World’s Strangest

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Mrs. Dear Leader

The “mystery woman” seen with Kim Jong-un recently was the source of international speculation, which all turned out to be wrong. The North Korean leader married “Comrade Ri Sol Ju” a few years ago, even before his father died. Ri Sol Ju is said to be a 27-year old graduate student at Kim Il-sung University, pursuing [...]

Amazing Toy Mod Sculptures By Stephen Ives

These awesome sculptures are obviously inspired by toys, yet their style and subject matter would be lost on children. From a Kim Jong-Il potato head to a Virgin Mary shaped jet, Stephen Ives celebrates childhood in a decidedly adult manner. Some look like toy mods, others are sculptures which are styled after plastic toys, and all [...]

The Late Movies: Kim Jong Il’s Monster Movie

Early this morning, we republished a 2006 article from the magazine about the time Kim Jong Il kidnapped a South Korean director and his ex-wife and forced them to make movies in the North (and to remarry). The highlight of Shin Sang-ok’s 8-year period directing movies under duress in North Korea is the monster film [...]

Kim Jong Il, the Director He Kidnapped, and the Awful Godzilla Film They Made Together

Late Sunday, the Associated Press reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has died of heart failure. He was 69. The following story about the former dictator originally appeared in mental_floss magazine back in 2006. © kcna/Xinhua Press/Corbis by Jessica Royer Ocken When your work hits a wall, it’s natural to seek new inspiration. The less natural [...]

Dictator-Style Self Portraits

In a series that he calls Kim Jong Phil, artist Phillip Toledano depicted himself as a heroic leader, much as North Korea’s propaganda art shows dictator Kim Jong-il. He explained that this is a natural thing for an artist to do: It occurred to me that being an artist is a great deal like being a [...]

Hamburgers in North Korea

The first hamburger franchise opened in Pyongyang, North Korea last summer. The unfamiliar hamburgers have become such a hit that customers must make reservations, and the lines are still long. Samtaesung (Food) and Cool Beverages calls their sandwiches “minced meat and bread” to avoid using the American word “hamburger”. According to rates displayed on the restaurant’s [...]

Weird Website of the Week: Kim Jong Il Looking at Things

It’s crucial that the autocratic leader of an on-the-verge-of-starving population look like he knows what he’s doing, lest the people turn against him. One of the top ways that Kim Jong Il seems to do this is by surveying his kingdom, as it were, which also gives the press corps that follows him a chance [...]

The Quick 10: 10 Altered Images

It’s all over the news this week – Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram decided to do a little Photoshopping on what should have been a rather benign picture. But it’s far from the first time a picture has been doctored for political reasons. Here are 10 of them (OK, nine – you’ll see why when you get [...]