Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

The Little Leader

The Little Leader

Photograph via Flickr by Dunechaser

The “dear leader” Kim Jong-Il was five feet, three inches tall—too short to stand over most podiums without looking ridiculous. As a result, he always wore platform shoes. He loved food and wine (as well as Hennessy—he was the company’s biggest customer for over 10 years) and drank profusely at state celebrations. But according to a biography that was on the North Korean State website (it’s been taken down), he never pooped.

The citizens of his country starved, so in 2006 he decided to solve this problem by importing giant rabbits from Germany and breeding them to feed the population. Supposedly, he ended up eating the rabbits himself, during a birthday feast, and telling the German breeder Karl Szmolinsky, a small town guy who’d been more than stoked when North Korean officials offered to fly him to their country so he could supervise the rabbit breeding program, that his services were no longer needed the day before he was supposed to make the trip.

Jong-Il was also a serious and artistic man, with a passion for film. He loved it so much that he kidnapped the well-known South Korean actor/director couple Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee and forced them to make North Korean propaganda movies. The couple was trapped making movies in North Korea for eight years (eventually escaping while on a shoot in Vienna). The major fruit of their filmmaking career in NK was Pulgasari, a North Korean version of Godzilla (Kim Jon-Il loved Godzilla) about a monster that gets bigger and bigger by feeding on metal and blood. In order to feed itself, the monster destroys everything around it. The film was supposed to be a metaphor for the destructive nature of capitalism, but kind of sounds like a metaphor for Kim Jon-Il’s rule.


“So Bad It’s Good,” a review of Pulgasari:

North Koreans weeping after Kim Jon-Il’s death:

Propaganda video, young student praising her country. Best line: “Without our country, happiness would not exist.”: