North Korea Is Using Riley the Stoned Birthday Dog to Illustrate American Excess

Riley's lavish first birthday party in 2010 is everything wrong with America.

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Jul 7 2015, 6:24pm

Classic internet image originally by Maureen Ravelo

North Korea's state-run TV channel KCTV has a news program called Today's World that occasionally winds up getting posted on YouTube. A recent episode spotlighting the relative prosperity of dogs and humans in the United States, was—get this—kinda weird.

That's in part because it used the internet's favorite stoned, birthday-celebrating, bichon-poodle mix to illustrate how American dogs are showered with expensive creature comforts, while American humans sometimes live in squalor and misery.

Here's the segment. Obviously, it's in Korean. The famous image of Riley shows up at the 4:48 mark:

A North Korean dissident named Kim Heung-kwang told The Guardian "I have heard of cases where DPRK media producers used the wrong pictures on a movie or newspaper, but this is the first time seeing it on the internet."

That paper's translation of what the North Korean pundit, Lee Chung-song, was saying is that billionaires waste money on $15,000 collars, and pay for their dogs to stay in lavish hotels, while there's a whole underclass of marginalized homeless people in America who get none of those things. In some ways, Lee is understating the case. But at the same time, he's not saying much we haven't heard before.

What's more, Lee completely misses the whole point about the weed that Riley's owner has denied is in that birthday cake. As far as we can tell, there's no mention at all of our country's budding fascination with blowing bong hits in our dogs' faces, and our attempts to establish a legal framework for doing so.

In addition to our new tendency to waste weed, Lee might want to get hip to the propaganda value of other dog-related internet phenomena that could be used to trash America. For instance, Mr. Lee, have you heard that Deep Dream, Google's new mindfuck of an image filter, has just been used to prove conclusively that dogs did 9/11?

Want Some In-Depth Stories About North Korea?

1. Kim Jong-un's Weight Gain Sparks Health Fears
2. Seoul Asylum: The Brutal Existence of North Korean Defectors
3. The North Korean Haircut Mandate Is Totally on Brand
4. Where Was the North Korean Outrage Over 'Team America: World Police'?

Follow Mike Pearl on Twitter.

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