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Communism Provides Pizza for the Masses - Or at Least the Communist Party Elite:

North Korea may have the most oppressive government on earth, and its people may be starving as a result of horrendous communist policies. But the North Korean proletariat was surely thrilled to learn that their Dear Leader Kim Jong Il has thoughtfully provided "authentic" Italian pizza for a few of his most privileged subjects. And it only took a mere ten years to achieve this triumph of socialist central planning:

It has taken almost 10 years of work, but North Korea has acquired the technology to launch a project very dear to its leader's heart - the nation's first "authentic" Italian pizzeria.

The launch of Pyongyang's first Italian restaurant meanwhile brings to fruition a ten-year effort by Kim Jong-il - a renowned gourmand and lover of western food - to create the perfect pizza and pasta in his homeland.

Last year a delegation of local chefs was sent by Kim to Naples and Rome to learn the proper Italian techniques after their homegrown efforts to mimic Italian cuisine were found by Kim to contain "errors".

In the late 1990s Kim brought a team of Italian pizza chefs to North Korea to instruct his army officers how to make pizza, a luxury which is now being offered to a tiny elite able to afford such luxuries in a country that cannot feed many of its 24 million inhabitants.

Although the news story isn't clear on this point, I suspect that the access to the Pyongyang Italian pizzeria is limited to those with special privileged status given by the government, as was standard for stores providing unusual goods in most communist societies.

On the upside, Kim Jong Il's plan to provide pizza for the toiling masses of North Korea seems to have worked out better than his earlier plan to alleviate food shortages by breeding imported giant rabbits, which was aborted when the greedy Dear Leader decided to eat the initial batch of rabbits himself.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. North Korea - A Real-Life 1984:
  2. Communism Provides Pizza for the Masses - Or at Least the Communist Party Elite:
R:
He's also bringing in a delegation of New Yorkers to teach the elites over there how to be properly elitist about it.
3.17.2009 6:36pm
Second Amendment Sister (mail):
Why didn't he just google it?
3.17.2009 7:09pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
But can he provide Chicago style? Or is that the next five year plan?
3.17.2009 7:37pm
American Psikhushka (mail):
But I thought that once they did away with property rights they would be able to take the money from those who are "greedy" and feed everyone.

Maybe they're not practicing strict communism. Oh, but wait, your link says their government is the most oppressive and therefore is probably enforcing one of the closest things to strict communism on earth.

Maybe I need to think through my support for redistributionalist, socialist, and communist ideology.

Nah, when we do it here in the US it will be different. It won't result in the economic slowdown, stagnation, degradation, and declining living standards like it has everywhere else it has been done.

[sarcasm off]
3.17.2009 7:44pm
Calderon:
I'm sure this government stimulus plan will have a massive multiplier.
3.17.2009 7:44pm
Midnight Rambler:
Ooh, how exiciting! How soon before they do home delivery?
3.17.2009 8:00pm
Shelby (mail):
You know, the real problem with Communism is that it's never been ... oh, never mind.
3.17.2009 8:18pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :
You said it, R.

I suspect the Dear Leader's pizza will probably be better than New York pizza. Which is, by far, the worst food that people are snobby about.

Second place: the Philly Cheese Steak.
3.17.2009 8:27pm
PersonFromPorlock:
"Pyongyang pizza... It's not hard crust, not soft crust, it's upper crust!"
3.17.2009 8:56pm
byomtov (mail):
This strongly reminds me of an old joke about a May Day rally in Red Square.

It is announced that all those who show up for the rally will be given an orange. Crowds gather at dawn and the commissars soon realize that the supply of oranges is inadequate. They announce that all Jews should leave, because Jews will not be given oranges. The Jews go home.

A little later, realizing that there are still not enough oranges, the commissars announce that only Party members will get oranges. Many people leave.

By noon, still short, they announce that only army veterans will get oranges. More people leave.

Finally, in the afternoon, the commissars determine that if they section the oranges they have enough to give each remaining veteran one section, so they do that and distribute orange sections.

Two old veterans are standing in the square, eating their sections of orange, when one turns to the other and says,

"Those damn Jews. They always get the best deal."
3.17.2009 9:10pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Italian pizza for Dear Leader

Dirt pizza for the masses
3.17.2009 10:43pm
BGates:
But can he provide Chicago style?

North Korea has had Chicago style for decades.

Oh, you meant the pizza.
3.17.2009 11:25pm
LM (mail):
Kim has made running a failed state (into the ground) his personal performance art. Mugabe, al-Bashir and the rest starve and torture people 24/7, and still they're invisible in the shadow of this cartoon troll. Their wives must berate them constantly for being such losers.
3.17.2009 11:48pm
PlugInMonster:
LM - you forgot about Hugo Chavez. He tries to outdo "Dear Leader".
3.18.2009 12:57am
A.C.:
How can Italian cooking contain "errors"? I grew up on the stuff, and although most things can be done at different levels of quality, most of the standard dishes are remarkably forgiving.

I suppose you could put the pizza in the over upside down, or attempt to boil the noodles in kerosene, but I thought even the Commies would have wit enough to avoid anything like that.
3.18.2009 8:36am
A.C.:
Make that "pizza in the OVEN." Even if the food can't contain errors, the same isn't true of my typing before 9:00 AM.
3.18.2009 8:37am
Richard Nieporent (mail):
Nobody tell Dear Leader that Pizza Hut is not an authentic Italian restaurant.
3.18.2009 9:19am
JoelP:
There is a positive correlation between a nation's income disparity and the quality of its best restaurants. I would be very surprised if North Korea could not develop a delicious pizza...
3.18.2009 10:05am
A Nony Mouse:

I suspect the Dear Leader's pizza will probably be better than New York pizza. Which is, by far, the worst food that people are snobby about.


The stuff they sell in New Yawk is not pizza. If you want pizza, come to Chicago.
3.18.2009 11:36am
Ilya Somin:
Pizza Hut is not an authentic Italian restaurant.

Shocking! Please say it ain't so. . .
3.18.2009 11:52am
Cris:

efforts to mimic Italian cuisine were found by Kim to contain "errors"


Talk about a negative restaurant review...
3.18.2009 6:22pm
Glennrrr (mail):

The stuff they sell in New Yawk is not pizza. If you want pizza, come to Chicago.


Give me a break, I've lived in Chicago. You want good pizza you go to Madison, WI. They use the proper amount of cheese.
3.18.2009 6:36pm
RR Ryan (mail):
Joel- that would explain why Caracas has so many good restaurants. And I'm not being facetious.
3.18.2009 7:01pm
malclave (mail):

after their homegrown efforts to mimic Italian cuisine were found by Kim to contain "errors".

I can sympathize. When I was stationed in Germany, the local pizza place would make a Hawaiian pizza, but they'd put the pineapple on AFTER cooking the pizza.
3.18.2009 7:09pm
Swen Swenson (mail) (www):
How can Italian cooking contain "errors"?
Ever try to make a pizza starting with tree bark and moss? No wonder it's taken them 10 years to perfect..
3.18.2009 7:23pm
Dennymack (mail):
In the massive absurdity that any story about North Korea contains, one thing leapt out at me. Kim said the first attempts contained errors.
Can you imagine being the guy who put in too much oregano, or net enough fennel, and derailed dear leaders ten year plan?

"Hey inmate 64903, what are you in for?"
"Seasoning."

And in North Korea, that would probably be understood by all to be a reasonable response.
3.18.2009 7:26pm
Wonder Khleb:
A.C.: "I suppose you could put the pizza in the over upside down, or attempt to boil the noodles in kerosene, but I thought even the Commies would have wit enough to avoid anything like that."

Never underestimate commie witlessness.

In the early 90s, my management consulting firm did a project for Utopia.

They wondered why the bread in their stores was always dried out and stale, greatly reducing the effective supply.

Our recommendation? Um, pack it in plastic bags.
3.18.2009 7:58pm
Rignerd (mail):
"Hey inmate 64903, what are you in for?"
"Death sentence, Seasoning."

And in North Korea, that would probably be understood by all to be a reasonable response.


There fixed it fer ya'
3.18.2009 8:04pm
DG:
I think it's telling that on threads where "theoretical" discussions about tax policy, redistribution of wealth and such are the topic of discussion, you've got a million political philosophers streaming out of the woodwork to defend socialism "in theory". When there's a thread about actual, real socialism, it's crickets chirping from that side.
3.18.2009 8:11pm
Splunge:
Hey inmate 64903, what are you in for?"
"Seasoning."

Solzhenitsyn has a great little paragraph in The Gulag Archipelago in which he relates the story of a convoy of prisoners calling roll. Each prisoner was announced by his name, the article under which he was convicted, and the sentence, like this: Pushkin, Article 58, 10 years.

Solzhenitsyn explains that when one particular prisoner is called he has an unusually long sentence, 20 years or so. A guard is curious, and asks him what he did.

"Nothing!" says the prisoner.

"You're lying!" replies the guard, "The sentence for nothing at all is ten years."
3.18.2009 8:47pm
JeanE (mail):
Pizza, schmizza- he'll never figure out how to make a really good barbecue sandwich- let the BBQ wars begin!
3.18.2009 9:07pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
At least they didn't have to live under the Bush regime.
3.18.2009 9:16pm
William Dalasio (mail):
The stuff they sell in New Yawk is not pizza. If you want pizza, come to Chicago.


Please. Everyone knows that the quality of pizza is inversely proportional to one's distance from Brooklyn, NY, where they made real pizza (not tomato sauce in a dough bowl) before the founder of Pizzaria Uno was a gleam in his parents' eyes.
3.18.2009 9:21pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

Please. Everyone knows that the quality of pizza is inversely proportional to one's distance from Brooklyn, NY, where they made real pizza (not tomato sauce in a dough bowl) before the founder of Pizzaria Uno was a gleam in his parents' eyes.

Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Tell me where to go.

For good pizza in Brooklyn, I mean.
3.18.2009 9:25pm
Dogwood (www):
Here is the Vice Guide to North Korea if you're interested. Well worth watching in your spare time. Link
3.18.2009 9:39pm
Pat Patterson (mail):
Were the "errors" gastronomical or political?
3.18.2009 10:28pm
comatus (mail):
How can Italian cooking contain "errors"?

Kimchi.

Hope you hadn't just eaten as you read that.
3.18.2009 10:31pm
Kazinski:
Given some of the horror stories of starvation in NK, and the preponderance of pork products in pizza toppings, I'd be quite leery about trying any NK pizza without DNA testing on the ingredients.
3.19.2009 1:10am
NickM (mail) (www):
Kazinski - I would have been far more worried if Jean-Bedel Bokassa had been the pizza enthusiast.

Nick
3.19.2009 3:14am
Sarah (mail) (www):
Never mind all of that, the important thing is how equal their collective access to healthcare is. Oh, oh, and the perfect equality of the educational system, too.

Better to take ten years to learn how to make a simple Italian dish than to allow some of The People's teeth to be whiter than others. How I wish I lived under such a benevolent ruler.
3.19.2009 6:58am
netmarcos (mail):
Feh. You don't want pizza. What you are looking for is Apizza!
3.19.2009 7:30am
Ryan (mail):
Sure, sure ,
We all know that there is a religious pizza war between NY and Chicago. (I like both; so I get shot at from both sides) But has anyone, who has been there, ever had a good pizza from Italy? I have not ever traveled there but have had friends come back and say NEVER order pizza when in northern Italy. One friend said they brought him a large salted cracker covered with slices of tomatoes and American cheese! WTF?
3.19.2009 9:44am
Silber Streak (mail):
The Jong and the short of it: Your pizza delivered within ten years, or the next one is free!
3.19.2009 11:13am
Silber Streak (mail):
Newsflash: Kim-Il Jong II Pizzeria ends guaranteed delivery within ten years, after a pedestrian is struck and killed by a Pizzeria driver speeding in the attempt to deliver a pizza moments before the deadline expired.
3.19.2009 11:20am
Steve Skubinna (mail):
I was stationed in South Korea back in the early eighties, and finding either Italian or American style pizza was no problem. Must be some obscure phenomenon occurring above the 38th Parallel that makes it more difficult and complex to put sauce, toppings, and cheese on dough and bake it.

But anyone smart enough to make Communism work is certainly up to the challenge of making a pizza. Another ten years and they'll have calzone.
3.19.2009 11:32am
ken in sc (mail):
Kimchi has fish guts in it. Pizza with anchovies is essentially the same. Just joking, I love anchovies on my pizza. I used to eat a lot of kimchi but it upset my stomach.
3.19.2009 1:01pm
Alcibiades62:
North Korea had pizza before this. Someone attended the Arirang Festival and saw a vendor of some sort outside the stadium. His guides/watchers wouldn't let him buy some.

Perhaps the North Koreans based their pizzas off the Japanese; thus, NK pizzas are covered in mayonnaise.
3.19.2009 4:57pm

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