When not busy developing nuclear weapons or purchasing oversized garden animals, Kim Jong Il uses his spare time to cultivate a "robust" animation industry in North Korea. It ain't exactly Warner Bros.—the cartoons are designed to "implant into the minds of children warm patriotism and towering hatred for the enemy," according to official news agency KCNA. I'm not sure if that's also the underlying message in today's Thursday Video, episode 27 of the hit series A Squirrel and a Hedgehog. Politics aside, the technical and artistic skill is pretty impressive for a country that can't even feed itself:
The skill of North Korean animators is so well-regarded, in fact, that South Korean studios often farm out work to them. The industry is one of the few legitimate sources of foreign currency for Kim Jong Il's rogue regime.
Even more advanced computer animation is sometimes done in the hermit kingdom. As early as 2002 North Korea was producing episodes of the popular Lazy Cat Dinga, a Korean series evidently inspired by the American Garfield. The cat's taste for delivery pizza and lazy indulgence mean the show hasn't been broadcast in the North, which of course has neither of those things. But in South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia, Dinga has been the smiling face of one of the few exports of a very unsmiling government:
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.| Passport |