More on the New York Philharmonic

Friday, February 29, 2008

While I know some of you out there think I'm a cold heartless cynic - it's not true. I'm not the only one who thought the NY Philharmonic's journey to North Korea was a sham:

Chosun Ilbo: Philharmonic Concert Seen as 'Half Success' for Kim Jong-il

What did North Korean leader Kim Jong-il gain from the New York Philharmonic's concert in Pyongyang? Why didn't he attend the performance as expected? Pundits said that the orchestra's performance was a "half success" for Kim. Kim Sung-han, a professor at Korea University, said, "The performance gave us the impression that North Korea is a 'normal country' where cultural activities are possible." Kim Keun-sik, a professor of North Korean Studies at Kyungnam University, said, "Attracting worldwide attention, the orchestra conveyed a message calling for the normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and North Korea."
WSJ: How Pyongyang Plays the West

The timing is fortuitous, since the months from February to April mark the annual highpoint of the North's personality cult ritual. And two or three years from now, the regime will almost certainly publish a new installment of Immortal Leadership, a series of novels celebrating the main triumphs of the Dear Leader's rule. The story will be simple: Kim tests nuke, Washington protests, Kim hangs tough, Washington sends musicians to entertain him. And isn't that a fairly accurate version of events?
All right - maybe I am a cold heartless cynic - at least I'm in good company though.