Ever since North Korea’s George Clooney was seen limping in public this summer, there’s been nonstop speculation about his continued ability to do everything perfectly all the time. Although he performed his photo-op duties through the pain for months, Kim Jong-un missed last week’s parliamentary meeting and is reportedly recovering from double ankle surgery, launching rumors about the secretive country’s dictator to Kardashian-West levels. Is it gout? Diabetes? High blood pressure? The high heels? All of the above?
Kim has not been seen by his people since September 3, forcing the government to acknowledge his “indisposed condition.” According to a source in the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, one bum ankle led to two. “I heard that Kim Jong-un injured his right ankle in June after pushing ahead with on-site visits and ended up fracturing both ankles because he left the injury unattended,” the source said.
A “documentary” on state-run North Korean television reportedly addressed the limp by praising Kim’s strength: “Our marshal continues to light the path for the people like a flame despite his discomfort,” said the narrator, detailing the leader’s summer factory tour. “His whole body is drenched in sweat, but he does not stop working hard, instead showing concern for the health of the other workers.”
Other explanations are less flattering, citing his “Elvis-style weight gain.” The Telegraph reports, “He is now believed to weigh at least 20 stone” — 280 pounds — “as a result of his fondness for heavy drinking and imported Swiss cheese, which he gained a taste for while at school in Switzerland.”
“Maybe it’s gout, unidentified sources tell South Korean reporters, or diabetes, or high blood pressure,” the AP reports, with rightful skepticism, considering we’ll probably never really know. “A headline in Seoul offers up the possibility of a common South Korean obsession: fried chicken and beer.”
Kim’s sartorial choices don’t help:
His ankle injuries are said to have resulted from a long tour of military bases and factories while wearing shoes decked out with Cuban heels, which boosted his 5ft 9ins height but proved difficult to walk in.
Next time we see Kim, expect him to be carried, even if it takes a few men. In the meantime, imagine the painkillers this guy gets prescribed.