Third in the birthday celebration series….
A recent article on the BBC Website raised an interesting question, and one of our eagle-eyed Special Correspondents sent it to me with the following comment, It seemed very appropriate on this day of saluting the accomplishments of David Miscavige.
Mike, I saw this article on the BC news website today and it reminded me of someone:
Wasn’t ‘Dear Leader’ followed everywhere and his every utterance recorded?
I know the comparison has been made before, but the more I look at the situation in the DPRK vs RCS, the less difference I see. Just waiting for Misk to issue an edict on approved haircuts…
This is an interesting observation about cults of personality.
Every spoken word of Dear Leader is considered to be invaluable and possibly contain some amazing new breakthrough that will help resolve a situation or forward the cause or deal with a crisis. His wisdom is infinite and one never knows when it might gush forth. Thus everything is recorded. Anyone who has been around him has seen this first hand.
Miscavige is a little more technically advanced than the leaders of North Korea. Note takers have been replaced by digital voice recorders. And there are always two of them, in case one fails and also to facilitate faster transcription so the babble can be rushed to the unfortunates who are supposed to try and decipher what it is that it means and then “comply with the COB orders.” (In spite of the perjured testimony of Allen Cartwright and Warren McShane that they know nothing about Compliance Reports to COB Orders).
Seems this is another hallmark of a cult leader.
Why is Kim Jong-un always surrounded by people taking notes?
There’s a newly released batch of photographs of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on a series of site visits. The dozens of photos all have one curious detail in common – the leader is surrounded by officials and generals making notes in identical notepads, writes Kathryn Westcott.
In the photographs – from the country’s official Central News Agency (KCNA) – Kim Jong-un observes a unit of women conducting a multiple-rocket launching drill. He strides around a fishery station. He gives a pilot on flight training a pep talk. He enjoys the facilities at a renovated youth camp.
But who are those men meticulously taking notes? They’re not journalists, but soldiers, party members or government officials, says Prof James Grayson, Korea expert at the University of Sheffield. What is happening is a demonstration of the leader’s supposed power, knowledge, wisdom and concern, says Grayson. It’s “on-the-spot guidance”, something instigated by his grandfather Kim Il-sung in the 1950s. “It’s part of the image of the great leader offering benevolent guidance,” says Grayson.
What might that guidance be? Well, if Kim’s anything like his grandfather it could be practical advice. Very specific practical advice. After Kim Il-sung visited a fishery in 1976, KCNA published this: “Watching a truck at work, the president said that its bucket seemed to be small in comparison with its horsepower. He said the problem of carriage would be solved if the bucket was enlarged. Afterwards the truck’s bucket capacity increased to two tons from 800 kg. As a result, 20 trucks were capable of carrying the load to be done by 50 trucks.”
Despite the fact that tablets are available in the country, paper notebooks remain the favoured medium. “These are pictures that will be broadcast on television and shown in the state media, so those who are there want to be seen recording Kim Jong-un’s every word,” says Grayson. “It’s about presenting him as having broad knowledge – however, it’s ridiculous, he can’t possibly know about all of these different things. It’s important, however, that the apparatchiks that surround him are seen to be hanging on his every word.”
According to Prof Steve Tsang, chair the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham, the note-takers will be writing extremely carefully. “They wouldn’t want to write down anything that was, say, politically inaccurate, or it might come back to bite them.” The notes are not usually published or available for the public to view, says Tsang. “If anything comes out of them, it would be via the propaganda department. Whether it was what was actually said, or is different to the guidance given at the time, doesn’t matter. No-one will ever question it. If you were at the factory and the advice that was released wasn’t quite what you had in your notebook – what are you going to do about it?”