Monday, July 6, 2009

One of The Grand Narrative's fans makes a video

Far from seeing this video as a Korea-bashing exercise in exorcising its maker's own demons, I recognize this production as performing a public service: By distilling all bad stuff — real and imagined — from Korea during this decade and presenting it as a rock video, it becomes like a superdose of all that plagues the foreign malcontent in Korea.

If you can handle what you see, you'll do fine in Korea. If not, stay away. Stay very far away. Because even if you never see in person a Korean performer or Russian model in black face while you're in Korea, you'll read about it every couple years, and your whole existence will come crashing down. 

(If I get some time, I might provide a list of explanations and links to the various images along with their location on this instructional and educational Michael Moore-esque montage.) 

HT to juicyhumdinger, who I wouldn't be surprised has something to do with the video or the people who made it.

This is what Metropolitician wrote when he hijacked The Marmot's Hole and posted this vile crap up there:
I like the way the movie makes its final point, punctuated with an all-too-familiar shooter from Virginia Tech. Speaks in a direct way to the hypocrisy of vilifying “us,” since, on the cold-blooded murder front, Korea 32, USA 0. Not that I’d argue that the Koreans should be responsible for the shooter — in fact, I like the fact that the State Department turned down an official apology from the Korean government — but that doesn’t mean it’s still not an emotionally effective bomb to throw back in the other direction.
Tit-for-tat will get you gat. What the fuck is wrong with Metropolitician? With this and his utterly unhelpful and completely biased "Korean Media Watch," he's lost all credibility in my book (and I probably in his): He's now officially all about stirring up shit for the sake of shit-stirring, not about anybody finding common ground and mutual understanding and even respect, reaching out to compromise and move ahead, etc. 

Korea 32, USA 0? What the fu¢k? An emotionally effective bomb to throw back in the other direction? Are you mental? 

I am so sick of K-blogs right now, if it weren't for all the people who resoundingly booed Metropolitician, I'd be seriously tempted to rip Safari and Firefox off my MacBook Pro right this effing minute. 


  1. The video is some what confusing. The foreigner is set up as a victim while freely choosing to participate in ethically questionable choices. Then it appears to do an about face and takes the moral high road in wagging the finger at Korea for its hypocrisy. Maybe the videographer's point is that everyone should look at themselves? Probably not, as most of the video looks to Korea while wagging the finger.

    Curious choice in using the image of Choi Seung-Hui, the mentally ill, Korean American who massacred and shot at people of different ethnicities and nationalities at VA Tech, in the name of what this deranged dude called "justice". I wonder if the author of the video is equating Cho Seung Hui"s motivations, which are rooted in his inability to socialize with the general public and find acceptance from both himself and others to the root of the motivations for the "loser" foreigner in Korea. And promoting the idea, that both Cho and foreigner, given their circumstances should take up arms in the name of "justice" against the "hypocrites"! I hope not.

    The more obvious and face value interpretation is that the author is saying, look at your Korean-self as represented by the face of Cho Seung Hui. Although some Koreans may be prone to lose face (alright enough use of the word face) with this kind of attack, given the fact that everyone from Korean government officials to Korean church leaders found it necessary to issue a public apology on behalf of the Korean people to the people of America, it should be made perfectly clear that no matter how hard one attempts to marginalize Cho as a foreigner with essentialist arguments about his "Koreaness", what stands out most about Cho are his American influences. Such as with Cho's sense of brotherhood with the kids who carried out the murders at Columbine or with the act of naming himself Ax Ismael. A biblical character, who is an outcast. Mind you, Cho is not some kind of Americanphile, living in Korea. This is someone who grew up in the US from grammar school to college. Despite repeated attempts by family, church, school, and even the law, he slipped thru the cracks, walked into a store purchased guns and ammunition and killed 32 people, I think 33 including himself.

    Not knowing the context of any of the Korean images, this video is at best topical to the expat blogs and kind of fun to look at. At worst, a poor choice in image selection in promoting an ethically incoherent point of view.

    Some more reading and listening on Cho Seung Hui (Adam Cho)

    Va. Tech Shooter Seen as 'Collector of Injustice'

    Seung-Hui Cho: Who Is This Man?

    Weighing Cho's Heritage and Identity

    Thanks Kushibo for the vid.

  2. I appreciate your lengthy analysis (Kushibo is fond of voluminous comments), but the producer's viewpoint could probably be summed up in three words, starting with "I" and ending with "Korea" or "Koreans." :)

  3. Lol, your probably right. I just thought the video would be more effective in expressing the producer's hate if it stuck to the basics. Like that teacher/korea hating blogger/satirist. The dubious moralizing in this vid, looks like a cheap attempt at sympathy.

    Btw, my comment is more of an attempt at expanding Cho Seung Hui's story from the video's unverse. Hope you get the time to expand on some of the other images.

  4. that last sentence of the 1st paragraph should say, attempt at gaining sympathy.

  5. As wrong as this video is, I think it gives Koreans the chance to show the world that they aren't actually like what is portrayed in the video.

    Koreans are NOT racists or xenophobes or hypocrites, there are just a few bad apples like Lee, Eun-ung that makes Korea/Koreans seem that way.

    Now is the chance for Korea/Koreans to show the world that's not their true image. The video really presents the opportunity to address some lingering questions that should be put to bed once and for all.

    Right, Kushibo?

  6. Right, I guess.

    In Korea there are loads of things that need fixing or improving, and I could probably make a long list of such things, but I just get some tired of all the WAAAAAAAAHgugkins crying about every perceived insult as they discover the difficulties of being a migrant and a minority and imagine that it's all because of Korea.

    And I think it's especially stupid how people will narrate themselves into a miserable existence, not based so much on what they've experienced as much as on what they've read.

    Does Cho Seung-hui have any bearing on how foreigners live in Korea? Do

  7. goigig,

    I don't know, something about "show the world" sounds too grandiose to me. If there is a problem, Koreans need to deal with it for there own sake first and the image will come second. :)

  8. goigig wrote:
    Koreans are NOT racists or xenophobes or hypocrites, there are just a few bad apples like Lee, Eun-ung that makes Korea/Koreans seem that way.

    There are plenty of people who fear the unknown (including foreigners), are uncomfortable with anything but the status quo (including foreigners), and are just plain ignorant of people outside their own sphere of existence (including foreigners).

    That doesn't necessarily make them racist, but it does make some of them xenophobes. On the other hand, there are also a lot of people who recognize these deficiencies and try to embrace what's new and different — even older people, but especially the younger.

    And of course, like any other country, there are incurable and insufferable racists. Some feel superior, some feel intense hatred, some just loathe anyone who's culturally or physically different.

    I don't know if that number is any more or less than in any other country, but I also am not so sure you can brush them off as "a few bad apples."

    What is "a few bad apples"? Is it less than 5%? In that case, I could agree. There are probably a couple million closet Lee Eun-ungs running around. I'm not going to pretend that such a thing doesn't exist in the US either. As I have written before, I don't know if it's just OC, but there are some vicious racists out there — particularly against Blacks and Hispanics but also Asians — but they are so good at hiding it when they think it might be inappropriate, but then they let it out when they think it's time.

    Anyway, I don't have some pollyanna view of Korea where I think it's all roses and chocolate, or whatever that expression is. Racism and xenophobia are there, and I think the Blacker or Whiter you look (e.g., tall blond men) the more likely you are to encounter it, or so I've gleaned from the experiences of others. And, as I've repeatedly said, the experience is really highlighted for many of these conspicuous non-Koreans because it is the first time they've ever experienced being a minority.

  9. Alex wrote:
    I don't know, something about "show the world" sounds too grandiose to me. If there is a problem, Koreans need to deal with it for there own sake first and the image will come second. :)

    Ah, but image protection is a powerful motivator for dealing with the problem in the first place.

    It comes in two flavors, generally. First, there's the kind where someone who really gets it realizes that the way to influence the masses is by talking up how such-and-such problem adversely affects Korea's image and thus must be changed. Second, there's the kind where someone who doesn't get it is only concerned about Korea's image and doesn't really work to effect a meaningful and lasting change.

  10. The video is ridiculous. Why is this being held up as a model response? How is lumping together random images any different than what you'd find on Anti-English Spectrum?

    For somebody as fluent in Korean and well-connected as The Metropolitician, I expect more than simply filling The Marmot's Hole with lengthy rants and EPISODES OF OUTRAGE IN CAPITAL LETTERS that get mentioned once and forgotten.

  11. Brian wrote:
    The video is ridiculous. Why is this being held up as a model response? How is lumping together random images any different than what you'd find on Anti-English Spectrum?

    I made that very point in several places: It's the kind of thing Metropolitician would be ranting about and railing against if it were made by a group he feels is his adversary.

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