The Video Clip of the Mysteries
There's an interesting Real Player clip of Diane Sawyer visiting a North Korean schoolhouse from Newsbusters, which will air on December 8. In the clip Sawyer hands out a glossy magazine to North Korean children and asks if anyone has seen "an American magazine". Each child hands it on to next at half second intervals, none pausing to open the pages or even read the lettering on the cover. If none had seen it before then, none were the wiser afterward. At one point, a teenage girl gets up and tells Sawyer in English, "we are the happiest children in the world!" in this classroom described as "a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school." Somewhat later, Sawyer is able to tease out a knowledge of the Sound of Music and Toy Story produced in a "strange place, not sure where" with which the children are familiar.
Imagine for a moment this is all the information that will ever be available to judge North Korea. That some cosmic catastrophe has destroyed every library, archive and database on earth. And all that is left for archaeologists from a distant galaxy is this one Real Player video clip, which by means of their advanced technology, has been translated into a form they can understand. What should those aliens think of North Korea, as portrayed by Diane Sawyer and ABC News?
The most straighforward alien analysis of the video would be that it depicts the actual conditions of beings called North Koreans, once inhabitants of earth, who are prima facie happier than anyone on earth. Probably for this reason, this "Diane Sawyer", accompanied by a compact and muscular North Korean man in a suit, has come to find out why the children are so happy there. And the reason must be because North Korea is so pleasant other civilizations have become curious as to how it was achieved. Sawyer herself confirms this, saying "ask them about their country, and they can't say enough." Since this Diane Sawyer keeps asking after their knowledge of a place called "America" many Galactic scholars believe Sawyer hails from there and is eager to learn more about the North Korea happiness secrets because America is manifestly afflicted by an "unruly individualism". When the children are shown an "American magazine" they do not even bother to glance at it; probably because it is inferior to whatever they are used to.
But scholarly opinion is divided by the central mystery of the video -- the cultural source described by specialists as the "Toy Story Civilization" from which infantile ditties like "Doe, A Deer A Female Deer" are derived. Despite the probability that Sawyer is from America, this Sawyer can lead the North Korean children in reciting verse after verse of song in a scene which proves the universal familiarity of the mysterious Toy Story Civilization. Yet despite its omnifamiliarity it is apparently already mythical, as we are told that no one is sure where it is. (One of the goals of the next Galactic Grand Surveys is the dispatch a set of several thousand self-replicating probes into the star systems surrounding earth, at a cost of 300 trillion Credits, to find the possible location of the Toy Story Civilization, which was well known to earth at the time of the video clip.)
Renegade scholar Zorn Chthulu maintains that this standard account narrated above is completely false. He believes that the clip contained a message, intended to convey to American beings that North Koreans were worthy of emulation, or that at least, the North Koreans should be regarded favorably and not be feared. Professor Chthulu argues the clip was intended to produce "good feelings" about North Koreans in the eyes of Americans in a time of rising tensions. Chthulu bases his assertion upon his extensive comparison of the clip with that of the surviving artifacts of extinct civilizations throughout the Galaxy, noting that the final cultural products of doomed civilizations were often -- and paradoxically -- unusually friendly towards the entities that finally destroyed them. This Chthulu Paradox -- a sudden burst of friendliness in a doomed civilization towards its destroyer -- remains a controversial concept among scholars. Chthulu himself maintains the Real Player clip contains all the hallmarks of a final psychological denial characteristic of all civilizations in their terminal stages. However, despite the wide interest in the Chthulu Paradox, it remains the minority view. Most scholars reject Chthulu's analysis as overly complex and inconsistent with the Oggam's Shaver principle which favors the simplest explanation among alternatives. And the balance of scholarly opinion is that North Korea was indeed the happy place of conventional wisdom to which visitors from America regularly came to learn the secrets of success. But interest in Chthulu thesis was received by the discovery of another set of Terran characters, whose content is eerily reminiscent of the maverick Professor's hypothesis and of the same linguistic family as the Real Player clip. The characters, written on a large sheet of colored paper, is of unknown authorship. Loosely translated into Universal Galactic it contains this warning: "a great civilization is not conquered from without...until it has been destroyed from within." Coincidence? Maybe.