The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Tyrant chic

Friday, 13 January 2012


In the aftermath of Kim Jong-il’s funeral in North Korea, we learn that those of his subjects who didn’t cry hard enough or convincingly enough, together with those who did not attend official mourning events, are being rounded up and herded into labour camps. Sentences start at six months. More in the Daily Mail here

Meanwhile, the dead dictator is, we hear, to be disembowelled and embalmed for the lasting enjoyment of his people. It is rumoured that the work will be carried out by the Russian corpse-preservation team which looks after Lenin. 

In order to keep him in mid-season form, Lenin, whose afterlife now numbers 87 years, has to have a month-long restorative formaldehyde bath every eighteen months. While being gazed at by his adoring public a little pump in his chest cavity maintains the correct humidity in his insides. 




Woe betide any dead dictator who doesn’t get the Russians in to do it. The Chinese did it their way for Chairman Mao and, working from text books, cocked it up. They pumped in so much formaldehyde ‘n’ stuff that Mao swelled up most remarkably and embalming fluid was seen to seep through his pores. 

A worse fate awaited Klement Gottwald, president of Czechoslovakia, who died in 1953. They didn’t get the experts in for him, either. First his legs rotted and had to be replaced with prostheses. By 1962 the whole of him was in a dreadful state, so they cremated him.  

Moral of the story: don’t try this at home. 

If you can bear to look, there’s a picture of Lenin having a bath below. If you can’t, look away now. 


8 comments on “Tyrant chic

  1. Richard Rawlinson

    Monday 16th January 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Tyrant chic? Tyrants of full of chic.

  2. Vale

    Saturday 14th January 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Made me think of Auden’s Epitaph on a Tyrant:

    Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
    And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
    He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
    And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
    When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
    And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

  3. Saturday 14th January 2012 at 8:33 am

    Yeah, but those Korean bears – so lachrymose they’d blub at anything.

  4. Friday 13th January 2012 at 6:27 pm

    The official N Korean news agency, stung by criticism of the incarceration of those insufficiently moved by the demise of the Dear Old Thing or whatever they called him, point out that even magpies and bears bewailed his passing. Bastards never did that for my mum.

  5. Friday 13th January 2012 at 4:41 pm

    They are terrifically beastly, aren’t they, GM?

  6. Friday 13th January 2012 at 4:38 pm

    That’s better – I’ve stopped throwing up. Dictators – foul in life, foul in death.

  7. Friday 13th January 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Bit like shooting fish in a barrel, Paul.

  8. Friday 13th January 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Best yet, Charles. How to amuse, satirise and shock at the same time.

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