In an effort to stop citizens from snarking on him and his regime, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has outlawed the use of sarcasm when discussing the governance of the country. Or else, well, it’s not entirely clear, but he did just execute a senior government official for slouching at a meeting, so who knows?
The unofficial ban was communicated by representatives of the state to North Koreans throughout the nation beginning last month, according to Radio Free Asia.
“The main point of the lecture was ‘Keep your mouths shut,’” one source told the news agency.
The national mood seems to be like that of a barely contained classroom:
Expressions of public discontent with the North Korean regime have spread widely in the tightly controlled state this year, with graffiti mocking production slogans appearing at a construction site in Pyongyang and “more serious” scrawlings attacking Kim Jong Un personally found in areas near China, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Along with the blanket ban on sarcasm comes the prohibition of a few specific phrases. “This is all America’s fault” is one Dear Leader would prefer to never hear again. The phrase, delivered in a mocking tone, has apparently become a common way to ridicule the regime’s habit of blaming the U.S. for all of its problems. Now that it’s been banned, though, Kim Jong-un can be certain no one in North Korea will ever say it again.