I meant to write about the second link initially, which is an article I read earlier today. When looking for it on my computer later, I found the first link which isn’t the same article but provides more context. It’s actually much more “journalistic” and worth reading than the second. The second is just funny.
I’ve heard a bit about Yeonmi Park through the limited media channels I consume. Jordan Peterson interviewed her a couple weeks ago; a few friends have read her book (not an affiliate link). I hadn’t yet gotten around to reading it myself (or, more accurately, buying the book and putting it in my closet). In a later interview with Bari Weiss, Peterson talked about Park with her a bit and paraphrased some of the things Park had said about American universities. It should come as no surprise that he’s taken an interest in her if you’re at all familiar with the disgust he describes towards American colleges, their Humanities departments in particular, for allegedly indoctrinating children into the “Woke-ist” movement of actually super racist antiracism.
Now, I should say I’m aware that debating a Fox News article is like telling a meteorologist that the sky is blue… everyone knows what Fox News is. It’s not so much the subject of the article I have issue with, though, it’s how the author of my second link un-comedically calls himself out for being an illiterate knob.
A North Korean speaks: Yeonmi Park’s fierce desire for freedom
The first paragraph is so rife with hyperbole and conjecture that it would be pointless to actually go into detail about it: “North Korea is called the ‘worst place on earth(sic)’ for good reason. Thousands of people are tortured. Some North Koreans eat rodents to try to survive, and many starve anyway. In winter, they freeze. No one but the dictator has any true freedom, and no one is allowed to leave.” Some of that is factually incorrect (many people are allowed to leave North Korea) and a lot of it is likely exaggerated, which I’m assuming you would expect (although I can’t prove it’s exaggerated any more than one could prove that it isn’t… it just feels rather sensationalist to me). I’m not here to defend North Korea, I agree with the general consensus that it’s not a cool place to live and their leader is a dick.
The sixth paragraph is actually quite funny. In Parks words: “I watched the movie ‘Titanic’ and I was shocked. Like, how could this kind of ridiculous film exist? I’d never seen people dying for love, except dying for the regime and the party.” It stands out more for me, perhaps, because I’ve recently listened to a particularly great lecture on Romanticism and how its core dogma is horseshit yet continues to pervade all of Western film, music, and other artforms. The idea that the universe will conspire to bring two people who are meant to be together through all manner of obstacles and trials so that they can live their best Instagram lives is the crux of Romanticism and, of course, completely ridiculous. I suppose the ending of Titanic is slightly more poignant because (spoiler alert) like in real life, the universe doesn’t give a shit about Jack and Rose’s feelings and sends Jack to the depths to be an extra on Pirates of the Caribbean. But then it pulls back the realism and we’re meant to believe that Rose loved a man she knew for a week so much that she stayed single for the rest of her life. Yeah right.
Wow. Tangent. Okay…
North Korean defector says ‘even North Korea was not this nuts’ after attending Ivy League school
Look, I know you weren’t born yesterday. You can read that heading and you know without continuing that the author cooked up this fecal buffet 2 hours before he had to turn in his work and while nursing a hangover from his barely contained alcoholism. Still, what Park mentions within is poignant stuff worth thinking about and if they had just let her write an essay and opted to forego the editorial commentary, it probably would have been respectable.
The author points out a few times that Park says Americans aren’t taught critical thinking skills and thus are spiraling into a Hell of propaganda and culture war nonsense, which you know is a premise I have agreed with since I was a teenager. Park says this creates an anti-American ideology where our citizens whine about being slaves and living in an evil, unjust society while being blind to the fact that the society they live in is precisely the mechanism by which any of them have obtained a measure freedom.
Sahakian does prove her own premise quite well, although not in a way she’d prefer, I would imagine. Throughout the article she punctuates carefully chosen phrases from Park with his own totally unbiased opinions about the “left” (as if right or left even truly exist in this cluster fuck discussion anymore) which trod an easily identifiable but unpaved and pothole laden road to his closing thought (also a Park quote): “That is what is happening in America,” she continued. “People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”
How perfect that an article void of reflective, insightful thought ends on such a note! The disregard for craft might make a more conspiratorial thinker entertain the idea that this is just a ploy to keep the vitriolic dick measuring contest between lefties and righties going for another 24 hours news cycle. Park raises great points; it’s a shame that they’re conveyed on toilet paper. None of the news outlets of the corporatocracy party even covered these comments as far as I can tell so at least half of the country (but obviously a whole hell of a lot more) will never even hear or read them. Not that they’d take the time to wonder if any of this applied to them if they did read her interview; that’s basically her point.
And it’s a damn good point. Get off the internet and go read some Plato until tomorrow.
- Park, Y. (2016, Sep 27). In order to live: A North Korean girl’s journey to freedom. Penguin Books.
- Peterson, J. (2021). Interview with Bari Weiss. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFTA9MJZ4KY
- Peterson, J. (2021). Interview with Yeonmi Park. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yqa-SdJtT4
- Stossel, J. (2015, Oct 7). A North Korean speaks: Yeonmi Parks fierce desire for freedom. Fox News. Retrieved from https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/a-north-korean-speaks-yeonmi-parks-fierce-desire-for-freedom
- Tahakian, T. (2021, Jun 14). North Korean defector says “even North Korea was not this nuts” after attending ivy league school. Fox News. Retrieved from https://www.foxnews.com/us/north-korean-defector-ivy-league-nuts
- Vervaeke, J. (2019, Jun 21). Awakening from the meaning crisis: Romanticism. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Noc1OH0CUBc