It’s often said that there is a fine line between genius and insanity, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could be the latest high-profile example of this.
Just the mere mention of his name conjures up images of an individual who is short and fat with a bad haircut, but also that of a madman with his finger on the nuclear trigger threatening to annihilate civilization at any time.
But is he really so mad? After all, Kim Jong-un largely has just beat his chest and North Korea’s various missile launches haven’t caused any real harm so far — seemingly well-calculated to produce a desired shock effect more than anything, like a rattlesnake does.
Then there’s Kim’s recent clever move to send his sister to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. It employed what I’ve always referred to as “Cute Little Girl Syndrome” and “Pretty Woman Syndrome.”
This refers to how extra attention or credibility somehow is applied to a situation or an event if a pretty face is put out front. Like the way in which bikini-clad ring girls are used in boxing. They parade around at intervals during an entire fight, holding up signs with numbers announcing which rounds are upcoming.
Now a middle-age bald man could easily perform that function, but the fact a hot girl does seems to be an attempt to place a pleasant veneer over an often-brutal sport.
I’m sure this phenomenon goes back to Adam and Eve, but in the modern sense it partly can be traced to Bonnie and Clyde, the notorious criminal duo who terrorized the central United States during the 1930s.
Now here were two vicious, horrible people who were believed to have committed 13 murders and numerous robberies and burglaries before they thankfully were gunned down in 1934. Law enforcement personnel were among their victims.
Instead of being reviled by the entire country for the scum that they were, Bonnie and Clyde were romanticized to a surprising extent in newspapers, books and film, building a cult following in the process. Their funerals drew thousands of mourners.
I would submit that the presence of Bonnie Parker and the “Pretty Woman Syndrome” were the reasons for this. When people saw her picture, somehow it helped to erase the evil soul behind the plastic front.
This same kind of thing has been happening with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim Jong-un — first of all, who knew this guy even had a sister? Turns out she often is relied upon to coordinate public events for him. And there she was at the Olympics, a smiling woman — not really attractive, but not unattractive, either — certainly a better front person for her country than her bro.
She waved to the cameras in true Miss Universe contestant form, being described by some in the media as “stealing the show” at the Olympics and “striking a chord with the public.”
The media ate all this up by lavishing Kim Yo Jong with coverage everywhere she went before leaving South Korea earlier this week, showing that it has not learned anything from the Bonnie and Clyde days.
Of course, all this was taking place against the larger backdrop of recent efforts by officials of the two Koreas to improve relations between them, including pooling resources for the Olympics.
Which is great — who doesn’t want more stability in that part of the world?
Yet everyone must tap the brakes and remember that behind the pleasant visage of Kim Jong-un’s sister lies an ugly, horrible regime. It’s one responsible for countless murders, which oversees a system of political prisons that human rights advocates say is worse than the Nazi concentration camps of World War II.
Kim Jong-un had his uncle executed over charges of attempting to overthrow the communist regime through a military-backed coup. He later ordered the executions of the entire family of the uncle, including women, kids and North Korea’s ambassadors to Cuba and Malaysia.
Then there’s that nuclear thing. The North Korean leadership has oppressed its own people, many of whom are starving and undergoing other horrible conditions just so resources can be devoted to building up the country’s military capabilities.
The oppression includes but is not limited to curtailing Internet access, which keeps the North Korean people from being influenced by any revolutionary or democratic ideals that might make them fight for something better.
And you can bet your last won (the official currency of North Korea) that Kim Jong-un had his minions continuing to develop bombs and delivery systems the whole time his sister was smiling and waving at the Olympics.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.