Sexy dictator satire produces red faces at the People’s Daily

Wednesday, 28 November, 2012

“No doubt, few would seriously describe Kim Jong-Un as sexy, much less as the world’s sexiest man. Nor would many people equate People’s Daily with sexiness. But if there’s one place in the world willing — or, at least, desiring — to believe that a foreign publication would praise him in such a way, it’s certainly the English-language edition of People’s Daily.” So writes Adam Minter, the Shanghai correspondent for Bloomberg’s World View blog.

Backstory: Kim Jong-Un, the 28-year-old leader of North Korea, was named the Sexiest Man Alive by The Onion earlier this month. The People’s Daily, a Chinese Communist Party publication, ran a massive 55-image slideshow article about Jong-Un’s, er, magnetism, while citing The Onion. Unfortunately, the comrades didn’t quite get the satire. Red faces all round, and a sheepish 404 page now for all those who’d like a good laugh at this latest example of dictator adoration.

Why do the mouthpieces of totalitarian regimes keep falling for this kind of thing? “In three distinct ways, the Onion’s satire was perfectly engineered to appeal to editorial biases — some might call them blind spots — at the English edition of People’s Daily,” writes Adam Minter in “Why China’s People’s Daily Found Kim Jong-Un So Sexy“.

Over to The Onion: “With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true… He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time.” Loved the new bit tacked on to the end: “For more coverage on The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People’s Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades.”

Dictator affairs

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