Kim Jong-Un is the unquestioned supreme leader of North Korea, and one of the most dangerous despots in the world, frequently threatening worldwide nuclear war and saber-rattling against nearby enemies like South Korea. He rules his country with an iron fist, crushes any indication of subversion instantly, and has terrorized the world and his own people for years.
Despite looking like this:
He's the only one allowed to have that haircut, by the way. The rest of the country is literally banned from having a similar hairdo, since everyone would definitely want to run out and get the "fuck me up, fam" look that Jong-Un sports.
The thing is - Kim Jong-Un might be a monstrous dictator, but he's also a self-conscious weirdo moron who wasn't even SUPPOSED to have this job in the first place.
1. He only became leader because his older brother tried to use a fake passport to sneak into Disneyland Japan
Kim Jong-Un was not supposed to be the leader of North Korea - that honor was designated from a young age for his older brother, Kim Jong-nam (the word "honor" being pretty relative here). His life had an auspicious beginning, as he was the product between his father (Kim Jong-Il) and a woman who was not his wife. Since Kim Jong-Il was not the ruler of North Korea at the time, he was worried his son's bastard status and the news of his affair would displease his father, Kim Il-sung, so Jong-nam was sent away to be raised and educated in Europe.
Jong-nam claims to have returned to North Korea in the 1990s with ideas about reforming the famously isolated nation and working to open it up to the world, and that these conversations caused him to fall out of favor with his father and lose his place in the plans for succession. But it was an incident in 2001 that really sealed the deal - Jong-nam got busted trying to sneak into Japanese Disneyland with a fake passport.
Using fake Dominican Republic identification, Jong-nam (then the next in line to become the ruler of North Korea) to try to sneak into Disneyland Japan. This really happened.
The embarrassment caused Jong-Il to reconsider things and quietly began shifting propaganda to favor Kim Jong-Un as the next leader. As the years went on, Jong-Un did take control while Jong-nam lived abroad in Macau...until recently, when he was mysteriously murdered in Malaysia via a discrete nerve agent.
So remember, if Kim Jong-Un DOES wind up starting World War III, it was all because one guy wanted to go to Disneyland REALLY REALLY bad.
2. He used to love drawing pictures of Michael Jordan
Much like his brother, Jong-Un was raised and educated abroad, primarily in Switzerland under an alias, where he had a (close to) normal existence, except for the fact that he had a strange estate full of handlers and bodyguards and was kept under strict watchful eyes at all times.
While he was at school, he did....normal school kid things, along with a bunch of other kids who had no idea they were hanging out with a future human right's nightmare made flesh. And while they have a lot of stories about him - primarily involving him being shy and introverted, there's one odd thing that sticks out: he loved drawing pictures of Michael Jordan.
As in, he would sketch Michael Jordan over and over and was generally obsessed with him in the way kids get obsessed over stuff. Given Michael Jordan was the biggest celebrity in the world at the time, that's not too surprising either - but it DOES explain why Kim Jong-Un is so keen to hang out with Dennis Rodman.
3. His self-proclaimed accomplishments are legitimately the least believable claims possible
One of my favorite moments from The Simpsons comes from the episode Kamp Krusty - where Bart, having made a deal with his parents to get at least a C-average on his report card in exchange for a summer at Kamp Krusty, tries to alter his ACTUAL grades (all D-minuses) to new, better grades (all A-pluses). He presents the falsefied report card to Homer, who dismissively says "A+? You don't think much of me, boy, do you?" and lays out this truth:
Kim Jong-Un is like Bart on a much, much higher and more terrifying scale - and while he could make up SLIGHTLY more believable lies, he decides to go so over-the-top and wild with pretty much everything, including:
- Created a single drug that cures AIDS, ebola, AND cancer (well, "certain cancers," but it's never explained which cancers or even which types of cancer).
- That he learned to drive at age 3 and won a yacht race at age 9.
- That he drank 10 bottles of wine in a single night (FYI, most people would die after consuming about 6 bottles of wine)
Still, he hasn't achieved the nutty claims his dad - Kim Jong-Il - made about himself: namely, that he could control the weather and invented hamburgers.
4. He's incredibly self-conscious for a weird idiot dictator
Like most overly-braggy heads of state, Kim Jong-Un is totally obsessed with his self-image and reputation in the minds of the people he brutally oppresses. Obviously, the idea of insulting him or even insinuating anything negative about him are absolute no-no's for anyone in North Korea, but he takes it a bit further with a few moves that speak to his all-consuming worry about what people think about him.
When the above video was released on the internet in 2014, it caused an enormous uproar...in the mind of Kim Jong-Un. It was a mildly popular internet meme video that saw Jong-Un's face photoshopped onto a variety of individuals and performing goofy acts - mostly dancing and getting beaten up. It's cute, but nothing really THAT inflammatory or scandalous - except to Kim Jong-Un, who had the North Korean government issue a demand to China (where the video originated) to remove it from the internet, as it "seriously compromises Kim's dignity and authority."
Obviously, Kim Jong-Un did not seem to understand how the internet worked - once a video is released into the wild, it can be mirrored and downloaded incredibly quickly, and essentially becomes impossible to get rid of. As such, Beijing responded that they were "unable to oblige."
And while there are plenty more stories similar to that, there's one other one that REALLY highlights how impossibly self-conscious Kim Jong-Un is and how worried he is that everyone's talking bad about him behind his back: he literally BANNED sarcasm, out of fear that people were only agreeing with him "ironically."
So remember that no matter how rough life is going for you, at least you're not self-conscious enough to send an official demand to another country begging them to stop calling you "Kim Fatty III."