Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Samantha Bee and North Korea

I don't know if Samantha Bee's show gets the viewership it deserves. It's sharply written and usually divergent from everything else on television.

Her recent segment on North Korea is an example:

(I hear the embedded video may not be showing up for everyone... so here's a link to it on YouTube.)

Most of the six-minute segment is an interview with Christine Ahn of the Korea Policy Institute. Ahn points out that the Kim family was able to establish its dictatorship because 80 percent of North Korea was destroyed by U.S. bombing during the early 1950s, more bombs than were dropped in all of Europe during World War II. (Have you ever heard that fact before? I haven't.)

When Bee asks her "Why have the Kims been such shitheads to their people?", she replies:

Well it depends on what you mean by shitheads. I mean, if it means having the world’s largest prison population, mass surveillance of its citizens’ communications, systematic discrimination against one group of people spending far more on its military than on the well-being of its people... I think we have to ask the very same question of our own government.
Some other things I learned:
  • It sounds as though the image of the U.S. and Americans in North Korea is about as distorted as the image we have of North Korea and its people. 
  • And Dennis Rodman actually managed to be a fairly effective emissary of peace. According to Ahn:
To have an African American, with tattoos and piercings, come to the country — I think that was awesome. To really disrupt their narrative or their stereotypes about Americans.
So check out Full Frontal with Samantha Bee in general! It's only on once a week, so it's not too hard to keep up.

Bee's earlier interview with Russian expat journalist Masha Gessen was also a must-watch that I forgot to mention when it aired in January 2017 (there must have been a lot else going on then, huh?).

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