Dennis Rodman’s odd ties to North Korea and Kim Jong Un are no secret. Since the wild man traveled to North Korea with a basketball team of ex-NBA players as a birthday present for Kim, he’s returned several times. Rodman recently returned from another trip to North Korea (sponsored by a marijuana-based cryptocurrency, because why not) and claims that Kim has actually turned North Korea into an incredibly modern country. Like, hundreds-of-years-in-the-future modern.
In an interview with DuJour, Rodman talked about how it’s weird for a celebrity to go unnoticed in public, but that’s just the way it is over there. Talking about the North Korean people specifically, Rodman said:
“They work very hard and they take pride in the simple things in life. Whatever their job is, they do it to the best of their ability. I’m not sure anyone there knows how to be lazy, they have a lot of focus. The citizens there are very kind … but it’s like you’d think these people have a spell on them because all they talk about is him [Kim Jong-un.] I mean it’s insane. I am so intrigued about how they live their lives through this guy … and he is only, like, 33, 34 years old. He is changing North Korea so much it is really becoming a 24th-century country now — it’s more like they took down the Flintstone Age and put in the Jetsons. Out with the old, in with the new.”
Rodman’s comments make an odd sort of sense. If a country is prone to purges, even among the secret police, the people who get to meet foreign dignitaries are probably pretty committed to the man in charge. As far as calling North Korea modern, perhaps he means in the Orwellian fashion: “if you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.” Maybe.
Rodman also said that when he travels to North Korea, he stays in the “Jimmy Carter suite” at a 200-year-old hotel that is “all marble.”