The Dear Reader: DPRK Observations & Musings


William Leith Interviews Dennis Rodman

First of all, you need to know a little bit about the man behind the Irish Examiner byline. Veteran British journalist William Leith has trodden, for lack of a better, quick analogy, a UK path Hunter S. Thompson would have approved of.

He has also, now, delivered the best interview piece about The Worm’s DPRK diplomat phase. Mainly because he frames Dennis Rodman sympathetically.


Leith has no interest in simply calling out Rodman as a boor who should not be fraternizing with the head of a gulag nation. He wants to understand what motivates a guy like Rodman to cover his body with 100 tattoos, protest Carmen Electra‘s invasion of his body temple and connect NK to the First World/global manufacturing system divide:

At some point, Rodman’s precise argument bypasses me. But, as his rant becomes more effusive, I pick up his gist. It is, I think: North Korea might be bad, but lots of other places, places that make our shoes, are bad, too. Also, it’s not all the Marshal’s fault. The repressive system is not something he built — it’s something he inherited. “Remember that recession shit?” says Rodman, waving his cigar. “Well, no one knows that shit!”

It suddenly occurs to me that the reason he calls the UK “the BK” might be because of the American sneaker brand British Knights. Opening his arms, he encompasses China in his argument: “Instead of having 10 motherf*cking kids, it’s only three! No more than three now! After that, it’s a bitch! And no one knows that shit! You can’t have kids no more!”

This is the 2013 Rodman profile to beat. It’s got the same rich flavor as a glossy monthly magazine feature for which reporters get to spend much more time with their subject(s), minus the inconvenient publication wait time. Leith also shares some hysterical anecdotal background on Paddy Power, the company sponsoring Rodman‘s January 2014 friendly DPRK basketball match. (“Get your money back if the Pope is black.”)

Not to mention some revisiting of Rodman’s Bacchanal-ian, thrice-repeated personal body injury. Bravo Mr. Leith. Bravo!

Filed under: Kim Jong-un

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