The Chinese People’s Daily suffered global sniggers last week when it reported that North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un had been named the “Sexiest Man Alive for the Year 2012″, apparently unaware that the source material, The Onion, is satire.
They weren’t the first. Earlier this year the Iranian state news agency ripped off a nonsense Onion yarn about Obama, while a Tumblr site collects the numerous examples of people getting duped by the satirists on social media.
In any case, you can forgive the People’s Daily confusion – news out of Pyongyang itself is very often the stuff of absurdism.
One example from last week’s collection of enthusiasms about government on the Korean Central News Agency site is headlined “New Book Off Press”.
As any regular KCNA reader knows, a new book almost invariably means a new hagiography of one of the Kims. In this case, “Son of Mt Paektu (Part 4) … comprehensively deals with the undying feats leader Kim Jong Il performed before the party and the revolution, the country and its people.”
The second of three chapters is described like this: “’Taking Helm of New Century’ contains sections captioned ‘Turning the Axis of Our Planet’, ‘What Is Eternal Life? (2)’, ‘Songun Is What Keeps Us Alive’, ‘Let’s Build Economic Power by Ourselves’ and ‘Our General’.”
The full summary: “This chapter deals with the historic facts that he threw the enemies into hot water by hitting them hard from early in January of the first year of the new century and showed great benevolence for the women of the country on the international Women’s Day, March 8.”