Monthly Archives: April 2013

Life Imitates Art?

I made the mistake of going to my local multiplex last weekend to see "Olympus Has Fallen" — a mistake not just because it wasn't a very good movie, but because now I get all confused when I read the New York Times. The Times seems to have taken a plot point from "Olympus" — North Korea makes a move to destroy the United States with nuclear missiles — and incorporated it into serious news stories. Or are these stories just cleverly written reviews/propaganda pieces for the movie, dumped on the front page, disguised as news? Like I said, I'm confused.

Luckily, the Columbia University Libraries provides me with many resources to help me verify the film/news story conundrum. First, I need some background information, as I'm not as familiar with Korean politics as I should be. The Library of Congress has a great resource for this purpose, North Korea: a Country Study. The Library of Congress also has a component, the Congressional Research Service, which acts as a reference librarian for Congress and issues reports on topics requested by Congress. Ordinarily, these reports are not available to the public, but the Libraries subscribes to a module of ProQuest Congressional, which gives us access to these valuable reports. A search of CRS reports for "North Korea" retrieves 499 reports, but since the database goes back to 1916 I will just sort by date and look at the most recent ones, with titles like North Korea's Nuclear Weapons: Technical Issues; North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation; and Foreign Assistance to North Korea. Finally, I do a search on CIAO: Columbia International Affairs Online, to find any research reports written by research institutes and NGOs.

Thanks to these databases, I have achieved clarity on this issue. Now, when did Morgan Freeman become Speaker of the House of Representatives??