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  • SHANE SMITH: The next stop on our tour of North Korean

  • boredom and propaganda was the Great People's Library, which

  • is this massive library that they're very,

  • very excited about.

  • And they make you walk the whole god damn thing.

  • And the first thing you learn is that Kim Jong Il invented

  • the best, most perfect reading desk because you can alter the

  • level of the desk.

  • SHANE SMITH: Kim Jong Il invented it.

  • And it's the best desk ever.

  • And you're like, OK.

  • It's a table with--

  • You can move a level.

  • It's like a simple table.

  • Then they take you to the philosopher hotline, which I

  • found pretty interesting, which is if you have a

  • philosophical, Marxist, dialectic problem, then you

  • can come to the library and ask the philosopher god.

  • SHANE SMITH: And that's it.

  • Thank you.

  • The other thing I found amazing is they're very proud

  • of their modern music library.

  • They've got the Beatles.

  • And they've got Bob Dylan and stuff.

  • But the music room was completely empty.

  • And I started thinking about why they have

  • this kind of place.

  • It seemed to me that it was used for maybe upper echelons,

  • or party officials, or guides, or wannabe guards to learn

  • idiomatic speech so that they'll understand what we say

  • when we talk in vernacular.

  • And so you can picture them with headphones on listening,

  • going, "Abbey Road.

  • I understand those bastards now."

  • SHANE SMITH: They made us get up at 6:00 in the morning.

  • We get put in the truck.

  • And we just drive.

  • We drove for four hours.

  • And when we get out, we're at the sea.

  • And there's this huge thing, which is called a barrage.

  • I didn't know what a barrage was.

  • But it's basically a huge dam.

  • And they've dammed up the Taedong River.

  • And it's just a triumph of the will.

  • And oh my god, it's the biggest, greatest

  • thing we ever did.

  • And now it's being blamed for the huge floods that they have

  • and the famine, because of the floods.

  • And it's destroyed all their rice growing crops, which they

  • don't have much of because it's a mountainous country.

  • They ended up destroying all the arable land

  • that they had left.

  • JAMIE: You don't want him to stand in front

  • of the Great Leader?

  • SHANE SMITH: Don't block the shot.

  • OK.

  • JAMIE: OK.

  • SHANE SMITH: I'm going to stand to the side.

  • JAMIE: Shane, don't stand in front of the Dear Leader

  • because you're blocking him.

  • SHANE SMITH: OK.

  • But they're so freaked out about the barrage, that we

  • were filming it, which is why he brought us

  • out there, I thought.

  • And they're like, film it anything more,

  • you're going to jail.

  • Don't stand in front of the Dear Leader.

  • Our political guard-- who we had nicknamed Speedy Gonzales

  • because he looked like a little zippy guy, and he was

  • always everywhere--

  • started to really get mad at us.

  • We've just been told not to stand in front of the picture

  • of Kim Jong Il.

  • Actually, Speedy Gonzales, our guard who hates us shooting,

  • just saw us.

  • And he's not letting us shoot.

  • So I'm just going to talk about the barrage.

  • It's beautiful.

  • It's nice.

  • And he's looking at us right now.

  • It's freaking me out.

  • He's threatened Jamie, who's shooting this, with criminal

  • action, which means to go to jail here, which

  • would not be enjoyable.

  • He's looking at me now, so we're going to walk over here,

  • check out the thing and pretend like

  • we're shooting something.

  • They had had enough of us by this point.

  • At this point, we started to get really scared.

  • They're like, you know what?

  • Stop filming, stop shooting anything.

  • It's totally insane.

  • One more day.

  • I keep telling myself, one more day.

  • SHANE SMITH: One of the fun/sad times is they took us

  • to a school.

  • And it's a school for the best and brightest, the prodigies.

  • And you go there, and you see how great the students are.

  • And here it's just kids in uniforms being incredibly

  • amazing and much better than we are, of course, at

  • everything.

  • So the best needlepointers are needlepointing away.

  • And the best guitar players are playing.

  • Accordion players, pianists, the best at

  • computer graphics, whatever.

  • They have people for enunciation.

  • There's one kid playing guitar.

  • Amazing.

  • The guitar was bigger than him.

  • And again you're like, oh these great kids and

  • everything.

  • But it's so sad and so scary because they've been picked

  • out and like, you will learn for the state.

  • And they're learning and learning and

  • learning for the state.

  • And then there's a show.

  • We're going to an art performance now with the kids.

  • And then we give the flower after the performance.

  • After the performance, we give it to the kids.

  • FEMALE SPEAKER 1: [SPEAKING KOREAN]

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • SHANE SMITH: You realize everything in this country is

  • for Kim Jong Il.

  • Kim Jong Il likes shows.

  • He likes Broadway.

  • He likes musicals.

  • These kids are just press-ganged into service for

  • the state to provide shows for the two tourists who are there

  • at any given time.

  • And this times a billion is what we were about to see with

  • Arirang Games.

  • SHANE SMITH: Got my ticket.

  • This is the waiting room before we go

  • upstairs to the games.

  • But it's, as you can see, a very busy, bustling place.

  • The only reason why any tourists are allowed into

  • North Korea is because of what you're about to see.

  • The Arirang Games, or the famous mass gymnastics, are

  • 120,000 people who work for about two years to do this

  • incredibly elaborate choreographed Andrew Lloyd

  • Webber extravaganza, but on acid.

  • You're sitting on a dais reserved for Kim Jong Il.

  • And you see the most insane thing you've ever

  • seen in your life.

  • It's a history of the Korean Revolution as portrayed by

  • 120,000 people doing a simultaneous pantomime.

  • Kim Jong Il likes a spectacle, man.

  • And this is the biggest spectacle in the world.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • [CHANTING IN UNISON]

  • SHANE SMITH: We just go back from the Mass Games.

  • And now we're at the restaurant.

  • And they have seasoned dog, smothered ox rib, which I

  • guess wouldn't be bad.

  • And then that's about it.

  • But as you can see, it's not bustling here.

  • It was nuts at the games, because I was sitting there.

  • We were sitting right where Madeleine Albright was at and

  • right where Kim Jong Il sits and Ike.

  • We're sitting here just for us.

  • Everyone's clapping.

  • Everyone's doing everything for us.

  • You just sit there, and you feel like God.

  • Or you'd feel like God if you'd slept.

  • We haven't slept in about three days, so I have a beer.

  • It was our last night.

  • So we went out for our last night karaoke fest, as you do.

  • [KOREAN].

  • FEMALE SINGERS: [SINGING KOREAN SONG]

  • SHANE SMITH: Well what was interesting was it was a South

  • Korean machine.

  • And it had some programmed songs it it, Western songs.

  • [SINGING "ANARCHY IN THE UK"]

  • At first they thought, oh he's just drunk, making a mockery

  • of a military song.

  • And they didn't know how to deal with it.

  • The women didn't know how to deal with it.

  • They have no cultural references whatsoever.

  • [SINGING "ANARCHY IN THE UK"]

  • So when I finished singing, they're all looking

  • at me like I'm crazy.

  • And I realize, they don't know what punk rock is.

  • Not only do they not have rock and roll,

  • they didn't have jazz.

  • They didn't have fucking blues.

  • They never had any of this shit.

  • There are no cultural similarities whatsoever.

  • FEMALE SINGERS: [SINGING KOREAN SONG]

  • SHANE SMITH: Sometimes I imagine if someone coming from

  • the cowboy times-- like someone who comes in a time

  • machine or frozen in ice or something--

  • and you have to explain to them what an airplane is.

  • Or you have to explain what supermarkets are.

  • And this is as close as you get to that.

  • This is a time machine.

  • This is 1930s Russia or 1950s Soviet Union.

  • So they see me as the Yankee imperialist aggressor.

  • And I see them as the land that time forgot.

  • FEMALE SPEAKER 2: --by the Great Leader Kim Jong Il for

  • the course modeling the entire army on the [INAUDIBLE] idea

  • were displayed at the Korean Revolution Museum.

  • Leader Kim Jong Il put forward as the general task of army

  • building to turn the People's Army into the army of the

  • leader and the party by modelling the entire army--

SHANE SMITH: The next stop on our tour of North Korean

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Inside North Korea (Part 3/3)

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    Why Why posted on 2013/04/10
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