Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Does the public really have a right to know that Kim Taehee was a perfect student?

The Korea Times is reporting on an MBC program that raves that popular actress Kim Taehee [김태희/金泰熙], a graduate of the prestigious Seoul National University, was a "perfect student" when she was in junior high:
Actress Kim Tae-hee, well known for her beauty, was found to have achieved perfect scores in all subjects during three years in middle school.

An MBC TV program got its hands on her school records and disclosed them to the media ahead of the launch of the new entertainment program "Star the Secret."

"The school records showed that Kim had claimed top places during the entire three years, with perfect scores in all subjects at the school. It's unbelievable," an MBC staff member said.
Okay, that's fine and everything, but I find it very troubling that MBC would feel they have any business trying to track down her middle school records. Middle school! Sure, this was a good thing, but is it really anybody's business? Is it something relevant? What if it had been something bad?

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't like how the media — in North America, in East Asia, in Europe — treats celebrities as if they are not real people deserving (and needing) privacy.


  1. I've heard many Koreans exclaiming over what a good student this or that K-celeb is. Privacy aside, I think it's a good thing, compared to the U.S., where it's assumed, usually correctly, that the celebrity in question is no great shakes upstairs.

  2. Kim Tae Hee's publicity machine in overdrive as she rapidly closes in on the expiration date of 30 years until epic "old maid" overripeness occurs and the clock to find that numba one "chae gu" son of a Chaebol empire caliber husband comes to an end!

  3. Oh, did you know Kim Tae Hee loves to feed disadvantaged migrant workers too!

    Oh brother... :P

  4. Yeah, Edward, she might be, as The Marmot put it i, a chaebol wife-in-training, so you might be onto something about the publicity machine in overdrive.

    But it's one thing for Kim Taehee or her publicists to be trotting out her grades (though I would find that distasteful unless it was for a good reason like dispelling criticisms about a lack of intelligence, for example). It's an entirely different thing for the press to be digging up these things on their own.

  5. But, like The Sanity Inspector, I do see a silver lining to this. Lately a lot of Koreans have been getting it into their heads that becoming a dancer, singer, bobble head doll in training, etc., is a better way to go.

    And while Korean schoolchildren don't yet need the head-of-state to tell them in a speech that the odds of becoming rich and famous are very slim:

    I know that sometimes you get that sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star. Chances are you're not going to be any of those things.

    So yeah, I guess there is some good from showing that Kim Tae-hee, Natalie Portman, Winnie from "The Wonder Years," Conan O'Brien, etc., etc., are some seriously smart cookies and that's what people should be striving for.

    But my beef is with the press thinking it's okay to dig stuff up on their own, as if celebrities are not real people with a desire for privacy as well.

  6. Well... methinks (or wouldn't be surprised) if some publicist called some MBC reporter and said, "say... I know where you can find Kim Tae Hee's old report cards!"

    It's just so random to be a natural occurrence, don't you think? That migrant meal thing was a total photo op, you know that's true!

    KTH publicist: Psst... Mr. Photographer of a major media outlet, KTH is going to be feeding migrant workers tomorrow at such and such location.

    Photographer: Okay, make sure she wears perfect make-up!

  7. Oh... Winnie from the "Wonder Years." I remember that I had the hots for her back in Jr. HS...

    I have a thing for Caucasian actresses who have Asian features... ;)

  8. Edward wrote:
    Oh, did you know Kim Tae Hee loves to feed disadvantaged migrant workers too!

    Yes, I was aware of that. The Marmot had blogged it in December 2007 (see link above). And while it might seem a cheap publicity stunt to some, I totally agree with the sentiments of this wise commenter.

  9. Edward wrote:
    I have a thing for Caucasian actresses who have Asian features... ;)

    Careful. That could make you seem like a pedophile. ;)

    Seriously, at least a few Caucasian actresses have Asian blood (or at least Native American blood, which is one step removed from having Asian blood). Audrey Hepburn and Kate Beckinsale come to mind as stealth Asians.

  10. Oh, and Kim Taehee, if you're reading this, I'm totally willing to step up if you have trouble finding that chaebol hubby. I own an apartment downtown and I'm planning to be a professor at one of the SKYESHKCKAIST schools.

  11. Hey!

    Danica McKellar and I are about the same age!.. ;)

    Oh, and KTH... if YOU are reading this, I was just kidding about all that publicity stuff. I'm a smart and successful gyopo. I know it's a trend nowadays for Korean actresses to get hitched with gyopo men... just thought I'd mention it...

    Call me (making silly phone motion with thumb and pinky finger sticking out)...

  12. Oh, I didn't mean you might be seen as a pedophile for liking Danica McKellar, at whatever age you might have liked her (though, if you were obsessed now about Danica McKellar stuff from back then, you'd have a bit of 'splaining to do).

    I just meant that "Caucasians ... who have Asian features" might mean people with small breasts, relatively smooth and hair-free body parts, shortish, etc., and those are not typical of your adult Caucasian women. ;)

    So it was sort of a dig at Asian women, to some degree.

    Actually, Korean and Japanese women are a lot hairier than the stereotypes suggest. There's a lot of plucking and shaving on both sides of the East Sea of Japan.

    And, um, I saw KTH first. Dibs!

  13. "And, um, I saw KTH first. Dibs!"

    Methinks you are older... so I will defer to 외국형. But if you can't close the deal...

    I liked Winnie because she was hot to me when I was 14!

  14. Well, I'm around Ms McKellar's age myself, being as we're both Gen-X Reagan babies. But I'll just assume I'm your 형 to my 동생 if for no other reason than the unearned respect it accords me.

  15. At least the writer got around to fixing the spelling of heroine and she no longer has that drug problem.

  16. Ha!

    I take it back. I might actually be a little older!

    If that's the case, then we'll have to resort to American custom.

    Parking lot... at 5pm... no knives... ;)


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