All that comes to mind is, “I hope the people of Ypsilanti react this way when I die”

In other news, dissident Czech playwright turned politician, Václav Havel, has died. I feel bad for him that he had to die on the same day as Kim Jong Il. He deserved better than to be eclipsed by the little cult leader in the olive green track suit. But, people would rather talk about how Kim Jong Il’s death will impact their favorite sitcom than explore the ideas articulated by Havel… Here, with that in mind, is one of my favorite quotes from the former President of the Czech Republic.

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.

As for Jong Il, I think that Tumblr VP Andrew McLaughlin said it best.

This is really otherworldly. And terrifying. It’s depressing to be reminded that it’s possible, with energetic and relentless propaganda, surveillance, and oppression, to delude vast numbers of human beings into genuine feelings of attachment to, and dependence on, a brutal sociopath responsible for the degradation and humiliation of millions, and the starvation and murder of millions more.

Watching the effects of a lifetime of propaganda and information control is a powerful spur to renew our commitment to freedom of speech and conscience, as well as to the protection of individual dignity. It’s an opportune moment for the Internet activist community to make a sustained push to subvert state control of networks and information flows in North Korea.


And, while we’re at it, how about we also do the same thing here, in America, and stop SOPA?

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  1. Edward
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Who knows what the people of North Korea really think? For all we know, they could be publicly wailing about his death because they don’t want to shot for not doing so.

  2. More Al
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    If I were Havel, I might be delighted by the postmortem juxtaposition:

    “We’ve become morally ill because we are used to saying one thing and thinking another. We have learned not to believe in anything, not to care about each other. Love, friendship, mercy, humility or forgiveness have lost their depths and dimension. They represent some sort of psychological curiosity, or they appear as long-lost wanderers from faraway times …”

    -Václav Havel

  3. Eel
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Yours is one funeral pyre that no one would be able to stop me from jumping on, Mark.

  4. Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    This video is quite interesting. Clearly, the people featured are the most well-off of all North Koreans and thus the most obligated to hysterically beat the ground on behalf of their sole political benefactor.

    More interesting is, despite the intense (likely feigned) emotional reactions of the people featured in the video, the crowds are quite small. The background is nearly empty.

  5. Eel
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Smugly, I think to myself, nothing this silly would happen in America.

    Then I remember what America is really like.

  6. Timo
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ve often found myself dreaming of Mark’s demise, and how I might greet the news. In my favorite scenario, I’m drinking a beer in one of his Maynardtown (formerly Water Street) bars. The place is called Maynard’s, and I’m drinking a Maynard, which is a PBR poured through the skull of his arch nemesis. The news comes via the robotic bartender, who looks like Anton LaVey. He tells me that Mark has died in the act of fathering his 100th son. I finish my drink, and walk slowly into the Huron. I submerge, and, at some point, the bubbles stop coming to the surface.

  7. j
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t think the people in the people are faking it. North Korea is just a really really weird place. 50 years of genocidal colonialism and war followed by 50 years of personality cult and isolation will do that.

    Murderous dictatorship should not be this entertaining:

  8. Feliz Arbor
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    When Mark meets his end, choking to death on the beard of Patrick Elkins, I will throw the biggest party that Ann Arbor has ever seen. And, upon getting all of my fellow Annarbourites liquored up, I will lead them into Ypsi. We will dismantle your water tower. We will pee in your river. We will open 7-11s on every corner. We will run out the riffraff. We will change the name of your city to East Arbor. And we will make a fortune selling the property out from under you. All of this will happen upon the death of Mark Maynard, when you are defenseless and demoralized. There will be no successor. We will not allow it.

  9. Rebate
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    j……….spot on! If you notice…………..No tears!

  10. TaterSalad
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure the left wing loons will do this if Barack Obama caught the “virus” and passed on. Especially, Chris “Tingles” Mathews! Johnny Cash ……….no way!

    What do Johnny Cash and Barack Obama have in common? Nothing!

  11. TaterSalad
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I with j and rebate………….no tears! Same will happen with Bill Clinton and a picture of Hillary is taken.

  12. Kristin
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Farrah Fawcett died on the same day as Michael Jackson. I always thought that was unfair.

  13. Eel
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Asians can’t make tears. I thought everyone knew that.

  14. Meta
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    We’ve got another month to work on SOPA. The Judiciary committee meeting schedueld for this week has been postponed.

    This is a welcome development, as it means the committee will likely not resume consideration of SOPA until the final week of January, or even later. The Senate version of the bill, known as the Protect IP Act, is scheduled for a vote on Jan. 24.

    Keep taking action against these bills by sending emails to your senators and to your representative in the House. The Daily Kos community has sent over 50,000 emails so far.,-again?detail=hide

  15. Anonymous Mike
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I never would have made the analogy, but, now that I hear it, you are kind of like Ypsi’s Kim Jong Il.

  16. LisaD
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s so good to live in a sane country, unlike those silly North Koreans.

    Sorry, been reading a little too much Derrick Jensen. That’s not good for one’s state of mind (he’s a bit like Kunstler, but more poetic) and he talks a lot about how we are so bought into culture where more people care about (or think it is acceptable to care about) which celebrities are divorcing than the destruction of our own natural world. If you think about that – really think about this – we seem just as crazy.

    Or as he says: “When people in this culture ask, ‘How can we stop global warming?’ that’s not really what they’re asking. They’re asking ‘How can we stop global warming, without significantly changing this lifestyle that is causing global warming in the first place?’ The answer is that you can’t. It’s a stupid, absurd, and insane question. Destroying the world is what this culture DOES. It’s what is has done from the beginning.”

  17. Emma
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Kristin, here is a joke:
    Farrah Fawcett goes to heaven, God grants her one wish. “Please God”, says Farrah, “my wish is that all of the children in all of the world will be safe from harm”…

  18. People of America
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Farrah Fawcett is dead?
    Why don’t people tell me when shit like this happens?
    Next you’re gonna tell me Lee majors has cancer.

  19. Elliott Snood
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Someone should Swede this video.

  20. Homebrew
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink


    Dawud Walid, Exec. director of CAIR, Michigan Chapter targets Muslims who oppose radical Islam.

  21. alan2102
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Mark: “Andrew McLaughlin said it best. [?]
    ‘This is really otherworldly. And terrifying. It’s depressing to be reminded that it’s possible, with energetic and relentless propaganda, surveillance, and oppression, to delude vast numbers of human beings into genuine feelings of attachment to, and dependence on, a brutal sociopath responsible for the degradation and humiliation of millions, and the starvation and murder of millions more.'”

    Yeah? I’m not so sure.

    Sounds like a statement from the U.S. State Department. Or perhaps the CIA. Or some other imperialistic neocon propaganda-mill.

    “#7. Kim Jong Il, the recently deceased North Korean leader–literally depicted in South Korean children’s books as a red devil with horns and fangs [8]–has been equally demonized in the Western mass media for starving his people. It is true that food shortages have plagued the country. But the vilifying Kim obituaries don’t mention why North Koreans are hungry. The answer is sanctions. [9] US foreign policy, like that of the Allied powers in WWI toward Germany, has been to starve its adversary into submission. This isn’t acknowledged, for obvious reasons. First, it would reveal the inhumane lengths to which US foreign policy is prepared to reach to secure its goals. And second, North Korean hunger must be used to discredit public ownership and a central planning as a workable economic model. North Koreans are hungry, the anti-Communist myth goes, because socialism doesn’t work. The truth of the matter is that North Koreans are hungry because Washington has made them so. Not surprisingly, calls by humanitarian groups for the United States to deliver food aid are being brushed aside with a litany of bizarre excuses, the latest being that food aid can’t be delivered because Kim Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-eun, has succeeded him. [10] Huh? The real reason food aid won’t be delivered is because it would contradict US foreign policy. The United States once considered the death of half a million Iraqi children “worth it”. [11] Its leaders would consider the sanctions-produced demise through starvation of as many North Koreans worth it, as well.”
    “[the leaders of the] semi-chauvinist American left…will demand obeisance to the war propaganda of Washington, and will carry on at great length about Stalinism, and dictatorship, and police states, and Michael Lerner, who says nothing about Kim Jong-Il today, will, on the eve of the destruction of North Korea by his own government, ask you to join him in condemning the United States for its aggression, and Kim too for his ‘morally outrageous behavior and genocidal policies.’ The beneficiary, as always, will be Washington and the investor class it represents; the losers, the investor class’s victims, and anyone who hopes for something more humane, more rational, and more congenial, than the primacy of US capitalism.”

  22. alan2102
    Posted December 31, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Mark: do you think that Andrew McLaughlin would be depressed to be reminded that it’s possible, with energetic and relentless propaganda, surveillance, and oppression, to delude vast numbers of human beings into genuine feelings of attachment to, and dependence on, brutal sociopaths responsible for the degradation and humiliation of millions, and the starvation and murder of millions more? Said brutal sociopaths being the POTUS and other political leaders and corporate owners of the U.S.

    Amnesty International botches blame for North Korea’s crumbling healthcare
    July 20, 2010
    “Economic sanctions are, at their core, a war against public health.” —The New England Journal of Medicine [1]
    By Stephen Gowans
    “If we recognize that ‘economic sanctions are, at their core, a war against public health’ and acknowledge, as a former US president has, that North Korea is ‘the most sanctioned nation in the world,’ it is difficult not to draw the obvious conclusion: that North Korea’s crumbling healthcare system and ‘great leap backwards’ are not due in large measure to Pyongyang’s ‘failed or counterproductive’ policies, but to the inhumane policies of the United States, Japan and South Korea.”
    “As the North Korea specialist Tim Beal points out, Western propaganda invokes economic mismanagement as the explanation for North Korea’s collapsing economy, despite an obvious alternative explanation: sanctions. ‘The results – those malnourished babies,’ Beal wrote prophetically three years ago, ‘can be blamed on the Koreans, which in turn is produced as evidence that the sanctions are desirable and necessary.'[8]”
    “Sanctions of Mass Destruction
    ‘In contrast to war’s easily observable casualties, the apparently nonviolent consequences of economic intervention seem like an acceptable alternative. However, recent reports suggest that economic sanctions can seriously harm the health of persons who live in targeted nations.’ [9] This has been well established and widely accepted in the cases of Iraq in the 1990s and the ongoing US blockade of Cuba. Political scientists John Mueller and Karl Mueller wrote an important paper in Foreign Affairs, in which they showed that economic sanctions ‘may have contributed to more deaths during the post-Cold War era than all weapons of mass destruction throughout history.'[10]”

  23. K2
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone else happen to see this on the Huffington Post?

    You’d better watch out, you’d better cry. You’d better pout, I’m telling you why: North Korea’s punishing insincere mourners, according to the Daily NK.

    An anonymous source tells the Daily NK, a South Korea-based publication in opposition of the North Korean regime, that “authorities are handing down at least six months in a labor-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organized gatherings” to mourn the death of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il, and to those “who did participate but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine.”

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