Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dictators as authors

It is surprising that a number of people who want to rule with an iron fist would like to be grasping a pen in the other hand while they're doing it. It is probably not surprising that they're not particularly adept at it. We're not talking Mao's Little Red Book here; we're talking fiction and poetry, like Muammar al-Quaddafi's tale "The Astronaut's Suicide," the subject of which is exactly what the title says. The kicker? It's meant as a children's book. And he's not alone. 'If North Korean propaganda is to be believed, Dear Leader is the world's most prolific writer. Kim Jong Il claims to have written 1,500 books -- and that was just during his college years... According to B.R. Myers, author of several books about North Korea, Kim's books aren't actually meant to be read. "This is not a country like China where citizens are expected to read and learn by heart a dictator's work," Myers says. "In North Korea, it's more about reading about the dictator's life. If you actually ask North Koreans about the content of Kim Jong Il's writings, they know very little and they get embarrassed about that." ' More... (via)

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