When Americans talked or wrote about Kim Jong Il, we often tended to play up his eccentricities: his ridiculous sunglasses, his towering hair, his platform shoes, his interest in movies. . .
Still, even if we cannot completely grasp what life is like for ordinary North Koreans, we can at least be honest with ourselves about one thing: Kim Jong Il may have been an eccentric, but he was not, first and foremost, an eccentric. He was, first and foremost, the cruelest man of our time. And that is how we should remember him.