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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tiger Woods no longer world's best golfer

The previous post mentioned North Korea's lack of a free press. What often happens with such an absence is that the state press then prints whatever "facts" it chooses.

In the case of the North Korean state media, they've reported some amazing things about Kim Jong-il, the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea. Aside from being the composer of six operas, the state media reports, Jong-il is also an enthusiastic golfer who "routinely" shoots three or four holes-in-one per round.

A whopper like that makes you realize you can't believe anything that comes out of a communist propaganda machine. Not their GDP, not their trade balance, not their literacy rate, not their infant mortality rate. And not their leader's golf scores.

Jong-il's reported excellence at golf is a little reminiscent of Chairman Mao's famous swim in the Yangtze River on July 16, 1966. The Chinese Communist Party propagandists reported that the 72-year-old Chairman swam 15 kilometers in the river in 65 minutes. This averages out to 26.0 seconds per hundred meters. When you consider that the world record for the 100 meter freestyle was 52.9 seconds at the time, Mao's swim becomes all the more impressive, especially since Mao kept up his remarkable pace for 150 times the distance, swimming mostly breaststroke.

When I first heard of this I thought, well, it's possible that the Yangtze River was flowing at around eight miles per hour, so all he really needed to do was float for an hour. But then I found out that Class 4 rapids, which are not supposed to be rafted without a professional guide, mean water speeds of over 6 miles per hour. It's doubtful that the party functionaries would have wanted their Supreme Leader immersed in such rapids for over an hour.

It's bad enough that our own President gets the fawning coverage he does, and that the former second stringer at Punahou shoots hoops with professional basketball players who deferentially step aside to let him score.

But this is more as if our media reported that Obama took on the Miami Heat by himself, five against one, with each of the pros playing his absolute hardest, yet still defeated them, 218-74.

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