I decided to wait a day before writing anything about that report claiming all men in North Korea would be forced to sport Kim Jong-un haircuts, just to see if it would bowl over — and that turned out to be a smart move. The story looks as bogus as a three-won bill:
Let’s first consider the source. For example, the BBC picked up the story on its News from Elsewhere blog, sourcing much of the story to the Korea Times, an English-language paper published by the Hankook Ilbo group. The Korea Times, meanwhile, appears to have gotten the story from Radio Free Asia, a non-profit funded in part by the United States government. Radio Free Asia’s story only appears on the Korean-language version of its Web site, though a representative says that it will be translated soon.
Regarding the second question, most North Korean experts I reached out to seemed inclined to believe that the story couldn’t be true.
“This sounds like BS to me,” said Aidan Foster Carter, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea at Leeds University in Britain. “For a start, no one else in North Korea seems to sport a Kim Jong Un hairdo!”
Anyway, what would you call the thing? The Li’l Hitler? The Fashion Ration? The Prison Camp Cut? Please submit your entries below, for the chance to win a free haircut from my eight-year-old son.