Friday, December 08, 2006

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.


Blogger Pierre said...

We are losing the war...our leaders have given up...we have no leaders except a few Senators who will stand up to the thugs. Whose fault is it? Some say the press, I believe it is partially their fault but leaders must lead. Unless we are willing to grant Diane Sawyer leadership status then it isn't her fault for our idiocy. Leaders must lead but citizens must understand and be brave...we live in such dangerous times.

Andrew C McCarthy on why we are failing in Iraq and in the war against Islamic fundamentalism

12/09/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Perhaps the way to deal with this is to merely let go of all the brilliance of our civilization. Perhaps we will get to keep it if we should find some drop of bravery amongst our leadership but likely much will be destroyed...will it help to be crushed by the loss of it? Our grandfathers and grandmothers were able to survive in harsh times.

12/09/2006 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

The Aliens, coming from an advanced civilisation (so clearly not Islamic), would be postmodern. So full of love for The Other, they would project onto the North Koreans their hatred of their own civilisation, a civilisation to which they are beholden for their grants.

Instantly they would love the Americans and hate the North Koreans.

The NK's are horrible. Classroom unrulyness would be attributed to America's tragic colonial exploitation by NK. "Youth" rebellion would be understood completely - "100 intergalactic transporters burnt a day" was one professor's estimate.

"Just look at the shocking NKs' ridicule of American culture - schoolchildren refuse to even look at the artifacts of American culture, the magazine. So unmulticulti". They would note the NKs absence of guilt, "all they talk about is their own country". They would assume that "Toy Story" is up there with their own Erotica Symphony, hey isn't every oppressed culture marvelous. No evidence of a "Sorry Day". The NKs never appologise for their existence. Bastards!

They don't like Zorn Chthulu's crackpot theory. "After all, he's not a graduate of the Intergalactic Studies Collective", they say.

They set up CAIR, the Council of Alien/Ignoramus Relationships. Fellow travellers such as ACLU, the Alien Crackpot Liberties Union jump in and have Chthulu run out of Academia.


Sometime later, a Blien expedition was on a planet and found a video about a North Alien group...


12/09/2006 02:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"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."

Or possibly because the last kid who looked at an American magazine he found in the trash outside L'il Kim's pleasure palace went on a one way trip to a "reeducation camp" with the rest of his whole family. That togetherness even in torture is one reason the kids are so happy.

12/09/2006 03:38:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Woman Catholic, you hit that nail on the head.

12/09/2006 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

As usual,Wretchard is spot on.
This postof mine explains the reason I think we are losing on both the internal and external fronts of the war for civilization.
Until and unless those of us still committed to objective reality, reason, and truth stand up to the empty dogma of the left and expose it for the destructive malignancy it is; it will continue to eat away at our national soul, and place all our precious liberties at risk. We must stop being on the defensive and cease catering to the dark, empty vision to which the left's dogma is utterly committed.
The Dunn piece is highly recommended.

12/09/2006 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Starko said...

I think it's interesting that seemingly ALL the kids knew the Sound of Music.

Somehow I don't think they knew it because their parents rented it at Blockbuster or bought the DVD on eBay. More likely they saw it because the state said they could.

To be fair, these kids seemed to speak very good English, so viewing the movie may've been a way to enhance their English skills. But the point remains, because the state said that's what was ok.

As an aside I'd be willing to bet that in many similar classrooms in the US, the kids might all know the words of a song by Fergilicious (sp.?), but they wouldn't know the Sound of Music.

But the point is that this heart-warming moment was made possible by writ of the state.

I would just hope that there was some semblance of journalistic integrity and that while Dianne shares the wonderful experiences she had with the carefully selected best of the best of North Korea, she also states very plainly that her schedule and movement was very tightly controlled, that she was always accompanied by a government handler, and that if you actually talk to any of the refugees that make it out of NK alive, they may be singing a song of freedom, but they don't know anything about the Sound of Music.

12/09/2006 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger Pascal said...

Chthulu as Will Durant's alter ego?

I don't know if you know this or not, Wretchard, but Gibson's Apocalyto opens with the same quote with which you ended.

And my Sacrifice, also analogized with Mayan Civ.

Ought one be praised for wondering what it takes to stave off apocalypse one more time? Not likely. Far more likely to be dismissed.

12/09/2006 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger sbw said...

We are losing the war...our leaders have given up

Our leaders haven't so much given up. They don't know what is worth standing up for. Neither do most in the media.

How could they? It's not taught in school. They teach around it because they, too, don't know what to teach. They just think they do.

--- What's often overlooked, in a nutshell:

Individually, and in society, it pays to support processes that improve mental maps of reality which lead to better ways to do things and the processes of peaceful change to implement them. Anything less is the law of the jungle where might makes right and there is no guarantee good will survive.

Democracy, without checks and balances, can lead to tyranny of the majority, but it alone among governments codifies the humility that recognizes that there may be a better way to do things, and the respect for others that recognizes the smallest voice may suggest how.

Science has put so much power in the hands of anyone who cares to learn to use it that no longer do natural boundaries protect anyone. That puts us all in a race for civilization there is no guarantee civiliaztion will win.

Fortunately, all that is needed is a change of mind. Our job is to inoculate even the furthest from us, that underneath individual cultures of nations, races, and religions lies the simplest of fabrics common to all, able to be deduced from personal experience, such that when one projects alternatives for one's future, all but one come up wanting.

That one is that personal experience teaches you that you have been wrong before and been hurt by it. From that comes humility to improve your mental map of reality. From that resolve comes the respect for others who can help. From that comes appreciation of the tools for thought to strengthen the process. From that comes the will to create with others a minimal umbrella of society that encourages processes of peaceful problem resolution and growth.

Humility. Reciprocity. Tools for thinking. Not yet the focus of education or governance.

12/09/2006 07:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheer up, Mr. Gloomy. The end of illusions is nigh. The first step was reorientation. The next step?
Tiger Claw.

12/09/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger xlbrl said...

Children are intensely curious about nearly everything. That they would (could) not glance at an unapproved magazine demonstrates to us all what has happened in Gulag NK. All of us but Sawyer and thousands of her closest friends.

12/09/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

"ask them about their country, and they can't say enough."

So how come unabashed pride in one's country (shamefully, in this instance, the product of hermetically-sealed indocrination) is presented as an endearing quality when our media encounter it elsewhere in the world, but rarely, if ever, here at home?

Encouraging this sort of behaviour in American school children would be considered nationalist indoctrination. No, no, they need to be conditioned to reflex shame and timidity by focus on a litany of shortcomings and failures.

Can't wait for Sawyer's breathless dispatch from the 1936 Munich . . . er sorry . . . 2008 Beijing Olympics, when rabid nationalism, xenophobia and master race chauvinism will be neatly packaged as an 'exuberant and overdue celebration by the world of an ancient traditional culture'.

These people are tools.

12/09/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

Such network-bound blindness and folly can only be grasped by imagined allegory as Wretchard has put forth...otherwise...

Think of the millions of dollars in parts and labor it took to bring Sawyer's idiocy to the TV tube. Is this what our world has come to? Stupidity so stupid it can't make even the simplist connection between freedom and coercion?

And isn't Sawyer's sickly-sweet fawning worn-out liberal schlock? During the Cold War didn't Sting sing something about [Russians], as in: "don't they love their children, too?"

Implicit in Sawyer's condescension is the accusation that conservatives (or other types openly disdainful of N Korea) are willing to sacrifice these kids for an idea (the idea that N Korea is a Stalinist Evil).

Sawyer is idea free, you see. She is just a conduit that flows with compassion for the innocent children of the world. If only the world could be free of those who accuse and point and are negative and who hate and who put politics above the children - why...why the world would be a better place. How dare Bush call North Korea part of the "Axis of Evil?" Why just look at the children. A nation with such beautiful orderly children can't be an enemy. The real enemy is political vehemence that would call N Korea an enemy...

12/09/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

My guess is that most bloggers here are not old enough to remember the Soviet Union with it's Ministry of Information and Gulags. What we experienced with Sawyer's visit was a time warp back to about 1955. For those of you too young to know what I mean, I suggest reading a little of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's work - particularily "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich", very short novel.

What we see with N.Korea is that it is possible to isolate and indoctrinate a people. Keep this in mind when observing the fanaticism in the middle east.

Ultimately every communist dictatorship crumbles - because the underpinnings are false. Sortof like believing in human-caused global warming.

We indoctrinate our children in the US, N.Korea indoctrinates theirs. Pol Pot used his children army to kill 2 million of his countrymen in 1975. The Ayatolla Khomeini sent thousands of Iranian children to the front lines to be mine sweepers in Iran-Iraq war. Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West is a good flick to rent to see the indoctrination in process by "the religion of peace".

And on and on it goes....

12/09/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger sbw said...

Sawyer is old enough to know better, but her experience doesn't lend itself to that: According to Wikipedia, she was born in Kentucky, grew up in Louisville, received her English degree at Wellesley College in 1967, local TV news reporter until 1970, hired by White House press secretary Ron Ziegler to serve Nixon and the transition to Ford in 1975, then assisted Nixon with his memoirs.

Ron Zeigler was the one who famously said, "that statement is inoperative" when he meant "We lied."

Sawyer seems to have grown up under no threats, seems educated to be literate but not necessarily thinking, suffered her finishing under exemplar moral relativists, and ended up in a job where journalism depended on style points, not value.

I can't imagine what it will be like when, late in life, she looks into a mirror. ... Nevermind. That's unlikely.

12/09/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sbw said, "Ron Zeigler was the one who famously said, 'that statement is inoperative' when he meant 'We lied.'"

Which was joined in the hall of shame by the tagline "fake but accurate" twenty years later. Zeigler also said, "The president is aware of what is going on. That is not to say that there is anything going on."

12/09/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Starko said...

Das said... "And isn't Sawyer's sickly-sweet fawning worn-out liberal schlock? During the Cold War didn't Sting sing something about [Russians], as in: "don't they love their children, too?" "

Das, I feel pretty sure that Sting isn't a Belmont reader, but to be fair, I think his point was that our only hope of avoiding mutually assured destruction during the cold war (via nuclear weapons of course) was if the Russians loved their children too.

I think the lyric was more like "The only hope for me and you is if the Russians love their children too".

In the end, I think Sting's hope (and the hope of all of us) was reality- the Russians valued their own lives and of those they loved more than they hated the West.

What's scary is when you contrast this to today, where it would seem that many radical Islamists have no compunction about slaughtering their brethren or even their own family if it achieves their goal. This belief allows terrorists of their ilk to act with inhuman boldness.

12/09/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Nothing inhuman about it at all.
The Mohammedan's are at war. Victory is all that matters, whether today or tomorrow, no matter the cost.
Eyes focused firmly upon the prize.

Who Dares Wins

12/09/2006 02:31:00 PM  
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12/09/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Legrand - Leaders must lead but citizens must understand and be brave...we live in such dangerous times.

Well, all Americans have done all Bush asked of us - shop, travel, support the gov't-paid "heroes", and enjoy our tax cuts. Remember the promise..."Not only will I keep us safe and well-respected in the world, but will do so with no sacrifice other than on "heroes" in gov't employ, but on top of that I promise even MORE tax cuts for the rich and more Gov't pork to fatcats seeking to turn every campain donation dollar given into at least a Andy Jackson in payback!"

So I've done my part by Bush's rules and the very rich have done even more by spending their tax cuts from money Bush borrowed from China...What more do you want?

Your thesis on war appears to be that we were wrong on democracy, wrong on WMD, wrong on nation-building, wrong on UN resolutions, but right to invade because Saddam had peripheral involvement with "evildoers" or give them safe harbor as Londonistan does...wellll....OK.. then 16-20 other nations await invasion on the same basis, with far more guilty parties like Pakistan, KSA, the UK awaiting our troops.

And perhaps I like your theory if it means we go in, kill and destroy the regime and the troops loyal to them in a few weeks and withdraw in following weeks.

Yeah, it's all so horrible in NORK-land and my heart weeps for the children growing up to be Kim Il-jung flower girls or fanatic running dog imperialist killers..But what do we do, or, more importantly - what do we owe them?

Unless they start shipping nukes, they are more S Korea's, China's, and Japan's problem than ours. Otherwise, the only way we would go in is if S Korea is with us and will accept the 100's of thousands of civilian casualties the NORKs would exact.

And most Americans would prefer if any action we take is under a new President. Bush is too damaged goods to have any international credibility or backing for any intervention that does not involve a NORK attack, an imminent NORK attack, or finding they are sending WMD out to other rogue states.

12/09/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Maybe not on this thread, but somewhere on this site at some time I would very much enjoy a discussion of how everything can have gone (as it appears to me now) so completely wrong.

Maybe it is as simple as D.R. asserts, that the "Mohammedans" keep their eye on the prize and we do not.

I find myself agreeing, and I am almost shocked by this, with virtually everything Cedarford said in his last post.

Jamie Irons

12/09/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cedarford wrote, "Yeah, it's all so horrible in NORK-land and my heart weeps for the children growing up to be Kim Il-jung flower girls or fanatic running dog imperialist killers..But what do we do, or, more importantly - what do we owe them?"

We don't owe them squat. We owe the Chinese though, they're holding a lot of our long paper.

12/09/2006 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


re: Why Iraq?

Because it is the most strategic piece of real estate in the world, as the US will learn to its chagrin, once the pull-out is complete.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, concerned about WMD, democracy, or Shi'a v. Sunni. What does interest me is control of the jugular of the EU and much of Asia. Banal I know, but there you have it.

By the way, the ferocity with which the KSA, Iran, Turkey, the PA, Hezbollah, and Syria are waging proxy war in Iraq would lead a reasonable person to instantly grasp the importance they place on the real estate.

12/09/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Sawyer's admiration for the order she contrasts with the 'unruliness' of American school children is wafer thin.

Back home, her ideological fellow travelers have done everything they can to delegitimize authority and to 'empower' the whims and impulses of children with the intellectual quackery of 'diversity' and 'self-esteem' enhancement.

Again, these people are tools.

12/10/2006 10:22:00 AM  
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