Tuesday, August 16, 2005

You Swollen-headed Bloodsucker!

The League of Socialist Working Youth of Korea was renamed the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League at its conference in 1996. At that time he handed a torch of Juche to the youth vanguard, indicating the road to be taken by them under the banner of the Songun revolution.

He put forward the slogan "Love the young people!" and authored a number of famous works including "Let Us Exalt the Brilliance of Comrade Kim Il Sung's Idea on the Youth Movement and the Achievements Made under His Leadership", encouraging them to work miracles and labor feats.
Just when you thought lively writing had gone the way of the Gang of Four, comes the joyous people's wordsmithing of the Korean Central News Agency, mixin' it up with the dialectic, kickin' bellicose-human-scum ass and takin' arrogant-political-dwarf names!

For the Younger Set who don't remember the good ol' days of the Cold War and the Cultural Revolution, it was considered a badge of honor among the brighter lights of both the American Left and the Right (or, respectively, "cockroach lackeys of bourgeois reactionaryism" and "running dogs of the protofascist capitalist road") to be able to spout paragraphs of Maoist-propaganda insults at cocktail parties. The stuff was just so -- delicious, I think would be the word. Style points would be awarded if you could name something bestselling purportedly written by Mao, something with a blockbuster title like "Let the Youth Bravely Reject the Many-headed Monster of Bourgeois Hegemonic Imperialism!" or whip out a couple of verses of that super-catchy people's ditty, "We Celebrate the Total Annihilation of the Ultra-right Gangsters with a Fresh Revolutionary Upswing!"

The NK News site (a searchable DB of news releases from the KCNA) features a Random Insult Generator, which will really take you back. Some favorites:
You swollen-headed bloodsucker, you have glaringly revealed your true colours! (Note British spelling: Classy!]

You bellicose human scum, your ridiculous clamour for "human rights" is nothing but a shrill cry!

You politically illiterate human scum, we will resolutely smash your desperate war moves!
And you thought Baghdad Bob was funny! It'd all be a bit more hilarious, of course, if the press release I extracted above didn't end by failing utterly to disguise the hideously dreary reality of life in North Korea:
During the "Arduous March" and forced march, young men and women carried out many major construction projects including the Anbyon Youth Power Station, Kumgangsan Youth Railway Line, Hamhung Youth Goat Farm and Youth Paper Mill. In particular, young constructors built the 40-km-long Youth Hero Motorway with success in a matter of two years.
Not much room for rock-and-roll in that picture, is there.

Afterthought, 2:05 PM: I could swear that Maoist propaganda was where I first heard the term "politically correct," in approximately 1968. I then remember it being used ironically by a leftist in some offhanded joke. It assumed its current irritatingly misapplied sense only in the early 80s. Can anybody corroborate me on this?


Kevin Wolf said...

This is a paraphrased exchange from the record album Zingers from The Hollywood Squares (and please don't ask):

Peter Marshall to Sandy Duncan: True or false? One of the most popular songs in all of China is titled "O, How I Love to Carry Cow Waste Up the Mountainside For the Commune."

Duncan: "To the Commune" or "For" the Commune"?

Marshall: "For the Commune."

Duncan: Well, that makes the difference!

Guess ya hadda be there.

Lance Mannion said...

You heard the phrase politically correct for the first time in 1968? What kind of Cub Scout pack did you belong too.

I first heard it in grad school in the mid 80s, from other grad students, who used it in a self-derisive, self-mocking way to describe their own intellectual cowardice in the face of rising theorist hegemonies.

By the early 1990s it was being used by both my colleagues, who said in that way, and by my conservative students, who were using it to describe "liberal" ideas they felt they were compelled to espouse to get good grades and dates with hot English major babes.

Neddie said...

Er, hum. 'Tweren't exactly the Cub Scouts. More the Young Pioneers.

A-HA!!!! Wikipedia vindicates me!!!

"On the left, "political correctness" has primarily been used to mockingly dismiss their own more doctrinaire and zealous allies. Having been used in Marxist-Leninist vocabulary to describe the Party Line following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the term was transformed and used jokingly within the left by the early 1980s, possibly earlier. In this context, the phrase was applied to either an over-commitment to various left-wing political causes, especially within Marxism or the feminist movement; or to a tendency by some of those dedicated to these causes to be more concerned with rhetoric and vocabulary than with substance.

"The term again became popular in the early 1990s as part of a conservative challenge to curriculum and teaching methods on college campuses in the United States (D'Souza 1991; Berman 1992; Schultz 1993; Messer Davidow 1993, 1994; Scatamburlo 1998). Conservatives picked up and once again transformed the notion of political correctness to claim that a left-wing movement based in liberal academic circles was attempting to create a new doctrinaire political orthodoxy through social engineering which included changing words and phrases that some groups found offensive.

"Use of the term then declined in the late 1990s, and it is now mostly seen in comedy or as a political slur with questionable meaning. More recently, the term has been reclaimed by a tiny subset of multiculturalist writers and speakers who are oblivious to or reject its controversial connotations and origins."

Neil Shakespeare said...

LOL!!!! Oh, Christ, man, yer killin' me here. I got tears in my ears. And thanks to you too, Kevin Wolf! Now I got "O How I Love To Carry Cow Waste Up The Mountainside For The Commune" runnin' thru my head and I can't shake it outta my noggin'. Thanks for the longest laugh I've had in a long time. Oh Jesus. My head just hit the floor. Bye now. Gotta get back to the Hamhung Youth Goat Farm and milk the chickens.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine was in one of the many Marxist micro-parties that were such a feature of British life in the 1970s. At one point, his branch was condemned by party HQ in London (or possibly Albania) for "mountain strongholdism".

Before they fell out of favour, however, a whole group of these kids – mostly rough scallies from Liverpool –were shipped out to China, where they went to a dinner with Madame Mao. They got to discussing English literature.

She told them that her two favourite books were Hard Times and Jane Eyre. Hard Times because of its searing indictment of Victorian social conditions. And Jane Eyre because it was romantic. Kind of warms the heart, doesn't it? And all the while hubbie was starving large parts of his population to death.