Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Maybe Dennis Rodman's Right

Basketball star Dennis Rodham, horse's ass that he is, just got back from North Korea, where he described Kim Jong Un as a "great leader", and declared him a friend for life. "I love him, he is an awesome guy," Rodham said, while the rest of us spat up a little.

But I'm coming around to a different way of looking at this, based on some personal experience of my own.

A pompous loud-mouthed fellow showed up fairly early on in Chowhound. He posted compulsively, chiming in on every topic, whether he had actual knowledge to contribute or not. He peed his opinion on any available fire hydrant, and attacked anyone who dared to disagree with him. He had a complicated relationship with me, alternately kissing up and antagonizing for attention. I wrote about him once:
I'll never forget the time one of the most piqued of the lot, a man I'd never met, sent me a profanity-laced email expressing in most damning terms what a "self-absorbed holier than thou sociopath" I am. He concluded with an earnest invitation to come to dinner with him and his wife the next weekend (he also once guessed my instant message screen name and popped up to say a chipper "Hi!"). It wasn't the first such invitation I've gotten over the years.
Increasingly unwelcome on Chowhound, he eventually stomped off to open his own food site, using his throne there to maintain a stream of invective against me, while sending me periodic emails offering to host Chowhound, and once even tried to break into our server - from his client's account, yet - to demonstrate that I needed someone like him as a security consultant (note to his lawyer: I kept the logs. By all means, please sue).

At one point, I commented to one of our staff that if I were ever to finally answer one of his emails, have dinner with him, and generally buddy up, his cottage industry of Jim hatred would immediately vanish. Tame as a puppy, he'd never give us another problem. Approval's all he ever sought in the first place (again, no one loves you like a hater does).

I chose not to go that route, because I needed him operating that other site, drawing away our lowest value users (the troublesome hotheads and shameless self-promoters) and absorbing excess traffic we couldn't technically accommodate.

But what if we actually did this with Kim Jong Un? What if we told him that we liked him, we really liked him? What if Obama flew over there, all smiles, and made like Nixon in China (was Mao any more worthy)? What if we fed his starving masses and treated him with the dignity he so scantly deserves, sending officials to respectfully observe his parades and to sip cognac with him late into the night? If we swapped arbitrary friendship for arbitrary enmity, perhaps this regime, no longer backed into a corner, might develop exportables other than nukes, and ease its way back from the paranoid brinkmanship we've stoked for a half-century.

Yes, his regime's despicable. But lord knows he wouldn't be the first murderous madman we'd cozied up to. And I'd prefer to see us stabilize the world rather than indulge our moral revulsion by cornering a nuclear rat.

No comments:

Blog Archive