After wondering if ISIS is "joyous," Joyce Carol Oates muses on North Korea.

Earlier this week, the celebrated novelist and short story writer—whose Twitter commentary on current affairs periodically takes spectacularly baffling turns—asked a question: 

Most of the responses to her tweet confirmed that the query did seem misplaced. 

But today, Oates revisited the same line of enquiry—is joy possible in a pariah state?—this time turning her attention to North Korea: 

It’s of course worth pointing out that almost no one chooses to live in North Korea, a country that is notoriously difficult either to enter or to defect from. And that books such as John Everard’s Only Beautiful Please describe in detail the regular “interludes of communal, social happiness” enforced by the Pyongyang government.

But the parallels between the two places, Oates seems to assume, are clear enough that she doesn’t need to use the term “ISIS” any more. She now refers to “our current mortal enemy” and simply “****”: