Political Animal


February 28, 2013 1:10 PM You’ve Got a Friend

By Ed Kilgore

I wasn’t going to write about Dennis Rodman’s weird good-will trip to North Korea, or whatever it is, until it just got too surreal to ignore, per this report from AP’s Jean Lee:

Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman hung out Thursday with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on the third day of his improbable journey to Pyongyang, watching the Harlem Globetrotters with the leader and later dining and drinking with him at his palace….
Dressed in a blue Mao suit, Kim laughed and slapped his hands on the table before him during the game as he sat nearly knee to knee with Rodman. Rodman, the man who once turned up in a wedding dress to promote his autobiography, wore a dark suit and dark sunglasses, but still had on his nose rings and other piercings. A can of Coca-Cola sat on the table before him in photos shared with AP by VICE….
Thursday’s game ended in a 110-110 draw, with two Americans playing on each team alongside North Koreans, [VICE Media spokesman] Detrick said. The Xinhua News Agency first reported on the game, citing witnesses who attended.
After the game, Rodman addressed Kim in a speech before a crowd of tens of thousands of North Koreans, telling him, “You have a friend for life,” Detrick said.
At a lavish dinner at Kim’s palace, the leader plied the group with food and drinks as the group made round after round of toasts, members of the delegation said.
“Um … so Kim Jong Un just got the (hash)VICEonHBO crew wasted … no really, that happened,” VICE producer Jason Mojica wrote on his Twitter feed from Pyongyang.

It’s a shame Rodman wasn’t around last year to hang with his friend for this performance:

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Quaker in a Basement on February 28, 2013 1:43 PM:

    This has to be the most elaborate prank ever played on a Stalinist dictator. Has anyone checked in with the people at Guinness?

  • MR on February 28, 2013 1:49 PM:

    I just dont know what to say about this one. This probably would never have happening under his father. Maybe North Korea will gradually open up more, who knows.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on February 28, 2013 1:58 PM:

    Weird... Really weird...

    I'll admit to not knowing shit about shit when it comes to North Korea, but Kim Jong Un is definitely coming off a bit like a creepy little fuck with his idiosyncratic tastes in western culture.

    If I didn't know any better I'd say his interest in Dennis Rodman--of all people--and Disney characters speaks of future thawed relations with the US. Nahhhhh!!! This is more like a self-absorbed and spoiled playboy having one big, long epic party pissing away his inheritance (but not really) now that his old man has croaked and isn't around to put a boot in his ass.

    The man is a nut, I tell you. Just wait...

  • boatboy_srq on February 28, 2013 2:56 PM:

    Kim Jong-Un seems more and more like a lower-key Gustaf Graves before.

  • Decatur Dem on February 28, 2013 4:13 PM:

    Favorite exchange from MIB:
    Elle: Hey, Jay! Zed called. The high consulate from Solaxiant 9 wants floor seats for the next Bulls game.
    Jay: All right, let's put in a call to Dennis Rodman. He's from that planet.
    Elle: Rodman? You're kidding.
    Jay: Nope.
    Elle: Not much of a disguise.

  • zandru on February 28, 2013 5:47 PM:

    We may laugh, but Rodman's trip is more likely to result in future diplomatic progress than standoffish demonization and refusal to deal with Mr. Kim, "because he's a very bad man."

    See, in the current atmosphere of Xtreem Polarization, we forget why we all used to hate politicians: They would get together with The Enemy, fraternize, backslap, ... and make deals. All "purity" was lost - but small progresses were made.

    Now, our pols (at least on the Republican side) are Pure and we have gridlock. We don't want to do the same thing on the diplomatic front.