July 6, 2018

Kim Jong-Un told Trump he didn't know the song "Rocket Man," so Mike Pompeo is bringing him a CD.

The Chosunilbo reports that Kim Jong-Un had never understood that Trump's "Little Rocket Man" nickname as a reference to an Elton John song. When Trump and Kim met, "'Kim mentioned that Trump referred to him as "rocket man" when tensions ran high last year' after a series of nuclear tests and missile launches by the North. 'Trump then asked Kim if he knew the song and Kim said no.'
Trump remembered the conversation and told Pompeo to take a CD with the song for Kim. He reportedly wrote a message on it and signed it."

Kim could have been lying, but it's disturbing to think that he's so out of touch with our media that he didn't have people reading and interpreting what was being said about the President's statements about him. I'm not saying he or his people should already know the pop culture that might be referenced, just that he should be informed of what Americans are saying about things the President says.

And yet, if you google "little rocket man" and click to a mainstream media report on the President's insult, it might not mention Elton John. The first thing I clicked on (Newsweek, last September) didn't.

I have no idea what would work to reach Kim Jong-Un, but I'd like to think that it would help for the Secretary of State to present him with an Elton John CD, with Trump's Sharpied scrawl on it: To my favorite Little Rocket Man, love always, Trumpie.

43 comments:

Quaestor said...

...just that he should be informed of what Americans are saying about things the President.

Come again?

rehajm said...

it's disturbing to think that he's so out of touch with our media that he didn't have people reading and interpreting what was being said about the President's statements about him

Perhaps like many Americans they dismiss our media because they understand when you listen to them you only learn what they're saying to try and get Trump.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"but it's disturbing to think that he's so out of touch with our media that he didn't have people reading and interpreting what was being said about the President's statements about him."

Or maybe the people responsible for providing the updates to Kim realize that the media in the free world paints about as accurate a picture as their own media does, and that providing that exaggerated viewpoint to him would be a disservice.

rhhardin said...

Trump doesn't need to be understood, to work on the people it's supposed to work on.

The understanders like Trump.

rhhardin said...

Rocket man doesn't really use the song. It's just a diminishing epithet. Its staying power perhaps is helped by the phrase being in public, but that wasn't necessary with crooked Hillary or low energy Jeb, and it's not here, either.

Quaestor said...

"Little Rocket Man" is almost affectionate in comparison to typical Nork anti-American propaganda.

Kim is inviting Trump to be apologetic. Just a minor tactic in the Long March toward the normalization of North Korea and the Kim dynasty. Unfortunately for Little Rocket Man, normalization will inevitably include a much deeper penetration of his realm by actual history. Once the average North Korean worker learns a few basic truths about the outside world (Neil Armstrong on the Moon, for example...) the resentment of the isolation and lies will boil over. People will stop groveling before those Ozymandias wannabees, and just as Shelley predicted the Kims will be reduced to absurd wind-worn stumps.

Ralph L said...

They might need to take a battery powered CD player with them, if only to avoid O's royal faux pas with his unusable gift of his own speeches

rhhardin said...

The whole thing is an insult contest. Both sides enjoy it, unless it's swamp people, and they're horrified instead.

Quaestor said...

Kim Jong-un was educated in Switzerland, but his command of English is inferior to his German and French. As I understand it the boarding school he attended agreed to protect his identity and to insulate him from as much Western culture as was practical in return for about $1 million US dollars per year. Therefore given his languages and the circumstances of his education it is plausible he has never listened to Elton John in such a way as to understand the lyrics.

TerriW said...

I can only imagine what Trump would put on an entire mixtape for him.

jaydub said...

North Koreans who might be assigned to explain the meaning of Trump's insults to little rocket man would necessarily have to weigh the benefits of accuracy versus the likelihood of having to eat a few anti-aircraft shells during an impromptu firing squad. Most probably this would affect their interpretations.

Ann Althouse said...

"Come again?"

Thanks for the prompt.

It needed one more word.

Publishing first drafts, in my usual impulsive style. Hadn't got to proofreading this one yet. Had to write about Trump's mistake about Wisconsin, which seemed like such an emergency. I'm always attending to the thing that's emerging and not attending to what just emerged. It's the spirit of the blog that's got hold of me, lo, these 14 years.

Quaestor said...

...if only to avoid O's royal faux pas with his unusable gift of his own speeches.

I had forgotten that one... To think HM would even be interested in his self-aggrandizing drivel and also not to realize the implication of Region coding, Mein Gott!

J. E. Malthaus said...

Trump should've added this: Shatner doing 'Rocket Man'.

You cannot fully understand America if you cannot understand William Shatner performing 'Rocket Man' in a tux while smoking a cigarette.

Shatner IS America: bold, brash, and occasionally as weird as fuck. You know: like Trump.

--LWL

Scott said...

"To my favorite Little Rocket Man, love always, Trumpie."

(Scott laughing on the PATH train to work.)

Mary Beth said...

Elton John CD, with Trump's Sharpied scrawl on it: To my favorite Little Rocket Man, love always, Trumpie.

We'll know when we see it on eBay.

Any other North Korean would end up in a work camp if someone gave them a CD of non-NK origin.

J. E. Malthaus said...

"Shatner IS America: bold, brash, and occasionally as weird as fuck. You know: like Trump."

There is a Star Trek-as-America riff I would like to develop when I have more time:

Obama had pretensions to be Picard.

Trump IS Kirk.

The original Star Trek is one America, the Next Generation is the other.

Like I said: perhaps when I have more time.

-LWL

Mary Beth said...

Shatner IS America: bold, brash, and occasionally as weird as fuck. You know: like Trump.

Denny Crane would have been a vocal Trump supporter.

Mark said...

Meanwhile Kim is double dealing and still developing nukes.

This CD story appears to be an effective distraction from tne fact that Trumps big summit yielded nothing that NK is willing to follow through on.

Narayanan said...

Is there Gangnam version ... Should be included also ... Maybe play over DMZ speaker system!!

Michael said...

Unlikely a Newsweek writer would make the connection. Stupid was usually the last thing thought about journalists. Now it is the first.

Ralph L said...

Remember, Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics.

tcrosse said...

Shatner IS America

He's Canadian.

J. E. Malthaus said...

"He's Canadian."

Yes. But I wrote that he is America, not that he is American.

Shatner could not have become Shatner in Canada: he had to come to America to embody The Dream.

Like he was Captain Kirk of the USS Mayflower.

--LWL

Bob Boyd said...

My take away from the 'Rocket Man' lyrics was, This is why they don't shoot hippies into space.

Quaestor said...

The original Star Trek is one America, the Next Generation is the other.

I think my favorite bit of the entire vast and featureless wasteland that is the Star Trek "universe" since the demise of TOS is toward the end of an episode called A Taste of Armageddon. The story is irrelevant but it involves an alien government seeking to kill the entire crew of the Enterprise to satisfy some hare-brained treaty obligation. Kirk orders Scott to implement "General Order 24", which is the ruthless destruction of an entire planet. How absolutely cool. Kirk would have made a very effective B-san skipper. "I didn't start it, but I'm liable to finish it."

When I saw the premiere episode of ST-TNG I knew it was going to be mostly shit. For starters, the bridge was too damned inclusive. On Kirk's bridge only one guy got the comfy chair — the boss (or the boss's appointed deputy). On Picard's bridge, he's got his fucking therapist up there with him in her own goddamned comfy chair — and Data, the only crew-thing unable to appreciate it, steers the ship from a fucking Barcalounger.

ST-TOS was America in space — here to make nice, but don't fuck with us. TNG was Marin County in space — So you wanna eat our wonderfully gender-neutral brains, Mr. Alien? Do have them with some mango chutney. Dee-lich, darling!

Quaestor said...

He's Canadian.

Being Canadian is like being turned into a newt — you'll get better.

Sebastian said...

"it's disturbing to think that he's so out of touch with our media that he didn't have people reading and interpreting what was being said about the President's statements about him."

Why is that "disturbing"? Cultivating a kind of out-of-touchness has worked pretty well for the Kims. If you don't count the imported pizzas and Japanese and DVDs.

Of course, the Norks might just be smart enough to grasp that the line was a put-down of some sort, without knowing the deep meaning.

"it is plausible he has never listened to Elton John in such a way as to understand the lyrics."

Finally, I discover something I may have in common with Kim. We've both missed out.

tcrosse said...

He's Canadian.

My Canadian grandfather would say it was a distinction without a difference.

walter said...

"I have no idea what would work to reach Kim Jong-Un,"
Similar to the title level of meaning Trump used Rocket Man, maybe include Don't let the sun go down on me on that CD.

Crimso said...

I think for an explanation of a specific thing, Wikipedia is a better place to start (and only start). "Rocke" alone in the search box brings up the link.

J. Farmer said...

@Ralph L:

They might need to take a battery powered CD player with them, if only to avoid O's royal faux pas with his unusable gift of his own speeches

You're confusing and conflating two different things. The DVD set of American movies was part of a gift to Gordon Brown and had the regional encoding issues. The gift to Queen Elizabeth II was a video iPod that included the 2009 inauguration as well as show tunes and photos of the Queen during two of her previous photos to the States. She was also given a signed songbook from Richard Rodgers. The Queen's gift in return was a signed and framed photo of herself and Prince Phillip.

J. Farmer said...

The opening paragraph of this story is instructive:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in North Korea on Friday for a series of talks aimed at persuading the country to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs — a mission that in his conversations with at least two outside experts he has said was doomed from the outset.

I tend to agree with the Secretary's assessment.

walter said...

Here is the source link for that, Farmer
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/06/world/asia/north-korea-pompeo-kim-jong-un-nuclear.html
Apparently two anonymous outside experts, according to the NYT

J. Farmer said...

@Walter:

I included a link to the article in my comment. And I bolded the very line that indicated the sources of the statement. One is certainly free to interpret that skeptically, and the article itself includes an official quote walking it back...slightly.

Heather Nauert, the State Department’s spokeswoman, denied that Mr. Pompeo saw negotiations with the North as bound to fail.

”Will this be tough? Yes,” she said of the expected many rounds of talks. “Will negotiations involve a lot of hard work? Of course. But the secretary is committed to implementing the plan agreed to by both leaders in Singapore.”


Except even this language is vague, because there really is not a concrete "plan agreed to by both leaders in Singapore." The joint statement was a string of generalities, and we still do not know what North Korea means by "denuclearization."

walter said...

The link circles back to Althouse

walter said...

And I just added the more accurate (and typical) prefix anonymous.

J. Farmer said...

The link circles back to Althouse.

Ah, I see that now. Apologies.

Tom T. said...

American political journalists are 27-year-olds who know nothing. How many of *them* understood Trump's Rocket Man reference without having it explained to them?

Known Unknown said...

Rocket Man came out in 1972. Un was probably born in the early 80s.

Maybe it's not in his pop culture wheelhouse.

Narayanan said...

What Is Kim's IQ? His Swiss? nanny lives in US. Nobody has talked to her?

Narayanan said...

Kim's aunt to be correct...
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.smh.com.au/world/the-secret-life-of-kim-jonguns-aunt-in-the-us-20160528-gp61w7.html

mikee said...

Reach Kim? How about a cruise missile?