SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Two seemingly unrelated stories out of North Korea converged Tuesday to reveal a disturbing link, as former NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman announced another bizarre visit to Kim Jong-un immediately after an English language newspaper in South Korea, citing unnamed sources, broke a jarring story that claimed the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had ordered his girlfriend executed by firing squad. When asked about the reason for his third trip to Pyongyang, Rodman, whose life is riddled with legal problems from his failed marriages, said he planned to seek Kim's wisdom and advice on resolving complicated matters of the heart.
Kim Jong-un's erstwhile girlfriend, Hyon Song Wol, a pop singer with the group Bochonbo Electronic Music Band, originally met him when both were in their teens. South Korean media reported that the couple began a controversial and widely circulated affair over 10 years ago, after Kim's return from a private school in Switzerland. At that time, his father, former DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il, forbade the relationship.
On August 17, Hyon was arrested along with several members of the Unhasu Orchestra and charged with violating North Korea's anti-pornography laws for allegedly filming and peddling a sex tape. All were treated by authorities as political dissidents. Hyon was executed three days later.
Hyon's song, "Excellent Horse-Like Lady," has since become a posthumous sensation. The tune garnered additional notoriety when BBC stations, in an unfortunate moment of miscommunication and poor translation, played the melody during Duchess Camilla Parker Bowles' arrival at the birth of Britain's new prince.
Stranger than Kim dispatching soldiers to shoot his lady friends to pieces, and then deposit the remains in shallow graves after the loving, was Dennis Rodman's announcement of a third social call to the little dictator, who just months ago issued tangible threats of war against the West and its allies.
Rodman's first excursion to Pyongyang was promoted as a cultural goodwill mission for the Harlem Globetrotters, who had expressed a desire to seek high-stakes, life-and-death games after languishing through tedious decades of existential dread brought about by endlessly trouncing American teams such as the Washington Generals.
Kim has been described as an avid basketball fan, with Rodman's former Chicago Bulls among his favorite teams. Rodman returned to Pyongyang in February 2013 during a contentious round of saber-rattling between world powers, which followed North Korea's detonation of a nuclear device in a prohibited weapons test. Rodman boasted in the press of the friendship he'd struck with Kim, which escalated tensions.
Although none of his trips have been sponsored by the U.S. government as ambassadorial, hopes that Rodman could secure the release of Kenneth Bae, a 44-year-old Korean American being held captive for "hostile acts against the state," ran high.
But with little to show for his efforts, Rodman's now routine voyages to Pyongyang have confused and rankled members of the State Department.
"It's not clear what the hell he's doing over there, but we see it as nothing more than a tiresome and pitiful publicity stunt," one official said. "The piercings, the outrageous attire, the tattoos, the stupid pastel hair colors and his dalliances with celebrities like Madonna have all been part of this sad, desperate charade. Really, after physical intimacy with Madonna, how much lower can you drag yourself for attention? And how much more unsanitary or clownish could Pyongyang seem? Our fear is that if people don't pay him some mind soon, he may actually start killing hobos."
Those close to Rodman claim that the former athlete and celebrity is merely pursuing every avenue at his disposal to raise money. His financial and legal troubles have been hallmarks of the 2000s, with Rodman consistently appearing in court for disorderly conduct, domestic violence, DUIs, disturbing the peace, and particularly alimony and child support disputes.
Rodman's first marriage to Annie Bakes, with whom he sired a daughter, ended in divorce in the early 1990s. His marriage to Carmen Electra ended in 1999, just a year after the nuptials. Immediately after, also in 1999, Rodman met Michelle Moyer and fathered two more children. When the marriage was officially dissolved, Rodman was ordered to pay $860,376 in child and spousal support, which effectively bankrupted him.
Before clearing him to leave the country, officials from the State Department, DHS and U.S. Customs demanded of Rodman a detailed explanation for the purpose of his visit. He admitted that he was seeking his "friend Kim's advice on women. Nobody here understands how my life has been ruined by immoral, conniving, evil women. But Kim can relate. And nobody in the states seems to have such a righteous system for ending bad relationships, especially one that's equitable for the man. Obviously, Kim's figured that out too."
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.