The Ironical Chronicle

October 2, 2003

Documents Show Extent of Psychopathology


The Korean Central News Agency, the official news agency of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, released a news item datelined Pyongyang, September 27 which started out:

U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld reportedly let loose a string of malignant vituperation against the DPRK at a luncheon hosted by the Association of U.S. and South Korean Businessmen. Nonsensically, he said that it is necessary to make sure that the rays of freedom reach the oppressed north Koreans, asserting that a satellite photo shows the rays of freedom on one part of the Korean peninsula and the darkness of dictatorship on the other part of it and that communism there is tottering.

This latter remark is a rich field for irony, given the American success in bringing the rays of freedom to Iraq. However, an interesting characterization by the north Koreans comes a few paragraphs later:

His outbursts, therefore, can not be construed otherwise than a desperate shrill cry of a psychopath on his death bed. [Emphasis mine.]

This characterization of the Bush regime and its propaganda apparat as psychopathic gained currency after the US media gloated over the dead bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons. If the obsession with the mutilation of the human body is psychopathic, and I suspect that it is, then we have some new evidence that this diagnosis by the north Koreans has merit.

The following quotation is from an article in the August 4, 2003 issue of the New Yorker magazine, pp. 26-34, entitled "The Search For Osama," by Jane Mayer.

Soon after this episode, I visited the office of Cofer Black, a veteran of the C.I.A. whom President Bush appointed last year to be the State Department's co÷rdinator for counter-terrorism. If Black was disappointed about the failure to find bin Laden, he did not betray it. He leaned forward across the coffee table separating us and said emphatically, "The guy's a goner. The only question is whether he'll be arrested in cuffs or taken dead. He deserves to die."

If bin Laden was killed, Black continued, the world would demand proof. "You'd need some DNA," he said. "There's a good way to do it. Take a machete, and whack off his head, and you'll get a bucketful of DNA, so you can see it and test it. It beats lugging the whole body back!" [Emphasis mine.]

Is the last sentence a bureaucratic rationalization for the gratuitous mutilation which this psychopath just blurted out? In the 1960's, when the CIA guided the Bolivian Army in successfully tracking down and killing Che Guevara with a bullet while his hands were tied behind his back, they were satisfied with photographs of Che's body in repose. Not any more.

Here's another example of gloating over mutilation of the human body. This time the mutilation is symbolic and the gloating is by none other than the NY Times.

In its edition of September 29, 2003, the NY Times published an article on an exhibition in Berlin devoted to everyday life as it was lived in the German Democratic Republic (communist East Germany). I know from personal experience that there is a great deal of interest and nostalgia on the part of Germans for this country which vanished with the Cold War victory of capitalism. The reasons for this are interesting indeed, but not relevent to this essay.

What is relevent is that the Times chose to feature at the head of this article a photograph of the partially completed massive statue depicting Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It was ultimately cast in bronze and in 1986 it was installed near the Palast der Republik, where it stands today. It is a major tourist attraction in the former East Berlin.

Rather than show the completed statue, which its prejudices will not allow it to do, it grasped the opportunity to symbolically mutilate these two men by showing a picture in which the upper torso of both them has not yet been installed. The Times obviously finds this to be satisfying: The only good Marxists are not merely dead ones, they must be cut in half. Here is the picture.

A picture of two Marxists the way the NY Times likes them.
For how normal people react: Click here to see a photo of how it turned out
and on the lighter side, click here to see a cartoonists utilization of the same subject.