Monday, August 20, 2012

North Korea, women's rights, and post-truth politics

The DailyNK -- what's up in North Korea from the perspective of its government's opponents -- ran an article last week called Rules on Bicycles Repealed at Last.

The North Korean authorities have formally repealed a 20-year old public order forbidding women from riding bicycles in urban areas, Daily NK has learned.

A source from North Pyongan Province reported the news today, explaining, "This August, approval for women to ride bicycles was handed down by the state."

It is not clear upon whose authority the public order has been withdrawn; nevertheless, according to the source, "People have welcomed it, saying that 'penalties imposed by the father are being lifted by the son.'"
This is not a post about bicycles.

The news reported by DailyNK first came to my attention when a friend translated a Chinese-language article in Huanqiu (Global Times), Kim Jong Un Broke His Father's Rule Again: Women Can Ride Bicycles! Huanqiu, the PRC's Maoist newspaper of record is, I'm told, quoting the DailyNK article while gushing over the wondrous improvement that the new regime of Kim Jong Un is effecting in the nation that would be China's BFF if nations had BFFs.

This led me -- somehow, go figure -- to think about the G.O.P.'s war on women ... a topic for which hundreds of credible references could be linked, but I'll stick to two: Todd Akin, Republican nominee for a Missouri Senate seat, explaining that abortion in cases of rape is not necessary because women don't get pregnant as a result of "legitimate rape": Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of 'Legitimate Rape' Don't Get Pregnant (if you don't believe a candidate for the U.S. Senate could be that stupid, click the link and watch the 38s video ... and no, I'm afraid the fact that G.O.P. leaders and pundits are calling for Akin to abandon his candidacy does not 'neuter' his remarks ... they are, sadly, in keeping with his party's recent legislative history). Ahem. Now, second, I'll also cite Alison McQuade on the Top 5 Worst Things About Paul Ryan's Record on the Emily's List web site.

Watch it, read it, weep, you've undoubtedly seen the summaries in your friends' Facebook streams by now. Don't do FB? I've also posted's nickle's worth in this post; FB is where I saw it first.

As I was saying, oppressive North Korean wackiness led me immediately to think about politics here in the U.S. In the pitiful event that we actually elect the antediluvian Pinocchios running on the G.O.P. ticket to head the U.S. government, will we come to resemble North Korea?

Suppose the G.O.P. is given the electoral go-ahead to eviscerate women's rights and health, as is their clear intention. When the nation wakes from its collective hangover after four or eight or twelve years of mad regression -- as we woke under Bush II when the rest of the country realized, as the then-prez admitted the 'rationale' for war was predicated on lies, that, gee whiz, those progressives were right, the so-called justification for war in Iraq was a fabrication after all -- when that happens, will our own press crow about "advances" back toward the sadly insufficient yet hard-won state of women's rights in place today?


These days it's kind of hard to see how low we, as a nation, are prepared to go.

Andrew Sullivan wrote last month, in The Fact Check Tug of War, paraphrasing Jay Rosen, that the fairness-obsessed press will not be able to handle Romney's "post-truth" campaign. Rosen titled his take on the topic, If Mitt Romney were running a “post-truth” campaign, would the political press report it? No, they would not. This falls under: too big to tell.

Grit your teeth. Check your facts. Get thee to the polls come November.

If three out of four eligible voters do just that I have little doubt how the 2012 election will turn out: the antediluvian Pinocchios will be thrown out on their ears.

Here's a caveat, though: if Israel attacks Iran in the meantime, any freakin' thing could happen.

Related posts on One Finger Typing:
If a lie sells, shout it loud
Sharrows and stripes: bike lanes for a common good
Fixing flat tires

Thanks to Christian Heilmann for the photo of the Republicans for Voldemort t-shirt, via Flickr.

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