Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

The Metropolitician has lashed out at The Marmot for calling him a "crazy Nigga."

The Marmot (Robert/Bob) wrote:
I just hope Mike took his pills before reading that. I would hate for this blog to give a fellow blogger an aneurysm. Or a severe case of carpal tunnel, knowing Mike.
To which Metropolitician (Mike) responded:
Sooooo -- over at The Marmot, it's now not just belligerent commenters, but the founder himself, who suggests that I must be crazy (hence, the pill-taking, I assume) because 1) I report that I am regularly harrassed in places such as the subway in Korea, along with dozens of other instances I can cite, as well as countless other people whom I know and 2) he implies that I either bring it upon myself or, alternatively, must be crazy to report it back to others as a pattern. ...

Remember, Robert, YOU brought this shit up, brought my name into this, and implied in front of thousands of readers that I would have an extremely violent reaction and a specific opinion to this topic (which I don't) -- all completely UNSOLICITED by me, out-of-the-blue. Just like your commenters, I'm not only not even talking about any of this within earshot of you people, I'm not even THERE for the conversation -- YET YA'LL KEEP BRINGING ME UP.

My reaction to something like that isn't unreasonable, nor unexpected. I'm not in your grill, nor on your blog, talking about race, violence, or anything else -- I've been wise enough not to even broach any serious topic on your blog, what with the puerile nature of your commenters. Even with that, I've always either linked to or written on your blog respectfully, and spoken of you in the same way. We don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but I thought there was at least respect as colleagues.

So I don't see the need, or how it's at all appropriate to be talking about me going into histrionics, needing to "take my pills," or some such shit, basically making me the unsolicited whipping boy for all that is liberal, related to race, or blackness in your part of the blogosphere. Like the post about the black dude who filmed himself fucking some Korean chick on secret camera, where some commenter started talking about my MOTHER and something to do with the slime or other bodily fluids that your commenters guffawed about me being the result of. And I know you DO sometimes intervene and police your commenters -- just not for unsolicited, disgustingly racist comments. You tacitly approve them, and probably find them as funny as your peanuts gallery apparently does.

Because now, you're apparently participating in the baiting. Because that's what it is when I'm sitting over here eating my fucking oatmeal only to read about how you apparently think, like your readers, that I'm some fucking comic book character who's lost his marbles, is going to go vitriolic batshit over anything touching the subject of race, or is constantly engaging in self-serving name-dropping when YOU people are the only ones bringing either me, or that shit, UP.

I expect as much from your commenters, but not from you. I was pretty goddamn surprised, actually.

So, a very hearty "fuck you" to you, Bob.
Please bear in mind that Metropolitician guest-blogs from time to time on The Marmot's well-known site.

Mike does bring up some valid points, which I deliberately left out here so you'd have to read his words on his blog. But while I think it's valid to point out that the hanbok-wearing White dude that is The Marmot is not regarded the same or treated the same as the 'fronytail-sporting Metropolitician, I'd also like to point out that Metropolitician's experiences in Korea are full of much more drama than most other Black people I've known in Seoul (a group that includes my tenants, my students, my classmates, and a few co-workers).

The Marmot didn't actually call Metropolitician the N-word. That was Metropolitician's interpretation, apparently. Metropolitician often hears people saying "Nigger" when they've actually said something else, a point I addressed here a year ago:
There is something inherently problematic about using a simplistic one-to-one correspondence when explaining in one language what someone said in another. I covered this in my "Do you know Ch'usŏk" piece, but I think a more relevant example comes in, say, the outrage about Koreans saying "Nigger."

I have long felt, and The Marmot seems to agree with me, that 검둥이 (kŏm•dung•i) is better represented as "darkie." The word is still insensitive and inappropriate, but it by no means carries the historical baggage — and violence — of nigger. Koreans have not been lynchers of Blacks, they have not legally or physically barred Blacks from marrying Koreans (or anyone else), nor have they enslaved, segregated, red-lined, or systematically and institutionally tried to keep down Blacks. Nigger comes from that violently supremacist mentality, which is far different from the xenophobic race-infused mentality that produces words like 검둥이 (or 흰둥이 for "whiteys"), and that makes it terribly misleading to use them as equivalents when describing racism or attitudes about race.

[Of course, if you're on the receiving end of it, it may be seen as tah-MAY-toh/toh-MAH-toh, but I submit that the latter is far less damaging and much more amenable to change than the former. I also recognize that a WASP WASP-like entity German-Irish Catholic from Long Island (The Marmot) may be the last one to expound on the comparative hurtful usage of 검둥이 or Nigger being hurled at someone, but I'm straight out of Compton, so maybe I've got a little more cred. Just a little.]
And speaking of my childhood back in Compton, I don't recall anyone at our "playground where black folks go" saying, "Don't start no shit, won't be none." Not that it isn't good advice. (Seriously, I do find it amusing when Metropolitician uses TV versions of Black people in an attempt to wrap himself in street cred; I don't think Metropolitician would have lasted long in my old neighborhood.)


  1. Why doesn't Rob just revoke Metro's guest blogging privileges?

    The Metro has always struck me as a paranoid quack. But a good guy to go to get a read/reaction from on something Korean and African American related.

  2. Me thinks he a) misunderstood the statement, and b) sort of proved my point. I'm a fat white guy in a hanbok that straddles the line between strident right-wing views and Korea apologetics, perhaps best known for a commentariat that is perhaps a tad too lively at times. I know this, and try to have a sense of humor about it. At this point, Mike must know he has a reputation for having bad stuff happen to him and making really, REALLY long posts, so you'd think he'd learn to have a sense of humor and just rib me back.

    And no, I'm not going to revoke his guest blogging privileges. Mike's a good guy and when he does guest post, it's valuable stuff. Anyway, it's not like I'm offended by his last post.

  3. This feels all so Jerry Springer like...

  4. For the record, though I think it was a bit over the line for Metropolitician to so quickly go off like that (and it's very characteristic of his emotional and decidedly undiplomatic style, even in response to someone providing him something as valuable in the blogging world as a guest blog position in the most widely read English-blog in/about Korea), ...

    ... I am not advocating in any way that he be removed as a guest blogger. Though the Poker-8 post stands out as a glaring exception (what a load of crap that was), I generally find his posts at The Marmot's Hole quite worthwhile and a good fit for the blog.

    If only he (and King Baeksu) could apply some sort of filter between their brain and their fingertips. Then again, if only his knee-jerk hatah-critics could hold back from time to time.

  5. And Robert, I would say the hanbok is slimming. In my mind's eye, I don't recall you being particularly large (certainly not by Hawaii standards), and I only reminded of this "fact" when you bring it up.

  6. Alright Rob. I concede the point. But you have to agree that Metro is a better poster than he is a commenter.

  7. Edward wrote:
    But you have to agree that Metro is a better poster than he is a commenter.

    Except on his own blog. ;)


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