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One M.A.S.H. Rerun We'd Rather Not Watch

January 13, 2011 by Somebody Else

Well, it looks like North and South Korea are up to their old tricks again, once more threatening each other with military strikes. Notice that I didn't lay the blame only on North Korea. You know the old saying, it takes two to tango, and in this case, the old saying applies.

Oh, I know how it goes. I live in the United States, so I'm supposed to recognize that South Korea is the good guy and North Korea is the bad guy. If anything goes wrong over there, it must be because Kim Jong Il is a freaky-looking dude who, rumor has it, used to be a nerdy computer repairman guy and who somehow miraculously ended up with a nuclear weapons program and most likely his own personal harem of private dancers. South Korea is the good guy, because they sell us mid-sized automobiles that aren't quite as good as the ones from Japan, but we're more likely to be able to afford them.

Well, I must admit that North Korea is a pretty scary kind of a country. I'm going to tell you right here and now, any nation that talks about having a "Glorious Leader" has already set off warning bells and a great big flashing red light in my head. Notice that the man is not a president or prime minister. No, no, no, he's way, way beyond that. That president and prime minister stuff is for lightweights. North Korea has a leader who, if I were a citizen of his country living within its borders, could have me summarily arrested at my home at three in the morning, thrown into prison, beaten unconscious with a bamboo cane, forced under torture to confess to several crimes against the people and the state that I never committed, and thrown out of an airplane butt naked without a parachute at 30,000 feet over the Sea of Japan, all for having written this very paragraph. Try finding any president or prime minister who could do all that. What's that? You found more than one? Oh. Go figure.

Also, in all honesty I have to confess that I would MUCH rather visit Seoul than Pyongyang. In Seoul you can eat a Big Mac at McDonald's, watch a movie at a large shopping mall, and go to a disco club to shake your booty. In Pyongyang you can attend massive street rallies filled with soldiers marching lock-step next to tanks and missiles on wheels. I'll take the Big Mac, movie, shopping mall, and booty shaking, thank you.

Check out North Korea's official website in English.

Here is a section taken from the website:

Since 2000, this webpage has been the primary site for the country, including the main source of information about activities lead by the KFA for promoting international ties of friendship such travels to the country, exhibitions, conferences, various cultural events and undertakings. Nowadays it receives an average of 4 million hits per month.

Man, 4 million hits per month. Why can't we get 4 million hits per month? What does that website got that ours hasn't got? I mean, we write way better English. We're funnier. Our images are cooler and way more interesting. I can't stand it.

Anyway, back to the whole topic of the possibly imminent outbreak of military conflict between the Koreas. I reminded you about how Kim Jong Il is crazy and a menace -- big news there. Now I've got to explain how South Korea has a share of the blame. The answer is large "war games" fifteen miles from the border.

What are war games? Is it like when a bunch of kids go out in the back yard with fake plastic guns and imagine that they are soldiers on the field of battle? Well, that's what they'd probably like you to think, which is why they came up with an expression that brings such an innocuous image to your mind. No, war games are the military equivalent of pushing someone next to you at the bar and saying, "So, what are you going do about it, punk?"

To be fair, there's little doubt that South Korea would like to bloody North Korea's nose. Even better, they'd like to see the peninsula united under a US-approved form of government. And quite frankly, I can't say that I really blame them, since we should all be able to eat Big Macs in Pyongyang just like we do in Seoul. But taking part in a military shoving match is not the right way to make that happen.

For the last few decades, I've enjoyed watching reruns of the M.A.S.H. television show from the 1970s. When I first watched the show as a child, I asked my grandmother if that war was still going on, and she told me that it had ended in the 1950s. So, ever since that moment, when I watched the show I felt comforted knowing that the terrible wartime tragedies depicted in the series were all in the past.

However, I was unpleasantly surprised to recently discover that the Korean War has never really ended, but has just been in a state of truce for decades. Apparently, we are now at the point where a full-blown renewal of hostilities could begin at any moment, this time with all of the awful and terrible advances in military technology of the last sixty years.

There's no point in doing a M.A.S.H. "reenactment" these days. I can promise you, that kind of an "episode" would not be comic, but instead depressingly and unrelentingly tragic. That's one real-life "rerun" that we'd all rather not watch.

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