Over two decades ago, in a time when advertisement breaks between television shows weren't designed solely for the purpose of making viewers want to find the nearest sharp object and poke out their eyes (oh, only us?), Cartoon Network used to fill in the gap between shows with such quality content as the "Cartoon Network Thing To Do".
Don't remember it?
Well, the premise was incredibly simple:
And among said things for you to do were assignments like this one:
We're not going to comment on whether or not Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (known to most of us as simply North Korea) Kim Jong-un actually followed up on the 'thing to do' above, but we're certain he's a keen adherent of the philosophy of Cartoon Network's 'Thing To Do".
But wait, why is he watching decades-old Cartoon Network, you may well ask.
It's because television today is heartless, cruel and devoid of the sort of playful fun that marked TV programming in the decades gone by. Today, you only have shows about computer hackers, corrupt politicians, murderers, lawyers and such-like. Not to mention the fact that every second TV show, film or news anchor spares no opportunity to mock Kim. Let's be fair, it's true.
So, to distract from all this horrible tarnishing of his good name, Kim has been taking comfort in television from the good ol' days. And as it turns out, the most recent "Thing To Do" was to ban something. What better thing to ban then, than sarcasm? And so, Kim did just that. Aside from the fact that it's a good way of protecting himself and his people from America (don't ask), sarcasm never really helped anyone.
Look at Chandler Bing from that thankfully concluded — but one that is strangely still broadcast everyday on television — TV show that was Friends. There's a good reason he's as reviled as he is. Or at least should be.
But, as with every one of our dispatches, we digress.
Back to the topic and hand, and thanks to some slick work from our good friend E Snowden (no, that's too obvious, let's just call him Edward S), we got our hands on a trail of SMS messages between Kim and a member of the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the wake of this sarcasm ban.
Being the sort of astute readers you are, you will undoubtedly wonder at this point: Why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
We're so glad you asked.
You see, the topic of humour used to be under the purview of the Ministry of Culture once upon a time, but then its charge was handed to the Ministry of Agriculture. Kim deemed the agriculture ministry — made of serious ministers unlike those party animals in the culture ministry — far more capable of handling such an important issue. Unfortunately, under its watch, jokes began to turn increasingly corny (feel free to groan) and the agriculture ministry's notion of humour had become something very alien to North Koreans. So alien that the issue had to be entrusted to the foreign ministry.
Now here's that intercept provided by our good friend who may or may not be fictitious:
And there you have it. The Supreme Leader has made his views known and we're sure the ministry official got the message as loudly and clearly as he needed. Best of all, it's one more thing for Kim to strike of his "Things To Do" list and add it to another list. This one: