marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Cleanest Race

The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters by B.R. Myers

An interesting look at North Korean propaganda as offered to North Koreans -- rather than to the world at large, the difference between the two types being a major theme.

It gives a history of the relevant facts from Korea's history and the biographies of its two leaders. (It alludes to the current, third one, but at the time, North Korea was just starting its push toward instating them.)

Its basic thesis is that the central ideology of North Korea is a racial one, centering on the purity of their blood and virtue, and so the necessity of the strong leader to shelter them from a corrupt and vicious world. The most tenuous of ties with Marxism have broken -- the North has even admitted that the South is more prosperous, but at the price of a corrupting, materialistic culture that they long to throw up and join their pure brothers in the North -- and it contains rather more from Japanese ideology propagated during the occupation.

The tight grip it keeps on communication is essential. For instance, propaganda presents the South as grateful to the North for its stern "military first" attitude, which forced the United States to back down. The United States has a contradictory role, having to be both a dire threat and unending humiliated by its inability to do anything but yield to the Leader.

An interesting look.
Tags: history reviews: communism, history reviews: far east, history reviews: post wwii

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