They're starving for pizza!

>> Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Image via GlobalSecurity.orgWell here's a bit of insanity: it seems that the first pizza parlor in North Korea has just opened for business. As if that isn't amazing enough, it doesn't appear that they kidnapped any Italians to open it, either, which is a bit surprising (I guess the North Korean restaurant business is nothing like their film industry and educational system).

This is a country, of course, where the majority of the population is starving. They're dependent on foreign aid for what food they do have available. At night, basically the entire country goes dark, darker than rural China to the north, even. Hell, one suspects North Korea is like the Talking Heads' snarky description of London:

Dark, dark in the daytime
People sleep, sleep in the daytime
If they want to
If they want to


...only moreso. Assuming the current crazy guy lets them sleep.

Is there really a more insane place on Earth at this point? I don't merely mean awful or horrible. I don't really mean kind of eccentric or wacky. I don't just mean governed by one or more incompetents or lunatics. I mean that North Korea at this point has to be the most bugfuck-crazy nation in the world, and at this point it has to be the citizenry, too, since one imagines that the only reasonable way to cope with a country where nobody eats, but hey, oh look, we have a new pizzeria down the block, isn't that fucking swell, that's modernization for you, one imagines the only reasonable way to cope is to pretty much totally lose your mind.

I mean, hell, how else does one explain the lack of a coup at this point? Surely, one would think, there would come a point when a couple of generals would look at each other, shrug, and shoot Kim Jong-il in the face--I'm not an advocate of violence, not really, but what the hell? Now they could have a pizza party afterwards, and doesn't that just sum up how nuts the whole thing is right there?

But no, no coup. Instead... cooking school! Here's how they learn how to become restaurateurs in North Korea, according to the above-linked BBC article:

Italian chef Ermanno Furlanis was flown to North Korea in 1997 along with special pizza ovens.

In 2004, he described to the BBC how he had given lessons to three army officers who took copious notes and asked detailed questions such as how far apart olives should be placed on each pizza.


I can only hope he told the generals to make sure they were precisely 3.62 centimeters apart and not touching any pepperonis. At that point, what else are you going to say to a question like that as asked by a note-taking North Korean officer, presumably in full uniform and everything? I would have told the poor bastards to keep a ruler handy and to make sure the shredded mozzarella is aligned at perfect right angles in a crosshatch pattern.

Is your mind boggling? Mine is. It's boggling like mad.

6 comments:

Ilya Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 5:33:00 AM EDT  

I'd venture a guess that the generals you mention are doing quite fine and their families are doing quite fine. There is no incentive for a coup - in fact, the opposite may be true: A coup may release some forces that will make future life not so fine for those at the top.

It's the "regular" people who are starving. They, unfortunately, do not have means (weapons, communications, any sort of organization) to fight an oppression.

mattw Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 8:04:00 AM EDT  

I see you're from the 3.62 centimeter olive distribution school of pizza preparation, while I am from the no olives please school of pizza preparation.

And I've heard it said that any pizza you get West of Chicago ain't that good either, so the generals can have their pizza party but it probably wont be that satisfying.

John the Scientist Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 9:09:00 AM EDT  

Ilya's right. That's why Stalin never got a plumbum sandwich.

I hope he told them that the tolerance for the thickness of each olive slice should not be more than a 0.1 mm deviation. THAT will keep the bastards busy for a while.

vince Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 9:41:00 AM EDT  

I saw this last night on Rachael Maddow's show. It boggles the mind, it does.

Leanright,  Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 12:43:00 PM EDT  

Koreans and Pizza. Pizza and Koreans. My Korean in-laws used to own the Pizza Galley in Huntington Beach, CA. It's been gone for a while. Prior to that, their Pizza place in Koreatown in LA burned down in the LA Riots.

The best shot at Korean Pizza poducts in LA now is:
www.mrpizzafactory.com

Leanright,  Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 12:45:00 PM EDT  

Actually here....
http://www.mrpizza.co.kr/GLOBAL/eng/index.php

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