Kim Jong Il’s death has not satisfied my insatiable hunger for sex, money, or happiness. The natural human frenzy to persist past our excretions has finally been laid to rest with the Great Leader.
Wait a second, how did you know this? I thought you don’t read news!
Well, I learned about it at 3 in the morning on the way to CNBC yesterday so I figured they would talk about it. There was no other news in the world (Europe is boring already). Everybody needs to go delirious with fear on this news. The media feeds us either dreams or nightmares. In between is waking up time. No need to wake! Go back to sleep. Let Kim Jong Il’s ghost tuck you in. You can dream about his shapely thighs. Shhh.
Then I also read about it on twitter. Someone tweeted, “I blame @jaltucher that I didn’t even know Kim Jong Il was sick.” Presumably because I recommend a total news diet. It was clearly very important to that person that not only he knew that Kim was dead but also, due to the massive preparations involved in Kim’s funeral (have to get a visa, have to get packed, make plane reservations, what hotel has a five star restaurant in Pyong?) my twitter friend should’ve known that he was sick and it was all my fault.
Here’s some good reasons for having a news diet. Kim (Jong Il, not Kardashian) was all the rage yesterday. Not because of a leaked sex tape but because he was dead. So here’s what you can do to determine if this was meaningful to learn:
A) Did it affect your life personally? For instance, did you feel the urge to send a condolence card to his family. Did you feel sad about all the times you and Kim Jong Il spent together and now you would have none of those times ever again. He would now be just a ghost from your past. Tonight, will Kim Jong Il kiss me goodbye in my dreams?
B) Did it affect your business at all. For instance, will you have less sales to North Korea today because Kim was dead.
C) A year from now, will the consequences of his death be meaningful to you? Kim Jong un (the “Great Successor”) might drop a nuclear bomb somewhere but this is extremely doubtful. His father was a raving lunatic and still didn’t drop any nuclear bombs. So changes are Kim Jong Fun won’t either. Now that Kim Jong un is around, has a little bit of the music inside of us died? Kim Jong il was the chef in the kitchen of love. And all his vices were spicy peppers sprinkled on our news reports for years. Will the news now become more tasteless?
D) Is the world a little sadder because Kim Jong Il is dead? The grave has opened up for him. It’s a sharp reminder (rare is it that one of the seven billion of us dies) that that grave waits for us also. He was a tyrant but no more tyrannical than my own brain which keeps me awake at night with its anxieties, its fears about money or love or sex or health. When will someone kill the worries in my brain and if that happens, will anyone care but me?
So why do you care whether he’s dead or not? How many minutes did his death take up today? Or what the articles say about his successor? Will they make you happier? Are you stressed out now that you know Kim is dead? Would you be happy if North Korea and South Korea unify? Assuming you’re not from either area, why would you be happy enough that you need to read all the news about it TODAY.
Well, will it affect your stock portfolio? Will Microsoft sell more Windows? Will McDonalds sell more hamburgers? They might. North Korea is starving. Those North Koreans need as many McRib sandwiches as they can get. But chances are it won’t make a dent on McDonald’s shares. Claudia owns stock in Disney. Chances are Disney North Korea isn’t opening up anytime soon.
So why was he in the news then? It must be important if it’s in the news:
A) The word mentioned in every article was “uncertainty”. Many things were uncertain. There was this goofy picture of his son who is now going to rule the poorest country on the planet. I noticed the son went to school in Switzerland but none of the brilliant reporters thought to talk to his teachers or colleagues there or look at his grade transcripts. The one piece of information we could’ve actually tracked down about him.
B) Maybe there will be nuclear war? Oh no! A country which may or may not have nuclear weapons has a new leader who went to school in the west. He’s got his finger on a button and maybe he will press it.
C) Maybe something bad will happen to South Korea or China?
What we know is, one hour of fear broadcasted on the news takes at least a month to recover. It’s all so confusing. It’s UNCERTAIN. And “uncertainty” is news.
I know few things this moment, purely experientially. I’m sipping my coffee. Outside it’s a bit chillier than normal. Today I have therapy. My therapist and I are going to try our first Skype session because I didn’t feel like going into the city. Here’s the drag about therapy. I have to come up with things wrong with me. I have to pretend to believe in the future. I have to grope with the shadows of the past. Else there’s nothing to talk about.
And unlike having a cold where you go to the doctor once and get cured, you go to the therapist every week. Maybe today I’ll talk about Kim Jong il. A tissue being used today in the news to wipe a filthy world. We all had an impotent hatred towards him to mask over the hatreds we have for the people sitting right next to us.
I know one thing about today: I haven’t changed my socks in about six days. Philosophizing about that or Kim Jong Il’s death propels me into the land of make-believe. A what-if world of BK (Before Kim) and AK. But most likely, things will stay exactly the same, and I’ll wake up from this dream and immediately enter another. A dream without Kim Jong il. The youth of my life, filled with news images of Kim Jong Il and his brutality and fears of nuclear war and his mystery, has now ended and I reach out to the ends of the earth to say a final goodbye to him. Now, suddenly, it seems as if everything I have ever wanted in life has become possible.