The Corner

North Korea: A Column and a Headline

The first item in my Impromptus today is a long one (the rest are shorties). It’s about Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong-il. He was murdered in Malaysia last week by his half-brother Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of Kim Jong-il, and the current dictator of North Korea. (Kim Jong-nam was passed over for the job.) I wrote about this crew in my 2015 book, Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators.

Here on the Corner, I’d like to say one thing. It is tempting to be jokey about North Korea, and jokey can be good. For example, I loved what the South Park guys did with Kim Jong-il. Was Charlie Chaplin helpful in his skewering of Hitler? There is an interesting debate on that.

Anyway, gallows humor can be a release, among other things. But I’ll tell you something: For about two seconds, I headed my column today “Brother bumps off brother, &c.” Headline-writers have a great weakness for (a) the punchy and (b) the alliterative.

For years, I have said that there are headline-writers in this world who would title a piece about the Holocaust, “Six Million, Deep-Sixed!”

I looked at “Brother bumps off brother, &c.” and said, “Nah, too cutesy.” I changed it to something soberer: “The Kim assassination, &c.” If you feel like cutesy, I got other items!