Best Mind Warp

Sobbing devotees lay wreaths by a statue of the late Kim Il Sung, CDs bear song titles like "Warm Is the Motherland's Love," and women sport hairstyles that the rest of the world last saw in the 1950s: if you ever wondered where Stalinism went post-glasnost, the answer is North Korea. A visit to its capital, Pyongyang, is like entering a parallel universe where terms like "ultra-rightist" and "imperialist" are not anachronistic oddities but standard phrases in polite conversation. Even the journey to North Korea has vintage (though frightening) charm: national flag carrier Koryo Air flies authentically decrepit, Soviet-made jets....

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