The Gist

The Former Poet Laureate to Kim Jong-il

When he first met the dear leader, our guest was surprised to see him crying to folk songs, stroking a Maltese puppy, and wearing high heels.

For Kim Jong-il’s former poet, it was meeting the supreme leader in person that broke the propaganda spell.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Chien-Min Chung/Getty Images.

Listen to Episode 416 of Slate’s The Gist:

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On The Gist, we bring you two favorite segments from the past year. First, a look at how propaganda thrives in North Korea from the perspective of Kim Jong-il’s former poet laureate, Jang Jin-sung. He’s the author of Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee—A Look Inside North Korea. For the Spiel, a rhyming response to Keith Ablow’s comments on Fox News.

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Twitter: @slategist