Kim Jong il – the Chef of Love


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!

(85% of his people survived from food in the past 20 years)

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.

(tonight, a country quietly pays its respects)

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?

(his friends at school say, "he was always the life of the party. Until he shot someone")

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.


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  • karen parmelee

    I’m somewhat surprised you feel that way. The North Koreans have been denied and repressed and are now free to explore their own potential, which has a greater likely hood of benefiting humanity. Missed your CNBC segment – what was your on-camera opinion?

    • jaltucher

      I’m not saying he was good for North Korea. I’m saying its 50-50 whether or not things get better or worse there. We just dont know. Hence its all speculation and so i don’t have an opinion on it. It might get significantly worse there. But I hope it gets better. 

      • Richard Penney

        I think the Who said it well “Meet the new boss…same as the old boss.”

        I wrote a post one time called “The problematic nature of career politicians” – –   It hits on this type of thing. 

        Politics is poison.

  • karen parmelee

    I would stop short of rejoicing, just feeling the relief from an oppressive force in the world. He wasn’t murdered, he died a natural death. God controls that, and it is meant to be.

  • Anthony


    I am with you mate 100%. In the news all I hear is how people starved under his rule and yet here in 1st world England 20,000 old people will die because of the cold this winter as they cannot afford to heat their homes. As far as I am concerned heat, water, shelter and food are all basics. A society that doesnt provide these cannot look down on any other. This guy is an A***hole because his people starved and yet today the US is lobbying China not to send food aid in order to gain a political advantage!

    Another thing that I saw yesterday was the various networks saying that the emotional outpouring was all staged. When the Queen mother died there was the same crowd gathering and crying. Whats the difference between royalty and a dictator?

    The human race never has had and never will have an age of enlightenment.


  • Matt Wagner

    It mattered to me, since I live in Seoul and we’re on Defcon Level 137 today. That aside, there is the hope that a million people won’t starve under the new regime. That would make me pretty happy. I think it’s great when people don’t starve to death. Like you said though it’s uncertain.

  • brian thomson

    It won’t affect my business, but I bet there are a few companies in the Cognac region of France who need to re-jig their sales figures … I hope Kim Jong-Il gave most of it away – no human could drink that much Cognac, not even the special Hennessy or Martell that costs $600 a bottle.

  • Jay Zalowitz

    I cant wait till we go to war with Korea, I really hope I get to run into Alan Alda, he’s funny.

  • Jerôme

    So, let me get this straight .. You think that he’s been a good leader? If you mean it as you were writing it … I’m unsubbing you. You don’t know the political at all then.

    • jaltucher


      • jaltucher

        But if I was unclear, I have only my poor writing to blame. 

    • mcudmore

       I’m not sure what article you read….

  • Tracy Lovett

    I am in awe of the fact you were on CNBC with 6 day old socks on your feet.  Rock on, James.  That is PERFECT.

  • Anonymous

    You should change your socks. Clean socks are great!

  • Feng

    I’ve always been skeptical about seeing therapist. Does your therapist do daily practice?

    I’m just thinking you have to be some super experienced and happy therapist to work for James Fucking Altucher. Happiness is his only goal.

    And not changing socks for a week is just universally wrong, dude, I hope that’s a joke.

  • Brooke Farmer

    As a matter of fact, I *am* really sad about all the times Kim and I spent together.

    I spent a good amount of time studying North Korea and the particular dilemmas they created for our country during my undergrad. It was interesting and I loved those classes.

    And honestly, for all this uncertainty the news keeps mentioning, I am left wondering were things really any less uncertain yesterday? Before his death we knew for sure we were dealing with a nut job in N. Korea. Nut jobs are, by definition, uncertain. Today we are waiting to see whether the “Great Successor” is crazy too. As far as I’m concerned, given the possibility that this western educated new leader might NOT be insane, leaves us in a somewhat less precarious position for the moment.

  • Colleen

    I simply dig it when you mock the idiocies of our culture. 

    People obsess over the news for want of their own vision, purpose or passion.  Getting worked up over other people’s business is just another ‘opiate of the masses.’Better to apply that time and energy towards living your own life well.

    • TheAcsMan

      In that case, be on the lookout for American Colonic

  • TheAcsMan

    I used to be a news junkie, but The Daily Show has proven a more than satisfactory replacement, although I am incessantly tuned into CNBC (but not at 5:30 AM. Sorry)

    The one bit of news that I can’t do without is the New York Times Obituary pages. Although I can’t answer any of your first three means test questions in the affirmative when I read about those passings, the 4th “Is the world a little sadder…?” is one that always strikes me.

    It’s amazing at how many relatively unsung, but incredibly accomplished (yet selfless) people there are. Somehow, their publicists could do nothing to help them, short of arranging for their deaths and then  alerting news services of their death.

    I’ve become convinced that people fall into just two categores: Entirely mediocre or spectacular. It just seems that the entirely mediocre are much better at getting attention and inflating their importance

    We should all strive for mediocrity.

  • Laura Fitton

    well, hey, as Shawn Colvin once sang “at least you got a song out of it”

  • EntrepreneursKorner

    People need to stop taking your rules so seriously. They should continue doing whatever they want, just take your opinion into consideration. 


  • Priscilla Paredes Wood

    That was EXACTLY the first thing I thought when I read the subject line, how does he know Kim Jong il is dead? Question answered.
    Uncertainty: There’s a saying in Spanish, it goes like this:Mas vale malo conocido que bueno por conocer.Better the devil you know that the devil you don’t.  

    • jaltucher

      I’m going to have to remember that saying in the original Spanish.

  • Dowdog1

    “The natural human frenzy to persist past our excretions…” I love the way this sounds but don’t really get it.  Is this a definition of life that you just coined?  In death I have heard that the tendency of the human body is to excrete past ones persistence.

  • Redkat

    I saw you on CNBC James, you were grilled a bit about Europe, we Europeans are a little senstive about Europe! You came across well just a tad blase and rampingly bullish, are the markets going up a prerequisite to your happiness, why do you care anyway?

  • Mark Carson

    OK James, here is something related to North Korea that involves one of your hot buttons. As you said, what would you care if North and South Korea unified? Well, then the 60 year U.S. Military presence in Korea can be reduced or eliminated. And no, your daughters won’t be drafted into anyone’s army. But this should make you happier just thinking about the reduced (fantasy) possibility.


  • Poet man

    I felt the same way as you when Ho Chi Minh kicked the bucket.
    I also felt the same way as you when Mao Tse Tung kicked the bucket.  I felt the same way as you when Khomeini kicked the bucket.
    I felt the same way as you when Ceausescu kicked the bucket. 
    I felt the same way as you when Idi Amin kicked the bucket.
    I felt the same way as you when Saddam Hussein was strung up and kicked the bucket.
    I felt the same way as you when Pol Pot kicked the bucket.
    I felt good when Arafat kicked the bucket.
    I felt really great when Osama Bin Laden was taken out and kicked the bucket.
    I’m sure I’ll feel great when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kicks the bucket.
    Castro too, it will be nice to see him finally smoke his last cigar.

    I certainly believe the Earth is much better without them and their ilk as their atoms are redistributed across the winds and oceans.

  • web promo

    It’s good to see this information in your post, i was looking the same but there was not any proper resource.

  • BrianBalk

    The most time I spent thinking about Kim Jong Il was reading your article, James.  Could have just said “He died.  So?”  Oh well; slow day for news and philosophy both.  Your blog is still one of my favorite things to read.

  • Richard Penney

    This caption is great… (his friends at school say, “he was always the life of the party. Until he shot someone”)