North Koreans liken Obama to ‘monkey in rainforest’

JISHOU, HUNAN — Pissed that American officials, including President Barack Obama, accused it of hacking Sony’s computer systems, North Korean struck back this week, calling Obama “a monkey in a rainforest.”

Another blogger, the infamous Chuck C. Johnson of, claims that the slur was not a slur, but a compliment. because reasons.

He claims the remark as reported by the official North Korean news agency, KCNA, refers to an idiom, “Even monkeys fall from trees.” 심지어 원숭이는 나무에서 가을 The idiom means even experts can be wrong, or humans are infallible.

I’m calling bullshit on this revisionism. The actual words as reported in Korean media are 열대수림 속에 서식하는 원숭이 which translates as “monkey that lives in a tropical forest,” which as far as I can tell is not an idiom. English reports of the North Korean remark have interpreted it correctly, as we might expect.

I should confess that I don’t speak or understand Korean. Neither does Chuck Johnson. But I went to Korean language news agencies to find the original remark and their use of it. None referenced an idiomatic meaning, but quoted it verbatim. To me, this suggests it was intended a racial slur, or an insult, not as a figure of speech.

North Korea has previously used derogatory language when referring to Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Johnson was quick to rush to North Korea’s defense after the US government accused it of hacking Sony’s systems to retaliate for the release of The Interview, which uses the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as a plot device.

North Korea denied it had anything to do with the hack. Johnson claimed it was an inside job. The FBI and cyber-security experts are now following another lead, a hacker associated with the group LulzSec. Now Johnson is crowing he was right all along, although no one has yet to confirm his hypothesis.

He’s curiously fond of North Korea. You really gotta wonder about that.

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