I found an article from the New York Times from July 20th, 1994 describing the funeral procession for Kim Il Song http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C07E6DC173EF933A15754C0A962958260
. There were a few things i found interesting about it. First, the title of the piece is telling. Entitled "In Choreography of Grief, North Korea Bids Farewell to Leader". The word choreography directly relates to what we were talking about today. Were people really that upset? was it a ploy by the government, even after his death, to continue to revere Kim Il-Song and show the world and the people of North Korea how great of a leader he was? The New York Times seems to think so.
In addition to this, within the article it also reports that this event was the least censored when it came to news reports. There were live feeds of the procession, marking a dramatic difference from the normally tightly closed society. There was also lots of analysis about signs pointing to Kim Jong-il ascending his father's place.
There is a certain bias within the article - mainly the connotation that the entire emotional outpouring was orchestrated. I find it difficult to believe that the entire procession was truly the will of the people who were there, however it is slightly condescending and hypocritical to think that none of the people there were genuinely feeling those emotions. Have the processions for Lincoln been entirely propaganda? Or even more recently, the outpouring for Ronald Regan, were all those people there because the government told them to? Granted there are IMMENSE differences between American society and North Korean society that makes that comparison unfair, but on a basic level, there are many similarities. The love of a leader is real, whether or not it is extremely exaggerated. But it is an interesting insight into the way American media viewed this event