton Viceroys)


Document 3 – Sending out an SOS – a message found floating in a bottle in the Sea of Japan

To Whom it May Concern,

My name is Sumthing Sumthing Kim. I come from the Kim clan, which means I am related to everyone in North Korea. I teach Advanced Oppression at the North Korean University of Uniview. To distract myself from gnawing hunger, I often visit “The People’s Museum of Food We Remember Eating.” The museum mocks me with its plasticized sushi and terra cotta chickens. It may mock me but I eat it anyway. Polymers and clay now form the base of my Food Pyramid.

Be forewarned before visiting North Korea that although the Bureau of Travel and Tourism promises to treat tourists like royalty, that’s not necessarily a good thing. The last royalty we had here was overthrown and later discovered in 37 separate Ming Dynasty vases. If you do arrive at the airport (no small feat in itself with its Flintstone pterodactyl airplanes), you will be showered with dandelion garlands and a “Tourist Happy Packet” that includes a toothpick, a picture of Chairman Mao and a map that only approximates the location of our vital ant colonies. You’ll then be whisked by air-conditioned rickshaw to either Kim’s Bed & Breakfast or Kim’s Bed & Breakfast, where in the morning your straw bed becomes your breakfast.

As you tour the Capitol City of Pyongyang (pronounced Bum-f*k). You will stroll down the wide desolate boulevards of Karl Marx Prospect and gaze dreamily at the many UV-faded billboards exhorting the faceless masses to remain featureless. Shopkeepers, whose tear-stained cheeks underscore years of chronic depression, will desperately take your hand and say, “Please shoot me. Shoot me now. I’d shoot myself, but we ate the ammunition.”

The first stop on your North Korean odyssey might be one of our many mineral stores to purchase some keepsake rubble. After passing three Starbuckyangs, a McKim’s and two more mineral stores you might come upon the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” Although he is unknown, we’re pretty sure his name was Kim. Since we’ve run out of flowers in North Korea, it is now considered patriotic to simply spit on the grave. Homeland Insecurity can answer any questions you may have. They’re just a blow dart away.

While it’s true we no longer exile dissidents because being anywhere in North Korea is hardship enough, there is a stratum of luxury open only to hard currency tourists called “Serfs Up.” For 45¢ (American) or 9 X 109999 North Korean Dingleberrys, it offers an extravaganza of creature comforts far beyond what ordinary North Koreans will ever experience and similar to what 16th century serfs experienced in Czarist Russia. Imagine your own dirt-floored hovel, where someone named Kim will provide nightly turn down service as well as thoughtfully placing an unflavored boulder on your bed of straw. Lost your traveler’s checks? No problem. You can work it off in the fields until your replacement checks arrive. (Note: Postal Service to begin just as soon as we stop eating the horses.)

If you like Afghanistan, you’ll love North Korea. Our bomb craters and land mines are much more historic than theirs. Whereas their rubble is chunky and immature our rubble possesses the kind of polish and sophistication found only after years of repression under a brutal regime. Unlike Afghanistan we’re 100% Taliban free – never had’em, never will. North Korea is autism done right.

We know there is considerable wealth in China where we suspect they have actual pots to pee in. North Koreans don’t even have pee. The state confiscated it years ago. The government said it distracted us from starving. So as the flickering light of my once luminous country is extinguished, I write this missive and cast it into the sea in hopes the world will know what went on in this Orwellian Monument to Dysphoria.

There are a few glimmers of hope however. North Korea and the United States agree on one thing. We’re both furious with Hewlett-Packard for selling us reasonably priced printers, but then gouging us $40 a piece for the stupid ink cartridges. Carly Fiorina lied to us. Oh sure the printers were cheap enough, but who can afford these cartridges. It’s a good thing we ran out of paper or we’d have gone bankrupt trying to buy these damn ink cartridges. I’m glad she got canned and lost her senate attempt.

As you can tell by this rambling rant, I’m just not getting enough nourishment. What else can you say about a country where mildew is classified as a condiment? Well enough about the good stuff. In my next report I’ll focus less on our achievements and more on our failures. Until then, please send anything edible.

So Cold, So Very Very Cold,

Sumthing Sumthing Kim


Document 4 – Comedy stylings of Johnny Yune Jr.  Smuggled from backstage at “No Laughing Matter.” 

Good evening radies and gentlemen. Welcome to the show. How many people here tonight are from North Korea? Everyone? Okay. How many people here tonight are named Kim? Everyone again huh? And finally, how many people are hungry? You all are. I thought so. Bartender – a round of pumice for everyone. Remember there’s a two-stone minimum and hey don’t forget to tip your oppressors, they work awfully hard tormenting you.  

You know all North Koreans consider themselves reeducated narcissists. They were all born with the taint of original ego, but the Bureau of Health, Education and Tyranny has removed this curse of personal identity and set us on a singular course for Uniview. For example, there is only one social security number for the entire nation and the Bureau has kept its promise of cradle to grave oppression. One area of commonality between the United States and North Korea is that both of our Social Security systems are bankrupt. Seniors are now paid in greatly depreciated currency and in North Korea they’re not paid very much either. (Wait for laughter here. If no laughter, order another round of pumice.)

In frantic efforts to stamp out narcissism, the Communist Party has thoughtfully seized most mirrors and placed spies inside the remaining six to check for gazers. They have a warning for all you narcissists out there – “Watch yourself.”

Our “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il has recently passed on to the “Great Quarry” in the sky. His son Kim Jong-un is now in power and his immense responsibilities are immense. Under his wise management our cobblestone shortage has not so much been eliminated as it has been greatly eased. He lovingly oversees the refrigerated corpse of his grandfather, Kim Very-ill, at the Cemetery of Mandatory Attendance in Changyon. It is said all of North Korea sprang from his rib. His mother, Kim Chi, is fittingly entombed in a small clay pot and buried in a shallow grave beside Kim Very-ill. The Cemetery of Mandatory Attendance is literally a “must see,” prompting children to say, “You mean we have to spend every Sunday here?” Avoiding it or having any thoughts of your own may result in prison time. Of course these days they’ve closed all the prisons or more accurately, opened all the prisons because just being anywhere in North Korea is like doing time.



Kim Jong-un playing Politburo Patty Cake.

Without Kim Jong-un’s divine oversight, the country’s 25-watt dung-burning electrical plant would break down and in no time his grandfather’s refrigerated corpse would become unusually puckered. This actually happened during one dung-out last summer. The People’s Power Plant barely produced enough electricity to keep Kim Jong-il’s numerous marital aids running 24/7. A small portion of the power is directed so citizens may watch state-selected M*A*S*H reruns – usually the episode where Hawkeye calls MacArthur an ignoramus.

North Korea has been called everything from a dirty, poorly lit place for books to Pol Pot’s Sleep-away camp. North Koreans however, are not paranoid. In fact, we are anti-paranoid. We believe everyone is trying to ignore us. If we weren’t ignored we wouldn’t have to direct six months worth of GDP into the crude dung-powered missiles we lob into the Sea of Japan occasionally. I know I shouldn’t say that. Maybe it’s just the pumice talking.

So this guy, an Asian guy, has been drinking all night at a bar. He knows he can’t drive home by himself so he says, “Hey bartender, will you call me a rickshaw?” The bartender looks him up and down and says, “Alright. You’re a rickshaw.” (Wait for laughter here. If no laughter, order a round of silt.)

I know how hard it is to do everything in the dark these days. It’s really too bad the Bureau of Heavy Industry exported all our daylight savings time to Trinidad. Talk about a country operating in the dark. We’ve got nightlife 24/7. North Korea is the place to be now – if you’re an owl.

I’m hopeful about our country’s future because North Korea has lightened up considerably in an effort to bridge the “fun” gap. Some say this is a bridge too far, but laughing is now only a misdemeanor and surprisingly North Korea’s Disneyland is doing better than EuroDisney. Most organ donations are now voluntary and remarkably the employment rate and unemployment rate both remain at zero. We’ve changed our ways and welcome your visit with open arms and fixed bayonets. Come join our never ending Communist Party. The New North Korea: It’s like a Gulag in your Pants. This was a Civil War the South Should Have Won. (Wait for laughter here. If no laughter, order a round of river rock nachos without cheese.)

Thanks for coming out everybody. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. 

In my next set I’ll focus less on North Korea’s achievements and more on her failures. Until then, I’ve a tip for our oppressors – Don’t go into show business.


Quinn Martin’s Epilogue

Four documents doth not a country make, but it serves to highlight what can happen when the ship of state drinks straight from the bilge pump. I have not flushed the infernal cretinism of North Korea out of my system yet, but I believe there is a sliver of hope for North Korea. Hope may initially take the form of bumper crops of parsnips and kale, but I think in time this hope will mature to include Ziploc bags and maybe radio stations that play something besides the National Anthem.  As I reflect on God’s Little Ant Farm by the Kamchatkan Peninsula I recall what former North Korean dissident/visionary LL Cool Kim so poignantly penned just before he “disappeared:”


Yo, my shining country, on a peninsula

No, longer glows, it’s far too insular

Yo, In Iraq they eat hummus

No, in North Korea we’re fed pumice

But with luck, my country a rebirth

WTF, for now it’s Hell on Earth


In my next poem I’ll focus less on North Korea’s achievements and more on its failures. Until then, please send anything chewable.

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