Thursday, August 13, 2015

More 'Kimjongilia' Drama

Hillary Choi's hot new look.
This just gets weirder and weirder (see previous post on Goodreads fake reviewers). When I originally wrote that post, I hadn't yet had the conversation with 'Loki', and I updated this post with further activity from various of the players in this little drama.

Today I discovered that 'J Yoon', 'Hillary Choi' and 'Book Readers' have locked down their accounts as Private, to conceal the dates of their account creation and the lists of their reviewed books. As well, 'Hillary Choi' deleted the conversation between me and 'Loki'. Lastly, all three have changed their account icons: 'J Yoon' is using a stock image purchased by an eye clinic; 'Hillary Choi' is using the image of a "hot Japanese girl", despite her Chinese surname and claiming to come from Korea; 'Book Readers' is using an image that appears to support gay rights but could be interpreted to be a slur against their detractors.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Goodreads: Paid Reviews and DPRK Spies

Me and my copy of Victor Fox's Kimjongilia.
People who know me know that I'm interested in studying North Korea. It tripped me out that any place in the modern world could be this unknown and mysterious, as is the Hermit Kingdom of the DPRK.

Truth is, we actually know quite a lot about North Korea. We have a dozen active Instagrammers in the capitol, Pyongyang (and at least two have run Periscope streams), plus more cinematographers and art students all the time. And with 25,000 defectors ranging from peasants to elite cadre offering testimonies, yeah, very little is not known about North Korea. Yet mainstream media still wets itself a little over a new VICE article or some jackoff vacationer who says he snuck a few redundant photos into global Wi-Fi service.

Now, I read a lot about North Korea. I have robust RSS news feeds, I follow defectors and professional analysts on Twitter and Facebook, and I have a small library of defector autobiographies. I am not an expert, I have no head for history or economics, but I have read a lot about this secretive nation. Anyone can: I've shared my RSS aggregation and I run a blog and a Facebook page on the topic. Mostly I just reshare information that anyone else could find.