Bend It Like Kim Jong
The Hermit Kingdom of North Korea saw a bit of the outside world this week. The L.A. Times reports North Korean state television placated its citizenry with a one-hour cut of the 2002 Gurinder Chadha sports comedy, Bend It Like Beckham. Because no matter how autocratic and crazy King Jong Il might be, his people still love them some soccer. For comparison, U.S. cuts of the film run a heartier one hundred and twelve minutes… but you know how it is: censoring allows the censor to justify more censorship. And so on.
Yet dissidents and defectors report that – as usual – laws are for poor people. The “few in Pyongyang,” with “disposable income have access to Western DVDs, South Korean sitcoms and even pornography smuggled in from China.”
Reading this, I take a moment to consider the less fortunate. Those who risk life and limb for the poor, huddled masturbators of Pyongyang…Hamhung…Kanggye… and all points in between. Forget Larry Flynt and forget all his dirty money. These anonymous smugglers are my new heroes of pornography. They’re certainly doing more to fight for freedom than Flynt’s done in forty years. And yes, now that you ask, I probably would say that to his face… though I’d have to bend over to look him in the eye, setting up all kinds of bad jokes. Much like Kim Jong Il opened his regime up to ridicule by airing Bend it Like Beckham.
I mean, my God… Bend It Like Beckham is the Mighty Ducks of soccer movies. The blandest, thinnest, boring-est, most flaccidly formulaic fish-out-of-water-sports-comedy not featuring Emilo Estevez made in the last twenty years. No wonder it escaped the censors. Its presence on state TV makes a better case for regime change than Dick Cheney on his best day with Scaremonger Mode fully engaged. I’m half-tempted to start a humanitarian NGO for the express purpose of bringing good movies to North Korea. But I suppose I should be focusing on the whole “good government thing” first. Assuming “good government” is anything other than an oxymoron.