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North Korea Bans Sarcasm And The World Freaks Out

Fifteen years ago, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter famously proclaimed, “I think it’s the end of the age of irony.” Irony, of course, has survived and flourished in the years since. For all the proof you need: Jon Stewart.

Or at least it survived until last week, when North Korea reportedly banned all sarcasm that could be about dear leader Kim Jong-un or the government.

The Independent, citing Radio Free Asia, reports the ban was the result of concerns that citizens were only agreeing with Kim “ironically.” The new rules were apparently discussed at mass meetings organized by government officials, during which North Koreans were warned about “potential ‘hostile actions’ by internal rebellious elements,” as Radio Free Asia’s sources put it. From Radio Free Asia:

Warning his listeners to guard against being “dragged into internal hostile behavior,” the official conducting the meeting pointed specifically to commonly used expressions such as “This is all America’s fault,” which when spoken ironically could be taken to imply criticism of the regime.

“This habit of the central authorities of blaming the wrong country when a problem’s cause obviously lies elsewhere has led citizens to mock the party,” RFA’s source said.

Another expression, “A fool who cannot see the outside world,” has also spread quickly from government workers in Pyongyang who were shocked at Kim Jong Un’s absence at celebrations held in Russia and China to mark the end of the Second World War, the source said.

Does this mean irony is finally dead? Obviously!

The only thing more frightening than a country that bans sarcasm is a country that bans sarcasm days before successfully testing a nuclear weapon. Nothing ironic about world destruction, that’s for sure.

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