Study Guide

Pyongyang The Pin

By Guy Delisle

The Pin


Everyone in North Korea wears a pin featuring one of the Kims. They do this to show their version of mandatory patriotism, but Guy says, “What had me fooled were those who take off their jacket, and with it the precious pin” (5.3). Can something truly be a part of you if you can just take it off?

What the pin does is force the Kims onto everyone. Their dear faces are ubiquitous: they’re everywhere. North Korea must be what it’s like in a washed-up movie star’s bedroom: pictures all over the wall of someone who thinks he is way more important than he actually is. It’s almost enough to make you believe the delusion.

The North Koreans do believe the delusion, at least as far as Guy can tell. They all seem to be little Kim clones. At one point, even Guy fears he is becoming Kim Jong-Il. We suppose after spending so long in this country, everyone becomes him, in a way. The dictators of North Korea are like the Internet trolls of the world. They’re trolling all of us.

Don’t feed the trolls.