June 2, 2009
Man, what a week
North Korea is a puppet state, and the Chinese are the puppeteers. They could end this farce tomorrow.
I doubt China actually asked Kim to step up the provocations as Applebaum suggests, but the second sentence of the above is absolutely true. By giving the North more or less free rein, they can plant huge seeds of doubt about American power at no cost to themselves. Just one more reason things are going to get worse in East Asia before they get better...
April 22, 2009
Hypocritical Earth Day specials
Lewis Black takes aim at the hypocrisy of those awful Earth Day specials for kids...
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Back in Black - Kids' Earth Day|
And this is coming from a kid who watched the video for Take It Back a million times. But then again, if Stevie Wonder, Chuck D and BB King got together and told me to jump off a bridge, I might seriously consider it.
April 14, 2009
Back in Korea!
I just wanted to post here: I'm back at the JoongAng as business desk editor, for two months now. So if you're ever in my neck of the woods, look me up!
It was also bugging me to have something so negative as my last post on this blog. There really is so much I love about this country — sundubu, noraebang, fast Internet, and THE BEST film festivals, just to start. OH, and how CHEAP everything is!
So though I'm no longer a PiA-er, I certainly wouldn't have this job without PiA! And as it turns out Hannah and I will be helping pick the new fellow here at the JAD, so... watch out! :)
March 16, 2007
News flash! America doesn't have a monopoly on bigoted, violent hate speech.
In this movie on a popular Korean video site (link only works in Internet Explorer), two Korean teenagers engage in a mock "debate" on Dokdo. That is, the Korean presents a couple of maps, while the "Japanese" (referred to as "Zzokbari," a derogatory term for Japanese that I'm told means "pig's feet" in reference to geta sandals), in his fake mustache and coke-bottle glasses (what is this, 1980s Hollywood?) spouts mousy insults over images of Japanese war crimes.
The Korean finally says, "I'm gonna kill ya" and drags the Japanese out of his chair, beats him up (under a card showing a mannequin holding a chainsaw) and finally forces him to surrender his claim to Dokdo at (fake) gunpoint before finally shooting him in the head.
These kids are way too young to have been involved or even for their parents to have been involved in the Japanese occupation. And they're way too young to be so hateful. I thought I'd seen everything when it came to nationalist wackos on both sides of this, but that video shocked me.
This next one off YouTube is just weird. An anti-Japanese rap song, the gist of which is that if Japan wants Dokdo Korea should just take over Japan, blares over a slide show of images. Some of them are about Dokdo, but others don't have anything to do with Japan, like TV images of Korean and Italian soccer players abusing each other during a World Cup game, the notorious "Baekdusan is Ours" sign held up by the Korean women's skating team at the Winter Asian Games, several shots of Korean protesters struggling with American soldiers, some screen shots of articles about Korean ninjas (?) . Gradually it becomes clear that this is in fact an anti-Korean piece, as shots of Japanese products -- magazine ads, merchandise, TV shows, motorcycles -- are positioned next to Korean copies, with "ORIGINAL" and "COPY" crudely superimposed. I happen to think the Korean copies of Japanese products -- particularly media -- are a rather creative and harmless form of infringement since, after all, most Japanese pop culture was banned back then.
But the remarkable thing about both these steaming turds is that they are subtitled in English. I'm not sure what these two sides expect to accomplish by exposing their diatribes against one another to the rest of the world. I think we've made it abundantly clear that we don't care. And yet, like cult missionaries on a street corner, people like these continue to preach at us, while programs like the Dokdo Riders receive support from the Korean social and corporate mainstream.
I really and truly don't know how to begin to approach a nationalist youth campaign of this magnitude. All I know is, not only would that first video be entirely unfunny in the U.S., it would get both those kids expelled from whatever school they were in.
January 30, 2007
The Yomiuri Shimbun picked some great cartoons for its awards this year, though bigger resolutions would have been nice. This one's titled, "Trouble."
Lennon put Grandpa in prison
Doing nothing to help the current image of copyright alliances as full of huge dickheads, the JASRAC (the Japanese RIAA) has sent a 74-year-old bar owner to jail for 10 months for letting local college students who play classical piano part-time at his bar take requests for the Beatles and other more modern musicians. Fortunately he's got three years left to appeal, but yikes. It doesn't get much worse than slapping the cuffs on someone who could die tomorrow because he helped out a few music majors and liked listening to Hey Jude.