Thursday 19 November 2009

Journalese in North Korea

I was looking, as is my wont (I just hurled myself at a dictionary and discovered that wont (habit) doesn't relate to want (desire) at all. One comes from the Anglo Saxon gewunian meaning to be accustomed to and the other from the Old Norse vanta meaning to lack)...

As I was saying: I was just looking, as is my wont, at the North Korean News Agency's website. It's almost the only place on the internet where I can get all the facts I need about power stations and "profitable lag" without all the late-capitalist gobbledegook and propaganda that you find in Western "so-called" newspapers.

A lot of doom-mongering nay-sayers will tell you that North Korea has fallen a tad behind the West in areas like "human rights" and "not starving". However, I'm pleased to see that this is not true of its journalism. Glancing at the main page of headlines I saw with indescribable delight:




When blasted and lauded have replaced the outmoded and decadent criticised and praised, a "rush ahead towards the victory of building a great prosperous and powerful nation with redoubled courage and full of confidence, with great pride of making revolution as a member of Kim Il Sung's nation under the leadership of the great Workers' Party of Korea" simply cannot be far behind. Indeed, I would imagine that it's almost inevitable.

Intrepid DPRK reporters have even mastered the journalist's passive where you have no idea who is doing the verb (although to be fair it says in the body of the lauded article that the lauder is one Jorge Pereyra who glories in the title of "general secretary of the Extraordinary Congress Communist Party of Argentina").

The next editor of the Sunday Telegraph?

Hat tip to Foam and Skies for reminding me of this.

1 comment:

  1. Mr Dogberry,

    first of all, allow me to perform some lauding of my own, in your direction. I think you will agree that in the long run we shall not be served well by the tone of discourse on display in our most recent exchange. I generally find your postings to be most inspiring.

    Then, please accept this modest contribution to your investigative efforts regarding North Korea and its press:

    Jorge Pereyra is indeed a lead to be pursued! Back in my traveling days, I saw him play for an Argentinian club de futbol called Godoy Cruz (in the Mendoza province, mid-1970s, if my memory serves me right). Unassuming, yet somehow powerful, merely by presence. I would say straight out of a meditation by Dr Everet Lapel (, had I not observed his play myself.

    Best wishes,
    Edmund M. Grady