[cartoons from mars]

Topic: North Korea

Ever wonder what it’s like to grow up in North Korea?

When Jenny and I were in South Korea, we got a kick out of a curious TV show called Peninsula Scope, a half-hour news magazine about North Korea broadcast on Arirang, South Korea’s government-sponsored English-language TV channel. This was, of course, a dicey affair. The show was established during a thaw between the two Koreas, so it bent over backward to find nice things to say, remaining relentlessly upbeat about reconciliation and reunification even as the political situation worsened. (The show was cancelled at the end of 2004.) But it couldn’t be too nice, because South Korea’s harsh Security Law remains in force, threatening “Up to 7 years in prison for those who praise, encourage, disseminate or cooperate with anti-state groups [read: North Korea], members or those under their control [read: North Koreans].”

But by far the best part of Peninsula Scope came at the end of each episode, when they would show a North Korean cartoon. They’re not good exactly, but they’re fascinatingly weird. You can check them out at Peninsula Scope’s video on demand page (free registration required). They’re definitely worth a look.