It's No Joke as North Korea Bans Sarcasm

The North Korean government bans sarcastic speech against itself or Kim Jong-un. 

Being a stand-up comedian in North Korea must be a nerve-wrecking calling. The totalitarian regime just banned people from making sarcastic comments about its leader Kim Jong-un. Similar comments about the regime itself are also forbidden. Eye-rolling is also likely going to cost you.


North Korea’s political apparatus held a series of meetings across the country to explain the policy.

 “One state security official personally organised a meeting to alert local residents to potential ‘hostile actions’ by internal rebellious elements,” reported Radio Free Asia’s Korean Service from Jagang Province. “The main point of the lecture was ‘Keep your mouths shut.”

An example of a sarcastic expression the officials don’t like if used to describe their regime - “This is all America’s fault”.

As a source explained:

“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.”

They also really don’t like it when their country’s leader is mocked via expressions like “A fool who cannot see the outside world.” Apparently, this description of Kim Jong-un has been gaining popularity.

As there's been an observed growth of public protests against the North Korean government, like such statements or mocking graffiti, the ban on sarcasm seems hard to enforce but makes some sense from the Communist nation’s point of view.

Certainly, as studies have pointed out, engaging in sarcastic commentary is both a sign of intelligence and leads to “enhanced creativity”. Perhaps, such population traits are not prioritized by the North Korean leaders.  

As the mysterious nation just carried out its biggest nuclear test, people around the world are indeed taking the country’s actions more seriously.

SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

‘Climate apartheid’: Report says the rich could buy out of climate change disaster

The world's richest people could breeze through a climate disaster – for a price.

(Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report from a United Nation expert warns that an over-reliance on the private sector to mitigate climate change could cause a "climate apartheid."
  • The report criticizes several countries, including the U.S., for taking "short-sighted steps in the wrong direction."
  • The world's poorest populations are most vulnerable to climate change even though they generally contribute the least to global emissions.
Keep reading Show less