For some reason, yesterday's Supreme Court decision made me think about another place where government bureaucrats run every aspect of their citizen-subject's lives.
It's an Obamaland over there, with nothing but rules, regulations, and government "oversight." Here, for instance, is how you become a stand-up comic in the Hermit Kingdom. From The North Korea Blog:
“Student must to be funny,” [the North Korean official] explained. “Making other kids laughing. Teacher must to notice and recommend. Then they go to the school for the comedy.”
Once a teacher recommends a student for the profession, the student appears in front of a panel of judges (think Flashdance,but with jokes). If approved, he will eventually perform in local clubs, where he will make up for the dearth of Kim Jong-il impressions with a solid repertoire of [anatomy] jokes, which account for more than half of local humor. (Our guides shared the North Korean affinity for phallic quips in the exquisite Songam Cavern, going so far as to ask me which stalagmite “looked like mine.” Our laughter echoed in the cave.) Surprisingly for a country that embraces its Dionysian impulses, there is no two-drink minimum—there is no alcohol served in the comedy clubs at all. Imagine how hard those comedians have to work for a laugh.
What do comedians make fun of, if not religion and politics? Without those pillars of stand-up, what else is there?
Our other tour guide, a porcelain face in her twenties, giggled.
“You want to know? OK. There is a boy. And he keeps saying that he has to pee. All day he is saying that he has to pee. So his mother tells him, it is rude to say you have to pee. If you have to pee, just say you have to sing.
“That night he wakes up because he has to pee. So he wakes up his father and he tells him, ‘Father, father, I have to sing.’
“And the father says, ‘OK, but do it quietly in my ear.’”
Which is not the worst joke I've ever heard. It's adequate. Sort of a C+ kind of joke.
Just like American health care, after 2014.