Artist Jenny Holzer says, “It’s better to be naive than jaded.” But it’s best to be both. At least that’s my position, and my excuse for the delusional optimism with which I ended my penultimate post. (Sorry I haven’t written anything of note since then; I’ve just been busy–not so much with work but with incessant arguing with my wife Jina about trivialities–isn’t that what life’s supposed to be all about? No? Oh. So there’s something else I got wrong too. Chalk up another one for the Gypper.)
The passage I’m referring to pertains to the state of North and South Korean relations. I’d read a headline in the New York Times that said that the former country’s new Dorky Dictator, Kim Jong Un (whose name should really be spelled “Kim Jeong Eun,” but I don’t want to start World War III over a fine point of transliteration), had agreed to sit down and chat with leaders from other countries in the neighborhood–Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia–along with the big boys on the other side of the puddle–my own personal red, white, and blue brethren–specifically that lot, in fact, about downsizing their nuclear program in exchange for food.
(By the way, have you ever noticed that nearly every news article about nuclear weapons or power(s) employs the anagrammatic modifier “unclear”? What’s up with that? If anyone knows the reason, please post a comment at the bottom of this piece.)
I wrote that this was good news indeed. Of course, when I went back and read the the article the headline was appended to, I learned that he’d also done some saber-rattling several days before, using his dad’s old mantra about turning Seoul into a “sea of fire” (he evidently said “flames”–hey, he’s his own man). A few days afterwards, I read two other, excellent, articles in the same paper, one entitled “A North Korean Corleone,” about how the isolated dictatorship is really more of a mafia-style business arrangement than anything else, the other about how the latest “Lil’ Kim” was most recently seen at the DMZ thumbing his nose at South Korean soldiers to increase his street cred with his homies.
This was a day or two after I spoke with a friend over beers about the matter, and he dismissed my positive forecast out of hand, saying Kim Jong un was just playing the usual game developed by Kim Jong-il, trying to scare their foes into giving them food, or at any rate keep us guessing, so he could afterwards flip us off behind our backs and scarf it down himself with his incestuous generals.
My friend added that some folks he knew in the U. S. military predicted that a North Korean invasion of this country (meaning South Korea) was not a matter of “if” but of “when.” He (my friend) said he’s glad to be getting out while the going’s good, even though the rest of us may end up becoming extra-crispy–and extra-large–pieces of fried chicken in the meantime.
I love South Korea. The people here are out of this world. But I also love not being burned alive until I look like a Giacometti sculpture (nothing against that great artist). So I’m hoping I can get my shit together before the other shit hits the fan, assuming it does. Granted, no one on earth can predict the future with one-hundred percent accuracy, not even the weatherman, and the real reason I need to get out is because my wife is a certifiable lunatic who’s dragging me under as if I were Captain Ahab and she were Moby-Dick. It’ll be a wonder if I survive the relationship anyway, and–who knows?–being incinerated by semi-genocidal maniacs might feel like a multiple orgasm by comparison.
Not that I’d like to find out.
Let’s hope cooler heads prevail; ditto the situation in Iran. (My wife calls me Palestine and I call her Israel.) If my homeland’s government is dumb and crazy enough to invade that country, Rick Santorum might as well already be president. We don’t want that twit Mahmoud Ahmedinejad (sp?) getting his hands on nukes, but do we really need to start yet another exorbitant and protracted war with a Middle Eastern country to prevent him from doing so?