FASCISM AND COMMUNISM: Mean Mr. Mustard has a nifty series of posts relating to a political science course he's taking at UC Berkeley. Here is a link to the conclusion, which has a set link to earlier posts. I can't explain their whole contents of course, but the lectures are related to fascism and communism, both of which the professor obviously dislikes. Here's an interesting excerpt of a quote by the professor, A. James Gregor:
North Korea is really a fascinating, bizarre place. If you ever get the chance, I strongly suggest that you go. The last time I was there was about 10 years ago, and this was when Kim Il Sung was still alive, and I was walking through Pyongyang (because of course they only let you visit certain areas; can't let let any Westerners see the starving masses of the countryside). Now, I had just come from China, and all through China, even in a lot of rural areas, you see millions of people with glasses on, because of course they can't afford contact lenses. But eyeglasses are ubiquitous.
And after not too long, I noticed that no one in Pyongyang was wearing glasses, so, with my "interpreter" (the guy that was there to watch me), I asked someone on the street why they didn't have any glasses. His exact words were "I don't need them."
"You don't need them?" I asked, just a tad suspicious, since in China it looked like half the population popped out of the womb with glasses on.
And I'll never forget what he said to me next, "Kim Il Sung takes care of us, so we don't need them."
Another thing I didn't see in Pyongyang: old people. I didn't see a single person that looked older than 45 in the city. Know why? Kim didn't like the way they made the city look, so he had all the old people carted off to areas on the outskirts of the cities.
And don't get me started on bicycles! Go to any asian city in the world and you'll see thousands of bicycles crowding the streets. There was not a single bicycle in all of Pyongyang, at least not one I could see. Kim thought it made the city look too third-worldish, so he banned anyone from using them and made everyone walk everywhere!
I tell you, the whole place is constructed to portray a fantasy. It's like a perverted, ramshackle Disneyland.