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Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Demick’

Kim Jong-il’s Biographer Hosting Brooklyn Event

If the United States operated like North Korea, the person(s) responsible for the healthcare.gov fiasco would have been executed and excoriated at a White House press conference. That’s the way the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) generally approaches the topic of “death panels.”

DearReaderCoverThis week’s shocking events in the DPRK, and perhaps next week’s third scheduled visit to the country by Dennis Rodman, could be among the many fertile posthumous topics this Sunday at Muchmore’s in Williamsburg (2 Havemeyer Street). Michael Malice, author of the upcoming Kim Jong-il biography Dear Reader, will be hosting a free discussion event at 7 p.m. From a report by The Brooklyn Paper‘s Colin Mixon:

“This isn’t in his [Kim Jong-il's] voice, per se,” said Malice, who visited North Korea last year, returning with a large collection of propaganda pamphlets and books to use as source material. “His voice is very pedantic and mind-numbing.”

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LA Times Beijing Bureau Chief Barbara Demick Earns Stanford Journalism Award

The 2012 Shorenstein Journalism Award that LA Times Beijing bureau chief Barbara Demick will accept at Stanford early next year comes with a very impressive descriptor. She is being honored, says the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, for “her innovative and extraordinarily sensitive reporting on Northeast Asia over the past decade.”

Demick has been with the LA Times since 2001 and the paper’s Beijing bureau chief since 2008. She has also earned many accolades for her fall 2010 book Nothing to Envy, about the lives and experiences of a select group of North Korean defectors. In a recent Q&A with thebeijinger.com, here’s how she answered when asked to recount her most shocking or heartbreaking story about the DPRK:

“There is a story in my book that the doctor told me. She had a friend, another woman doctor, whose husband and son died of starvation. When she expressed her condolences, the friend said it was good that they were gone because she didn’t have the extra people to feed. That story stuck with me more than any others.”

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Barbara Demick Explains Why North Korea Forbids the Bible

LA Times Beijing bureau chief Barbara Demick (pictured) recently flew back to the west coast to speak to students at Brigham Young University. The author of the award-winning book Nothing to Envy, a look at the accumulated life experiences of six defectors, shared her uniquely informed perspective on the so-called Hermit Kingdom.

Demick’s talk is chronicled in a report today by BYU public relations major Michal Christine Savage. The country’s ban of all things Christian is well known. Perhaps not so celebrated is the underlying motive:

“In North Korea everyone is ranked by their loyalty to the regime,” Demick said. “How high your standard is is whether or not your family believes Kim Il Sung is a God-like figure. As you may know, there is no religion in North Korea, but they’ve plagiarized the Bible. If you read North Korean propaganda, Kim Il Sung is God and the son is Jesus. When he was born, there is a star that heralded his birth and then a rainbow. There is a reason they banded the Bible, its because they’ve plagiarized it.”

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Stanford Prof Weaves Spellbinding North Korea Narrative

The burst of rave reviews directed at The Orphan Master’s Son is just the beginning. It seems almost certain that by this time next year, author Adam Johnson will be in the running for some major literary awards.

An associate professor in creative writing at Stanford University, Johnson took the tour package to the Hermit Kingdom in 2007 and then continued doing research. After also reading a few bellwether non-fiction books including Barbara Demick‘s Nothing to Envy, he crafted a very clever inside-NK narrative. His new book is split into two sections, one sharing the titular peasant’s point of view and the other as seen from the small, privileged class end of things.

In an LA Times profile piece, the San Francisco-based Johnson explained a fascinating discovery he made during the writing of his second novel:

The author soon realized that the master narratives of Western literature–that each of us is the central character in a unique private drama, overcoming obstacles as we strive toward self-realization—had little bearing on people who can’t be the authors of their own life stories, which are largely dictated by the state… Johnson said he came to see that in North Korea there is only one central character, Kim Jong-il, and before that his father, Kim Il Sung, “and then there are 23 million secondary characters.”

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China Shreds Millions of Counterfeit DVDs

First off, we never knew that China had a government agency called the National Office of Eliminating Pornography and Illegal Publications. But it sounds about right.

Secondly, we would loved to have been a David Cronenberg fly on the wall at today’s DVD destruction as reported by LA Times Beijing correspondent Barbara Demick. Apparently, the Beijing affair was one of 31 such events held across the country today to show that China is serious about not permanently pissing off Hollywood. Writes Demick:

As the music switched from jazz to a marching anthem, officials filed onto a red-carpeted stage. In front of them were the condemned: thousands of pirated DVDs, most of them Hollywood fare, with Raging Bull, Kill Bill, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Jaws visible on top. Riot police in helmets stood guard.

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LAT Memo: New Movie Editor Has No Entertainment Reporting Experience

In our continuing coverage of the odd dysfunction of the LA Times Arts & Entertainment section, we’ve posted a memo of the latest hire. The new editor appears to have no previous experience covering film which seems like a strange choice since the section has been hemorrhaging vets who covered a flagship industry for LA. Very weird. It’s almost like a real estate mogul buying a major media company. What could possibly go wrong?

But congrats on getting a gig, Julie Makinen.

From: Hofmeister, Sallie

Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 5:18 PM
To: yyEntertainAll

Subject: great news: we have a new movie editor. this is going wide momentarily!

We are delighted to welcome back to The Times Julie Makinen, who will succeed Tim Swanson as movie editor for the Entertainment Department. Anyone who has worked with Julie will recall her fearless and rigorous approach to new challenges. She is known for creative story ideas, sharp editing skills and grace under pressure – as well as for her home-made ice cream and witty top 10 lists.

Julie has spent the last year and half in Hong Kong as deputy business editor of the Asian edition of the International Herald Tribune, fulfilling a longtime desire to live and work in Asia. Prior to that, she held a variety of editing and reporting jobs at The Times and at the Washington Post.

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