Tonight, moreso than any previous Halloween, a gaggle of would-be Kim Jong-il‘s will be saddling up to good-looking women at parties and warbling, “Tlick or tleat?” And if one or more of these Dear Leader dress-ups happens to be at the same place as a costumed Laura Ling, Euna Lee and-or Bill Clinton (or if a pint-sized Jong shows up tonight on the doorstep of Laura and husband Iain Clayton‘s North Hollywood home), then August history may repeat itself in, respectively, amusing and awkward fashion.
However, thanks to Japanese writer and long-time KJi conspiracy theorist Toshimitsu Shigemura, tonight’s Slim Shady Dictator ranks will also conjure up conversation about a fascinating new slant: the idea that Clinton met on August 4th in Pyongyang not with Kim Jong-il #1 but rather KJi #2 or – perish the thought – KJi #3.
Shigemura is no crackpot; once a reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, he now teaches international relations at Tokyo‘s Waseda University. Still, while long-time Asia beat journalist Donald Kirk and others concede that there is little doubt Kim Jong-il has people stand in for him at some public appearances, they firmly believe the big Clinton pow-wow was not such an instance.
Nevertheless, the James Bond-like scenario of a craftily schooled evil twin has understandably captured the public’s imagination; even America’s number one pundit, @EbertChicago, couldn’t help but retweet the idea as a tantalizing question. Bottom line: whether Kim Jong-il died years ago or was simply too sick to glad-hand Clinton for three hours and 17 minutes on the evening of the 4th, this year’s most Oscar-worthy Best Actor candidate may reside in a land where the import of Academy screeners is punishable by death.