In Memoriam, Part One: Kim Jong Il — Pop Culture Figure

I have spent a good portion of my adult life indulging a kind of ironic obsession with Kim Jong Il. It was a preoccupation that went beyond the normal Western enjoyment of his large glasses, weird outfits, and unique ability to stare quizzically at things. I read books. I pored over New York Times articles. I guess I was just fascinated by how someone that bizarre could hold sway over a nation for that long.

But that’s not even honest. The honest truth is that I have always felt strong compassion for the man. Why? I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA. You’re not supposed to feel empathy for psychotic despots you don’t know personally. Plus, he and I had nothing in common. I would never starve my people. I would never hold nations hostage with erratic nuclear threats. Shit, I wouldn’t even order a cognac, let alone spend $700,000 a year having it smuggled to me.

But my Google avatar since 2005 does not lie. It is a picture of my main man Kim, and it speaks to a weird sense of kinship. Will this inappropriate feeling of goodwill for a terrible stranger pass to his goofy, butterball son Kim Jong Un? Only time will tell. He has to show me something.

But for now, I’m left with a wistful feeling that my time with the Dear Leader in my life was too short. He’s gone, and I’m still here. So ronery.

Filed Under: Dead People