Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Say what you meme!

This is a work in progress. I will add and subtract things, and maybe amend some explanation. In some circles, it is referred to simply as "The Post."

I've been collecting memes from the various K-blogs. Some of these take the form of stereotypes or generalizations, and some of them have a strong element of truth to them, at least to some segment of the population. The problem is when they are uncritically accepted as being applicable to most or virtually all of the population.

It's entirely possible that I am guilty of the same selective gaze over which I bash many of the bloggers and commenters, but what is noteworthy is not just how the widely circulated memes are so overwhelmingly negative, but how even the positive ones come with qualification. In essence, Korea is the country that can do no right.
  1. VANK represents all Koreans; their attitudes are typical of Koreans.
  2. Koreans are intractably dishonest.
  3. Korean work is inferior, particularly to the United States, other Western countries, and especially Japan.
  4. Korea is full of racists. Extreme meme: Korean is the most racist country in East Asia, the world, the Universe (take your pick).
  5. Korean men are perverts who sexually abuse women.
  6. Korean men are assholes who physically abuse women.
  7. Korean men are dicks who verbally abuse women.
  8. Korean men are subpar, so Korean women want a foreign guy (read: White guy).
  9. Korean men are boring.
  10. If anything good comes out of Korea, it's the exception. If anything bad comes out of Korea, it's par for the course.
  11. Koreans are ungrateful to the Allied Forces for liberating Korea in 1945, especially the United States.
  12. Koreans are ungrateful to the UN Forces for saving Korea in 1950, especially the United States.
  13. If something Korean looks good, it's derivative or copied from somewhere else, probably Japan or the US.
  14. If something Korean looks bad, what do you expect, it's Korean.
  15. If you are a "foreigner," Koreans will never accept you.
  16. Being a foreigner is never to your benefit in Korea. A foreigner can never come out on top in a disagreement.
  17. Korean is too racist and xenophobic to ever be a global power.
  18. If you are a "foreigner" working in a Korean company, you are simply a token foreigner. You're probably just doing proofreading and teaching English to your boss every morning. Note: "Token foreigner" is often written as "token whitey," since many of the Whites in Korea see themselves as the default "foreigner" in Korea, or at least the default Westerner.
  19. Koreans are ignorant fools for thinking that Whites represent Westerners.
  20. Most "foreigners" who commit crimes in Korea are actually kyopo (ethnic Koreans from overseas), so real "foreigners" aren't so bad at all.
  21. Koreans will never accept "foreigners" as Koreans.
  22. Government action is often aimed at keeping foreigners down.
  23. Koreans are like Nazis, but without the power — so far.
  24. Koreans have small penises. Except for the women (who act like they have small penises).
  25. Asian men in general have small penises.
  26. Korean men are mostly impotent due to excessive smoking and drinking.
  27. Korean men (i.e., ajŏshi, ajeossi) are perpetually drunk (corollary: Ajŏshis are alcoholics.)
  28. Most Korean men cheat on their wives.
  29. Korea hides its true HIV infection rates to avoid national embarrassment.
  30. Korean prostitution thrives behind every telephone pole (and barber shop pole).
  31. Korean police are incompetent.
  32. Korean police are lazy.
  33. Korean police do not care about solving crimes where a "foreigner" is the victim.
  34. If a foreigner even appears to be responsible for a crime, Korean police will come down hard on that person.
  35. The Korean media is obsessed with crimes committed by "foreigners," especially English teachers. (This meme in particular gets a lot of play, ironically, because English-language K-blogs highlight crime stories involving "foreigners," way beyond how much play they get in the Korean-language news media.)
  36. Koreans think Korea is a perfect country.
  37. Koreans never complain about Korea; they only complain about foreigners and foreign countries.
  38. If a Korean is nice to you, they want something.
  39. If a Korean is nice to you without wanting something, they're doing so only because they care about bolstering Korean national image.
  40. Korea is a third-world country playing dress-up as a first-world country.
  41. Koreans are rude. Extreme meme: Koreans are the rudest people in Asia, if not the world. And if there is life on other planets, Koreans certainly out-rude them, too.
  42. Koreans aren't really as smart as standardized tests would make them out to be.
  43. Koreans may have mad rote memorization skills, but they have zero critical thinking or creativity skills.
  44. Hyundais are crappy cars. (corollary: Kias are crappy cars.)
  45. Samsung is a pale imitation of Sony.
  46. Hyundai's efforts to improve their brand image will fail because no one will forget Hyundai Excels circa 1986. Never ever, because we won't let them.
  47. Koreans hate Blacks and hold racist viewpoints toward them. Necessary subconscious corollary: Whites have somehow magically become not racist toward Blacks.
  48. Minorities in America, Canada, etc., are treated much better than "foreigners" in Korea. (Necessary subconscious corollary: White people in America know what it's like to be a minority member in America, and it's really not so bad.)
  49. Korean-Americans have no business whining about racist treatment in America. If you don't like it, go home. Corollary: How can you bitch about what happens in America when such-and-such is happening to Americans in Korea?
  50. South Koreans do not want reunification, even though they say they do.
  51. South Koreans will do whatever they can to prevent reunification. (Necessary subconscious corollary: All other countries are working feverishly toward Korean reunification, but South Korea keeps derailing it.)
  52. Koreans hate Japan (the government, the people, etc.).
  53. Koreans are hypocrites because they love Japanese stuff.
  54. Koreans are also hypocrites because they model their national development after Japan.
  55. Only Koreans care about Tokto/Takeshima. Corollaries: Japanese don't care about Tokto/Takeshima; "Foreigners" are uninterested in Tokto/Takeshima (it's a boring and insufferable topic, so move on).
  56. Korean girls are secretly whores. Corollary: Some of them not a secret at all, but everyday Koreans willfully deny it.
  57. Koreans are bad drivers. Extreme meme: Koreans are the worst drivers in the world.
  58. Koreans are filthy people who litter everywhere. Extreme meme: Koreans are the dirtiest group of people in the world, and Korea is practically covered in litter.
  59. Young Koreans don't care about the elderly.
  60. Many Koreans are closet pedophiles who are easily masked because Koreans don't really care if kids are being sexually abused. (Corollary: Koreans care about children being sexually abused only when a "foreigner" — especially an English teacher — is the suspect.)
  61. Korean ajŏshi (아저씨, older men) are self-centered bumpkins who ruin everything. (Corollary frequently uttered by a famous person I know who makes his money masking his disdain for Koreans: "Koreans are just farmers in suits.")
  62. At heart, Koreans are corrupt people who will do whatever they can to get what they want, be that bribes, lies, arm-twisting, plying with women, or flattery.
  63. No matter how hard they learn, Koreans are sh¡tty English speakers.
  64. Koreans send their kids to English classes as a feel-good placebo. Corollary: Koreans send their kids to English classes as a parenting substitute.
  65. Korean Christians are hypocritical pharisees.
  66. If a foreigner is in an argument with a Korean, the Korean is probably wrong.
  67. If Koreans see another Korean arguing or fighting with a "foreigner," they will come to the Korean's aid, regardless of whether he/she is in the right.
  68. Koreans are illogical and emotional.
  69. The Korean government is inept.
  70. Local Korean governments are even more inept.
  71. Rampant sexual assault is common in Korea and rarely gets reported.
  72. The so-called Korean Wave is a media myth engineered by the Korean press and the Korean government. (Corollary: Koreans are the only ones who believe it exists.)
  73. Korean music groups have no real talent.
  74. Successful male Korean music groups and solo artists are closeted homosexuals.
  75. Korean men in general are effeminate; their metrosexual tendencies mask their closeted (or latent) homosexuality; in fact, most may be gay. (Corollary: Korean men's unique effeminate nature may be hormonally induced.)
  76. Female Korean celebrities had to sleep their way to where they are. Related corollary: If they are no longer popular, it's because they refused to sleep with someone.
  77. All pretty girls in Korea have had plastic surgery, probably lots of it. Their own grandmothers can't recognize them, except by smell.
  78. In general, Koreans and Korea just don't have a clue.
  79. Above all else, Koreans see foreigners as dirty.
  80. Koreans are just sixty years out of mud huts.
  81. When bad things happen to me, it's because I'm a foreigner.
  82. Koreans go on and on about how Korea has four seasons, including that only Korea has four seasons and this makes Korea unique and/or superior. 
  83. Korean courts will let you off for anything if you claim you were drunk at the time. (Corollary: The "I was drunk" defense doesn't work for foreigners.)
  84. Hypocrisy is a cultural trait of Koreans. 
  85. All Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fraudulent (evidence: people believe it in their bones).
  86. still working on these (last updated November 4, 2012) ...
In a sense, I've condensed the K-blogosphere to its purest form. Just as a daily dose of resveratrol can replace the consumption of a hundred or so glasses of wine, randomly going through this list each day, when preceded by a glance at the day's headlines, can be the equivalent of a stroll through a few dozen blogs (or, rather, their comments section).

If you find yourself throwing these out one by one in a confrontation with a KoKo, take a step back. If you find yourself thinking just like this most of the day, also take a step back.


  1. Oh my, this is so spot on -- for a moment I thought I'd come to Dxxx'x XXL by accident :P

  2. I love the juxtaposition of 18 and 19...



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