Sarcasm might be the lowest form of wit, but it could also land you in serious trouble with one of the world’s most terrifyingly bonkers regimes.
In the latest bizarre twist from North Korea, leader Kim Jong-Un is attempting to outlaw sarcastic comments – or more specifically, sarcastic comments directed at his government.
Phrases such as “This is all America’s fault” – a sort of running joke amongst some citizens, based on the regime’s occasional tendency to blame everyone else for its problems – have been labelled as “hostile actions” if spoken ironically.
State security officers warned citizens against this kind of cheeky back-chat at a series on mass meetings across North Korea last month. RFA’s Korean Service reported that even indirect criticisms of the regime would not be forgiven, and that security officers delivered not-so-subtle hints about the dangers of “internal rebellious elements and of being “dragged into internal hostile behavior”.
It's a tough rule – with his funny hairdo and mad ways, it's almost impossible not to be at least a little sarcastic about portly despot Kim Jong-Un. But it's really no joke. An anonymous source said, “The main point of the lecture was ‘Keep your mouths shut!’”
Another phrase that could get citizens in trouble is “A fool who cannot see the outside world,” which has apparently spread from government workers after Kim Jong-Un failed to join celebrations in Russia and China celebrating the end of the Second World War.
This news comes just weeks after the regime branded dog meat – actual meat from actual dogs – as a stamina-boosting superfood, which could signal that the isolated state is preparing for another major famine.
It’s little wonder that dissension has spread amongst the people of North Korea, with a reported of graffiti in Pyongyang and areas near the China border – some of which Kim Jong-Un apparently found himself.
Indeed, North Korea sounds like a great place to live right now. And that's sarcasm.