Hartley: Making North Korean barbers’ lives easier | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: Making North Korean barbers’ lives easier

Todd Hartley
I’ With Stupid

Do you guys remember the 1971 Woody Allen movie “Bananas”? The plot, as you may recall, concerned a nebbishy New Yorker (In a Woody Allen film? What are the odds?) who travels to the made-up republic of San Marcos, gets involved in a revolution and somehow ends up becoming president of the country.

The reason I bring up “Bananas” is because it contains some of the greatest lines ever written about how ridiculous dictators and their demands can be. For example, there are these official decrees: “From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish,” and “All children under 16 years old are now 16 years old.”

The best line in the movie, however, is this one: “All citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check.”

For the past 43 years, I’ve considered that absurd statement, though fictional, to be the epitome of dictatorial idiocy. I mean, I knew it wasn’t true, but I always thought it would be awesome if some dictator were actually crazy enough to say something like that. Alas, even as a child I realized the odds were practically nil. Nobody, I thought, could be that megalomaniacal and stupid at the same time.

Imagine my surpris, then, when I was surfing the Internet the other day and came across a dictator-related demand so outrageous that it actually makes the underwear decree from “Bananas” seem perfectly rational. As you can probably guess, I was so ecstatic I nearly peed myself.

Before I reveal the edict in question, though, I want to ask all you men out there a simple question: If you could have anyone’s hairstyle, whose would you choose?

Did you say, “Todd Hartley’s”? That’s very nice of you, and I’m very flattered, but that’s not the correct answer. What you should have said was, “Kim Jong-un’s.”

You know who Kim Jong-un is, right? He’s the youthful leader of North Korea who took over when his father — who also sported a sweet ’do — died in 2011. The younger Kim’s hairstyle, in case you’re not familiar with it, is sort of shaved on the sides and parted on the right so that it looks a little like a bad toupee. It’s a style that citizens of North Korea formerly referred to as the “Chinese smuggler haircut” (I’m not making that up, by the way).

Now, however, North Koreans will have to start calling it the “Dear Leader Kim Jong-un” haircut. And why is that? It’s because, according to reports, a couple of weeks ago Kim Jong-un issued a decree stating that all North Korean men are required to get the same haircut as him.

Let me repeat that, in case I didn’t make myself clear: Every man in the entire nation of North Korea now has to get the Chinese smuggler haircut or, presumably — it being North Korea and all — they will be executed.

I imagine that must be quite troubling for any North Korean men who don’t wish to look like Chinese smugglers, and I’m not sure how it’s going to affect bald men, although I suppose they could just wear bad toupees and they’d probably be OK.

Previously, the men in North Korea had been able to choose from 10 different —but still pretty similar — state-sanctioned hairstyles (women, lucky them, were given 18 to choose from). Having such a wide variety of options must have been more than the oppressed masses could handle, though, so Kim did what any insane world leader would do and simplified things.

North Korea’s official state media will, I’m sure, try to spin this as something that the people demanded, but I think we all know what’s really going on: Kim, who is pudgy and not especially attractive, is clearly trying to level the playing field and make himself look better by making everyone else look worse. It’s the same ruse he employed when he had himself photographed standing next to Dennis Rodman.

Kim’s next decree should be pretty easy to guess, and for a clue we need look no further than “Bananas.” Obviously, the next step for the North Korean dictator will be to prohibit the men in his country from wearing hats. That way, it’ll be easier to check everyone’s hairstyle and make sure it looks just like his.

With that out of the way, I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before everyone in North Korea starts wearing their underwear on the outside.

If you want Todd Hartley’s hairstyle, ask your barber for the “Curly Howard.” To read more or leave a comment, please visit http://zerobudget.net.

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