Relive the excitement of the Patriots’ path to their fourth Super Bowl Championship with “Pumped,” a special commemorative book from The Boston Globe.

editorial

Kim Jong Un: No joke

North Korea’s official news agency releases photos depicting the dictator in a flattering light.

EPA

North Korea’s official news agency releases photos depicting the dictator in a flattering light.

Continue reading below

North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, behaves so much like a cartoon villain that many Americans have started to see him that way. Yet news this month brought a fresh reminder that for all Kim’s oddball antics — feting former NBA star Dennis Rodman, presiding over kitschy military parades right out of a James Bond movie — he has proved every bit as ruthless and oppressive as his father, Kim Jong Il.

According to reports in a South Korean newspaper, Kim’s regime executed the dictator’s ex-girlfriend earlier in August, along with 11 others, reportedly for making a sex tape and possessing Bibles. Of course, human rights abuses are nothing new in North Korea. Yet the 29-year old Kim is so over the top in his antics that he’s become something of a comic fixture in the West. He’s a regular punchline in The Onion’s satirical stories. The diminutive dictator’s relentless pursuit of nuclear missiles has also invited endless jokes about overcompensating; a failed missile test last year gave rise to a predictable tide of snickering on social media.

One could view the mockery as a way of taking Kim down a peg, but it trivializes the gravity of North Korea’s plight. Maybe his latest abuses will focus the world’s attention on the reality of Kim’s dystopian kingdom.

Loading comments...

Wake up with today's top stories.

Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
or
Please enter a valid email
BostonGlobe.com will never post anything without asking. Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com