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DB Lampoon: Propaganda Pop!

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Stumbling into North Korea with Friendly Father trending on TikTok, Peter Sherwood has an illuminating chat with the Minister of Tourism

An invitation to North Korea in June to meet the Minister of Tourism was masochistically irresistible. I recorded our conversation: “On behalf of our supreme leader, aka the Friendly Father, I welcome you to the magnificent Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, Mr Shertree. As you can see, we have a bountiful range of luxury goods, with the finest European brands hand-made by thousands of dedicated workers in a secure environment protected by a high fence and razor wire to keep out the patents’ thieves.” But… “Only the best, Mr Woodwood: Guchy, Looey Viton, Kartier etc., better than French and Italian and a tenth the price.”

But… “Our supreme leader takes care of all his people. As you can see, a free 24-hour buffet.” But… “Free TV, hot showers and a free massage.” But… “Our wonderful leader is a busy man, working to complete his ingenious perpetual motion machine, and yet he manages – as you can see – to give the people time off to relax in comfort.” But, hey, we’re in the VIP lounge at the airport!

“Do you play golf, Mr Treewood?” No, I hate it. “Good, then you are invited to play our recently opened world’s best 19-hole golf course, designed by our supreme leader, who made the famous Jack Nicklaus courses obsolete.” Nineteen holes? “We are setting new standards for the game, and even your Mr Lion Woods has congratulated our great leader who played the first round on opening day with a score of…” Let me guess: 19 strokes. “Precisely.”

Can you take me to the countryside to see some villages, I hear there are food problems. “Yes, indeed, Mr Branchwood, huge shortages of food for the masses. We’re running low on Atlantic salmon, bluefin tuna, Beluga caviar and Tasmanian scallops, to say nothing of free-range chicken, truffles, goose liver paté, Maryland crab and emu eggs, chestnut soup, organic herbs and petit fours. The cheese shortage is scandalous. We are right out of Bleu d’ Auvergne and Brie de Meau. Yes, a worrying situation, Mr Treeroot, and not at all as your corrupt Western media reports.” But… “Your lying media will be crushed by America’s great Orange Man in Havana.” You mean Florida. “Yes, your man Mr Trumpet will set things straight as a close friend of our leader.”

Is it true you have one of the strongest militaries in the world? “We have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the Earth a hundred times, and almost as many assault weapons as Texas families.” What about your 200,000 political prisoners? “Rubbish. Special guests who have volunteered for our benevolent personal development camp: emotional intelligence, meditation, mindfulness and yoga.

As for architecture, Mr Woodworm, our supreme leader designed the world’s tallest building, the magnificent Ryugong hotel, a staggering 330 metres tall, and pyramid-shaped.” Hang on, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is the tallest at 829 metres. “Not so, Mr Woodtree. You see, our brilliant leader fooled the world by building 500 metres of it underground, making it the highest by 1 metre! Pure genius. And another thing, Mr Timberwood, in 2015 our supreme leader played tennis at the Supreme Hall of the Supreme Leader against your R. Redefer and beat him 6-0 6-0. Not many people know that.”

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