Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wrapping up my blogged correspondence with Lisa Ling

My apologies for not providing an ending to this trilogy sooner, but real-world things sometimes take precedence over blogging and responding to bloggers.

To recap, Ms Lisa Ling took considerable issue with things I wrote in regards to the events surrounding her sister's and her sister's colleague Euna Lee's capture and imprisonment in North Korea, including the book that resulted from it (to be released today, May 18). At my request, she graciously allowed me to post the email she had sent me (here), and I posted a rather lengthy rebuttal (here), with the understanding that she could respond to that if she chose, and I would let her have the last word.

In turn, she sent me a cordial response that was largely let's agree-to-disagree, while reiterating that her sister is "an extraordinary person with the kindest heart." Ms Ling is obviously a busy person and she also has real-life responsibilities, so she asked if we would just leave it at that without me posting that final letter. I know my rebuttal was lengthy — and I do have a tendency to overwhelm with such responses — so I think her decision is a fair one.

But I had suggested to my readers that when our public exchange was over I would finally allow comments to be opened, so that's what I'm going to do here. I know from posts like this one at One Free Korea that people do have things to say one way or the other, so it's appropriate to open up the floor, if people still have a desire to say something.

If I haven't made it clear already, let me add that I'm grateful to Ms Ling, a public figure who had no obligation to politely engage a critic such as I, for allowing me to have done this at all.

I'd also like to point out that since our exchange, Ms Ling has also graciously (I've used that word several times, but it is the best choice for describing the interactions I've had with her) offered to send me a free copy of her and her sister's book, a loophole of sorts that allows me to read my own copy (instead of borrowing it from the library). I will give it a fair-minded read, looking for answers to my criticisms and concerns while also keeping in mind that, as Ms Ling and I have both noted, "we are on the same side."


  1. I'm buying my copy of the book with the remnants of a gift card I got last Christmas.

    And as I mentioned in my email to you, I apologize for anything negative I said to you on the matter.

  2. I've got a lot of thoughts, but I'll leave most of them to a readership far better informed than myself. I think your criticisms are fair, and I think you handled the situation respectfully. I even feel that some of the language that you later stepped back from lie within the realm of the reasonable; if a situation that results in the loss of human life does not warrant such a tone, then what does? While such criticisms may be upsetting to those who are subjected to them, they remain valid, and justified, especially when of someone who themselves are actively canvasing the public eye. You at no point (that I know of) resorted to ad hominem attacks, giving your objective view on the action, not the person. If that's lead to bruised feelings, then I feel that is perhaps the price that comes with (willfully) positioning yourself as a public figure. While this may seem callous given all this family has been through, I feel that in any discussion, their suffering has to be weighed against consequences that are at least as grave.

    All that being said, kudos to her for engaging you in such a cordial manner.

  3. Jeremy wrote:
    And as I mentioned in my email to you, I apologize for anything negative I said to you on the matter.

    No worries, Jeremy. I'm an opinionated person even when I don't intend to be, and I was quite adamant about my POV on this one when I seemed to be swimming against the current of popular sentiment.

  4. JamesRC wrote:
    You at no point (that I know of) resorted to ad hominem attacks, giving your objective view on the action, not the person.

    I tried to be objective and keep it about the issues at hand. I did refer to Laura Ling, Euna Lee, and Mitch Koss as The Stupogants™, but I've backed off from that.

    As I wrote at the bottom of my response to Lisa Ling, it is easy to forget that people in the public eye do have feelings, and even if I don't like what someone did or how they're handling something now, I should respect that. I know that's how I'd want to be treated.

    And yes, Lisa Ling deserves credit and respect for graciously offering to engage such a vocal critic in this way. She did not know what I was going to write, but she allowed the public correspondence anyway. Kudos to her.

  5. Only one quick observation, we are all on the bright side of things, really cannot compare our lives to people in North Korea.

    I am sure that you know this, maybe even better then me. So where is place for God here? Seriously, seeing what life in North is, and thanking God for anything (especially own well being) is more than ridiculous!

    Unless God have a plan for those people, well then we are all in good hands.

    I understand that my comment may sound like 'out of the blue' one, but, seriously, how many years of indoctrination one need to belive in God after seeing/reading anything about North.


Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.