Yes, let’s trim it, or else, comrade. The latest obsession of tiny, bizarre, and now nuclear-armed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il is the length of his people’s hair. Starting last October, the government launched a campaign to force all male citizens to trim their hair to no more than two inches in length. Called “Let’s Trim Our Hair According to Socialist Lifestyle,” the campaign is seen as a reaction to increasing outside cultural influences, including from such places as hippie-infested Communist China.
The campaign escalated this month, when state-run TV began to show pictures of men with excessively long hair so they could be publicly ridiculed. “We cannot help questioning the cultural taste of this comrade, who is incapable of feeling ashamed of his hair style,” said one announcer, displaying a photo of a man whose hair covered his ears. “Can we expect a man with this disheveled mindset to perform his duty well?” He and other offenders were identified by name and address, and mocked as “blind followers of bourgeois lifestyle.”
The rules make an exception for older men, who are permitted an extra .8 inches in order to allow for comb-overs. In addition to the “socialist lifestyle” mandate, the campaign also urges citizens to comply because of the adverse effects of long hair, which allegedly hampers brain activity by taking oxygen away from nerves in the head.
You can’t make this stuff up. Well, you could, but it would certainly be more fun if you could make it up and then enforce it on your entire culture by threats and ridicule, wouldn’t it?
The AP noted that Kim himself was first reported to have trimmed his hair about two years ago, but that Kimologists have not been able to verify whether he continues to conform to socialist lifestyle. “Kim was shown on Central TV in January visiting a military unit, but it was impossible to judge the length of his hair because he was wearing a hat.”