The Questions We Should Be Asking About North Korea

The Questions We Should Be Asking About North Korea

Sorry James Franco, no jokes here.
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In 2014, James Franco and Seth Rogen released a comedy movie that changed American diplomacy with North Korea forever entitled "The Interview". The movie dictates the story of a popular TV-host named Dave Skylark, played by James Franco who travels to North Korea after receiving word that the infamous dictator is a "super-fan" of Skylark's night-show. There, Skylark and his team plan to film the most eventful interview in TV history with the most mysterious world leader.

Aside from the PG13 humor and the usual sexual innuendos, the movie continuously mocks and derides the North Korean government and Kim Jung Un's administration. This movie is downright funny. Any country so cut-off from the world led by a man with a striking hairstyle like that is bound to be subject matter for comedians around the world. Plus, who doesn't love Seth Rogen or James Franco?

However, my problem is not with the content of "The Interview" but rather its effect: that Americans view North Korea as nothing more than a idiotic buffoonery led by its ringleader Kim Jung Un. And Kim Jung Un, he's just borderline insane. I mean, that is the only logical conclusion to make after he brainwashed his entire country, forcing them to believe he is the next Messiah, that North Korean propaganda movies are way better than anything on Netflix, and that Americans are to be blamed for every atrocity North Korea has faced. Is it even possible to change an entire nation's perspective? Especially because that is what generations and generations of North Koreans have been bred to think, so isn't it just them practicing their freedom of speech? Why would Kim Jung Un even hate America?

What even are his motives? And, is it necessary for the United States, one of the world's greatest powers, to get involved? Or more importantly, is it worth it? Current events would say: yes, yes it is.

Because every couple days or so, we get a news notification on our iPhones reading: "North Korea tests ICBMs", and what do we do? We swipe up, half-annoyed that we were even troubled with this "meaningless information", and resume our life. We scoff at any headline with North Korea, saying to ourselves "I've seen this before. This is old news". Why? Are we actually unfazed by the potential threat to our very survival? The truth is, this man, however delusional he may be, holds the key to the most destructive weapons known to man, a weapon that could obliterate an entire country in an instant at the push of a button. And at that moment, do you really care about Beyonce's newborn twins more than your life?

The last time nuclear war was a visible threat, children were trained to hide under desks at school the same way a firefighter taught us "Stop, drop, and roll". So, shouldn't we react the same in 2017 as we did in 1963? The technological advances today could have possibly doubled or tripled the effect of the bomb, so why aren't we as scared as our parents or our grandparents were fifty years ago?

Should we even be scared? That is the question. Cause after all, "Kim Jung Un is just a crazy man who has no true recollection of what he's doing". Should we react as if this were war? Our own President has tweeted extensively about North Korea and "toughening up America", but how does he really feel? But more importantly, what will he do about it?

A few more questions come to mind. Like, what if North Korea's "Supreme Leader" is actually smarter than us all? Even worse, what if he isn't actually crazy? After all, this man does control the Internet in his own country, so there isn't even a dark web in North Korea to discuss such conspiracies. And any advisor who knows him on a personal level has sworn their allegiance on a rope so thin even the slightest negative information about the dictator himself would instantaneously result in that person's "removal", or maybe a fifteen-year sentence to a labor camp-like the former University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier. The truth is, we do not know anything about the North Korean leader. So, automatically assuming he's a laughingstock with a bad hairline isn't necessarily our smartest move.

But maybe this is all a part of his diabolical plan. Maybe Kim Jung Un knew we would be more concerned with meaningless tabloid gossip than his weekly missile tests. And if he did know that, then I guess he isn't an idiot after all..we are. Or are we?




Cover Image Credit: NBC News

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I'm Almost 19 And I Have Never Been On A Date, And I'm At Peace With That

I want to feel good about myself before I date someone.
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Yes, I am almost 19 and have never been on a date, let alone ever having a boyfriend.

When I tell people this, they go like, "Really?!?!?! You have never been on a date?" or "Why haven't you? Is it because your family doesn't allow you to?" or my close friends like to say "Get a Tinder!" I tend to avoid answering questions about my love life because it is not that interesting and well, there's nothing really to talk about.

Being in my religion and culture, people tend to think that I don't date because I'm not allowed to.

Although this may be true, I know my family secretly wants to find a guy and date and maybe get a boyfriend. Trust me, they have questioned me.

"So find a guy yet? You can tell me if you get a boyfriend, I won't tell your mom" is what my aunts would ask me. Honestly, I don't like telling my parents every single detail about my life, so my aunts are pretty much out of the picture. Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is, but I'm starting to feel pressured to date and find a guy now that I'm in college.

One of the reasons why I haven't been on a date is because no one asked me and I have never had the guts to ask anyone.

I am a very cliché person so I want to bump into a cute guy and flirt a little back and forth and exc., so using Tinder is out for me. To me, dating has become like a game and it's not something I want to do. I'm not saying Tinder or any dating app is bad, I'm saying it's not for me. I am very old fashioned so I want to meet the guy for the first time in person (not a dating app) and have it go on from there. Another reason would be because of how I feel about myself.

I want to feel good about myself before I date someone.

Not just physically, mentally and emotionally. I want to be happy before I can have someone else make me happy. Loving yourself is key for self-care. I like to think that loving yourself first and then loving someone else is actually important. I don't mean to sound narcissistic or demeaning or selfish, but you need to love yourself before you can let someone else love you or you love someone else.

I am all about being in a relationship and all but you need to prove to yourself that you are a strong, independent woman who does not need a man to fulfill your every demand. You got this. Having a relationship is important, but so are you and your necessities.

I guess my culture plays a role in my love life.

Dating isn't illegal in my culture, but it is frowned upon by many people in my culture. For example, if you, a single 19-year-old girl, brought a guy at any social event, or the other way around BAM!

Women gather together in their small groups and start gossiping about you and the men, well, they drink and not pay attention to anything. Some women in my culture have the need to meddle into other people's business and think it's appropriate to talk about others lives as if they have lived it.

I was taught that having a boyfriend at a young age was bad and my parents would be ashamed of me if I did.

I was also told that "Guys don't like fat girls" so obviously the people teaching me these things are immature and uneducated. I used to think that people dating at a young age was wrong too. But, then I grew up and went to high school and realized that it's not wrong or shameful, it's just what people do for fun and because they want to find love. It's hard to explain this to some Indian people, however, and that's many Indian teens (and even adults if your parents are really strict) date others in secret. I'm not bashing on my culture, but a lot of people in it need to know that it's okay for their children to grow up and date and trust that they will find good people for themselves.

I have never had a first date or a first boyfriend.

For me, it's normal and whatever because honestly, I'm not ready. Someday though, I would love to have a first date and a boyfriend and be happy and not forced to find someone.

For everyone out there that feels my pain, don't let your family, friends, or society rush you to date or find an SO if you are not ready.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Americans, We Need To Admit We Have A Problem

"We have a problem in the United States, and until we admit that, we are going to continue experiencing extreme grief and mourning. We are going to continue losing students, teachers, friends, family, and people with bright futures. "
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There's a lot of stuff floating around about the Parkland shooting. A lot of it is partisan argument. I would argue that that's the absolute last kind of discussion we should be having right now.

It has been 6 years since the Sandy Hook shooting, and it has been 19 years since the Columbine massacre. And yet, almost nothing has changed.

Living in Switzerland at the time, I remember the Sandy Hook shooting having a very "it-can't-happen-here" vibe. Imagining my school, such a safe space for me, with an active shooter inside was terrifying. I cried. My friends cried. Although we were from all over the world, we grieved right along with the Americans that had lost 20 first graders and a teacher. At the same time, we felt fortunate to know that such a tragedy was extremely unlikely ever to affect us.

People asked me at the time about why Americans prioritized access to semi-automatic weapons over the lives of children, and I argued that it was more complicated than that. It's not though, not really.

Fast forward three years: I was a senior in high school. Someone called a gun and ammo store near my high school and threatened the school. They said they were coming to shoot as many students as they could. The principal called and told us that, while the threat was being investigated, we would still have school. My friends and I wore clothes we thought we could run in. My chemistry teacher explained the plan if an active shooter were to enter the school during our double period class: we would go into the resource room, which had reinforced walls, and lock the door. She would lower a rope out of the window (which she kept for this purpose), we would shimmy down, and she would be the last one out. We were scared, and, though she never would have let on, she was too.

The fact that she had to create such a plan, and the fact that we had to be prepared to follow it, is startling and upsetting. That is neither a safe nor healthy learning environment. That's a learning environment riddled with fear. I am very fortunate never to have actually been in an active shooting situation, but I imagine that someone who has been in one would be constantly on edge in their school, or even scared to attend school. How would a person ever be expected to concentrate again, when they've seen their peers shot in the very same classrooms they attend every day? They shouldn't be.

It may surprise you to know that I actually agree that a gun can't do anything without a person behind it. It is true that a gun on a shelf or in a gun case is not inherently dangerous. Then again, Tide pods are not inherently dangerous. And yet, when the users began to pose a threat to themselves when using them, regulations were put in place. My favorite example is Kinder Eggs. Kinder Eggs are hollowed out chocolate eggs with toys in the middle, inside a large casing intended to look like a yolk. Though European children seem not to have any problem eating Kinder Eggs, apparently a few American children attempted to swallow them whole (they're egg-sized, so I'm not quite sure how this is possible, but it is) and choked on the toy. Kinder Eggs are now banned nationwide. And I can promise, guns have been used to kill far more children than Kinder Eggs have.

So yeah, guns may not be the problem. But just allowing ease of access to continue is clearly not the solution. It's not the solution in any other situation where a product causes deaths or dangers to users, at least to my knowledge.

The other argument that I have heard frequently is, "Well people still get alcohol before they're 21, and they still get Kinder Eggs, and they still get illegal drugs. They still do illegal things." But they get less. It makes it harder for them to do illegal things. And those products increase in price, meaning only the people who truly need those goods are generally able to afford them (though I cannot truly fathom a reason a person needs an AR-15). Increasing the opportunity cost of gaining access to semi-automatic weapons is pretty much the only solution we haven't tried. I hope I speak for all Americans when I say that almost anything is worth it, if it means saving innocent lives and making our schools more conducive to enjoyable learning.

Fear-laden learning environments should not be a reality in the United States, and yet they are. If lawmakers cannot find a way to recognize that funding by the NRA is not reason enough to continue placing innocent lives in jeopardy, then we have truly hit rock bottom. We have a problem in the United States, and until we admit that, we are going to continue experiencing extreme grief and mourning. We are going to continue losing students, teachers, friends, family, and people with bright futures.

Cover Image Credit: Associated Press

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