Sunday, October 23, 2005

Memo re: Acceptable office decor

As noted last week, I've had a tombstone sitting in my office for years without anyone ever mentioning it.

But there's something in this cursed hovel that's been even more bizarrely ignored: a quite flattering portrait of Kim Jong Il (on the floor here to eliminate what professional photogs ("shamuses") call "wall glare"):

It hangs right inside my office door, unmissable. When I'm working with a patient (I'm an editor) there usually comes a point where he or she wanders around the office looking at stuff. Sooner or later he or she will stand in front of Kim. He or she will read the copy. He or she will rub his or her chin thoughtfully. He or she will--wander vaguely away.

Interesting facts and figures:

  • This is a full-page ad from a 1997 New York Times Book Review. It plugs volume I of Kim's "authorized" biography (no other kind, of course, at least in North Korea), Kim Jong Il: The Lodestar of the 21st Century. Good reading, I bet.

  • The frame was a wedding gift.

  • Isn't it nice?

  • The copy is fairly funny in that robotic commie way laughed at by sane people the world over:

    The respected Comrade Kim Jong Il, who is endowed [sic] with uncommon ideological-theoretical ability, outstanding leadership and lofty virtues, is the great sun of the 21st century.

    Professor Edmond Jouve at the University of Paris 5, told the symposium [what symposium?].

    This work of His Excellency Kim Jong Il's admirably systematizes his excellent thoughts on outstanding themes. I read this work and discussed it with my colleagues. They also agreed with me and expressed their deep admiration. Frankly speaking [sic], it is very difficult for a thought, however excellent it may be, and for its authority to be recognized by stongly [sic] self-respecting European scholars. However, His Excellency Kim Jong Il has come to be accepted by Europeans and is highly respected as a great thinker-theoretician for this well-known work.

  • Yeah, sure.

  • So does this professor have family being held hostage in North Korea, or did they just set him up with no fewer than two (2) underage boys and take pictures?
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