4.23.2010

Re: The Lousy Korea blog 'tragedy'.

Okay. I'm not linking to absolutely anything in this post. Because I'm just not. If you don't know what I'm talking about, and don't care, then that's fine. You're probably better off. If you don't know what I'm talking about and do care, a bit of googling should get you quickly sorted out.

Basically, in short, there was a blog called Lousy Korea. It was an exaggeration of foreigner whining about Korea that expressed fairly brutal views of life as a foreigner in the country. It was meant to be a joke, perhaps satire, whatever.

Whatever righteous or humorous intentions the author may have had, no one can deny that the blog attracted a lot of, in my (honestly, not fucking humble at all, and also not apologetic about that) opinion, really immature "hear hear!" type response on a daily basis. From people who, perhaps, should have contemplated the depth and breadth of the world a little more sincerely before choosing to step foot outside of their little countries.

Then, Korean netizens descending upon the blog posting threats of violence and death to the author, other bloggers they suspected may be the author, and, apparently, children. Which the author felt the justification of revealing without going into specifics. Whatever. Yes. That's obviously terrible. We all know how immature and, frankly, psychotic Korean netizens can be.

Wait. What was that last sentence?

We all know how immature and, frankly, psychotic Korean netizens can be.

We all know how immature and, frankly, psychotic Korean netizens can be.

Meditate on that for a moment.

And now. Haha. Now, people are dismayed. They are shocked and appalled and disgusted. When they did something they knew was likely to cause a certain reaction, and that reaction came. They are absolutely flabbergasted. And raising the totems of freedom of speech. And harking on about how we are all outsiders here and our opinions are not welcomed.

Well. Thank you so much for fighting the good fight. I, for one, am glad to have you here taking a stand for me and making my acceptance within Korean society as an outsider so much fucking easier. Where can I send my fucking 'thank you' card? A job well done, there.

Now, I'm all for rebel rousing. I even have a rather steep inclination toward offensive humor. The Lousy Korea blog was something I was aware of, on the periphery, but didn't find particularly offensive or humorous, and mostly was happy allowing just to exist in another time and place. I'm not a netizen, Korean or otherwise, and I didn't feel the need to really engage with the thing, one way or another. I meet those foreigners who are the walking embodiment of the sentiments expressed in the blog out and about every now and then, and mostly spend the duration of the conversation I may be forced into having with them smiling and nodding, and quietly praying they make it back to their parents' basements before they completely snap and end up splashing the Korean headlines with anti-foreigner sentiments caused by some sort of psychotic killing spree.

But to now take up the bastion of freedom of speech and give condescending lectures about how Korea needs to learn how to control the way it represents its image to members of the international community, when you did such a fantastic job of representing our community here in Korea? Fuck the fuck right off. Are you kidding me with that shit?

Look. I can't do anything about the fact that you felt the need to establish a 'hilarious' blog representing 'my' (categorical -- since you've decided to categorize Korean netizens as representatives of all of Korea) perspective on the country. And normal everyday Koreans can't do anything about the idiotic portion of their society, either.

So. I guess you and the netizens can live together forever in all your internet blazes of glory, engaging in a childish tit-for-tat, each of you taking up your own stupid little self-righteous 'causes', and the rest of us will just continue to mostly ignore you.

I hope you're quite pleased with yourself. Think of the kick all of your friends will get out of this story, as you continue to bore people with it in bars back in your home country until your dying day. Congratulations. For the rest of is, it's back to life as usual. Which you haven't actually had any impact on. Thank god.

26 comments:

Burndog said...

I think that people generally assume that their blog is doing a lot more than it really is (for good or evil).

People also feel the same way about things that they write on internet forums.

I don't read negative blogs. I don't go to Dave's Cafe either.

Having said all of that...I do read your blog...and thank-you for writing it.

That's all that I want to say about the whole thing today (I was more annoyed yesterday...but mostly about a forum).

MS said...

I am a Korean, and i would not have minded if lousy Korea was written by some random person.

but the fact that she is a "teacher" made me quite disturbed. for average Korean whose english is not good at all, they can not understand black humor or satire...

i just hope this does not translate into real world crime.

The Korean said...

::applause::

Diana E.S. said...

*sigh*

Can foreigners in Korea (mostly K-bloggers and people on Dave's) just get the bleep over themselves already? And netizens... I sometimes wonder if they aren't actually just five unemployed losers (English word, not the Konglish one) who like to put hate in their pipes and smoke it, pretending to be a whole mass of angry people.

You've put this extremely well. A big ol' whoop-de-f-ing-do all around with little accomplished on either side but fanning the flames of racism. I would also like to thank Lousy Korea for the host of new E-2 regulations heading our way soon, likely to include a promise not to blog. One small step for totalitarian states, one giant leap for assholes everywhere.

Thanks, guys. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

While the Lousy Korea blog was aptly named, though less for the country than for the blog itself, threatening to kill people for their opinions is completely inappropriate, sincere or otherwise.

But nothing will be done about it, despite the relative ease in locating those responsible.

It is an unfortunate thing when people are allowed to silence other people through threats of murder. The content of her blog is irrelevant.

But that's my opinion, completely irrelevant and unsolicited. It is the LOLternet, after all. ;)

-- .38

Anonymous said...

I thought it was "rabble rousing". Rabble like the hamburgler saying "rabble rabble"

Roboseyo said...

What a mess!

I'm no Picasso said...

Burndog -- I don't know what you're talking about. My blog is the very sustenance the foreigner community in Korea needs to thrive. And Dave's is the happiest place on earth.

MS -- A lot of things bother me when "teachers" do them. I think some people just don't think about that. The fact that they are teachers. And whatever arguments they may make about how we aren't treated like teachers by Koreans, it's not really an excuse to justify doubtful Koreans' points of view on the issue.

The Korean -- I kinda live for your ::applause::. It's probably because I'm a race traitor.

Haha, Diana said a bad word. I love when something instigates that into happening.

Spesh -- I'm in no way, shape, form or fashion justifying the netizens. I'm just saying, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If the author had kept her mouth shut about what "Korea" "needs" to do, I wouldn't have felt the need to react to this at all, or may have even come out on the defensive side of it. But I think, in trying to shame the netizens, and Korea, she's just removed any doubt that the blog was truly just a joke, and demonstrated her own arrogance. I'm commenting on her arrogance, not on the psychosis of the netizens, which definitely exists.

Anonymous -- You're right. I'm an English teacher! Yeehaw! Should I edit it or leave it the way that it is?

Rob -- I mean. Whatever. I just hope no one sensible gets drawn into giving this the wrong kind of (or too much) attention.

Kel said...

I've never heard of the LK blog before, and I googled it and clicked, but I guess it's been taken down...but the good news is, this blog post of yours comes up second on google! haha!

Also, wtf is a "netizen"?

Diana E.S. said...

In this case, I don't consider "asshole" a bad word... merely an apt description of the people involved with this shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

Dear /Pic,

I don't disagree with you, however I also don't agree with you. You see, our viewpoints are irreconcilable.

Also, forget rabble-rouser. Roustabout is the preferred term in this usage.

Some of the discussion about Lousy at the Korean Rum Diary makes the whole affair more bizarre. Apparently her blog wasn't merely sarcasm but was intended as a sort of commiseration therapy site -- a regular community service.

Whatever it was intended to be, certainly it was offensive to Koreans, perhaps it came off as rather arrogant, the sticks-and-stones rule applies: she was considered a colossal negative Nelly by the Koreans and they couldn't handle the existence of something bad about them to exist.

Who, between the two, are the arrogant ones? When a satirist (and I firmly believe her "Korea should do these things" rants to be satirical of foreigners, as the tone was much more appropriate than her usual garbage)-- when a satirist is taken seriously by a third party, what is to be done?

But I did not intend to imply that you approved of the Netizen censorship methods. I did, however, intend to create a binary comparison where Lousy committed the much lesser of the two sins.

All of that said, Lousy unfortunately has a bleak future ahead of her. Rumor has it she will soon be leaving Korea for S. America.

It is anticipated that "Lousy South America" will be quite the hit with the locals.

-- .38

I'm no Picasso said...

Spesh --

I don't think she was being satirical *at all* in her sort of closing statement. I think she genuinely believes she was making a legitimate point. It didn't strike me as tongue-in-cheek in the least.

To me it just goes back to the issue of the people who attacked her, who happen to be Korean, vs. "Koreans". I see no relation between the two. And I think the distinction (or lack thereof) represents a lot of the struggles Lousy and the foreigners who genuinely embrace 'her' views of the country have. Even if those views aren't as severe as the ones expressed in the blog, it still happens all the time.

To Lousy, her co-teacher, who she got along with, was an example of an "exception" Korean. To me, the netizens are.

It can take a lot to turn that perception on its head, when many Koreans have a problem with the same thing in reverse. But I think to truly be happy in Korea, and to be able to appreciate all that it has to offer, and to not need group therapy in the form of a bitchy little blog, you have to find a way to work it out.

Koreans are not members of a cellular mass who move through the universe separate from the rest of us (as much as some Koreans may like to think so). They're individuals, some of them lovely and some of them stupid as hell. A lot of foreigners (you would be shocked how many) don't take the time to really truly find that out, as much as they may acknowledge it cognitively.

I'm no Picasso said...

And actually, you know what? I'm not done....

You're right about our views being irreconcilable. Because you're not living with the fallout of the actions of other foreigners, such as this.

I wake up everyday and live my life as a foreigner in Korea. I have to deal with the fact that, whether I like it or not, whether it's right or not, I belong to a category. And that category is the same as the author of Lousy Korea. So, while I believe that every foreigner has the right to conduct themselves as an individual and not worry about how others will be judged as a result, just as Koreans do, I cope with the fact that that is not reality. Because many Koreans, like many foreigners, have issues making the distinction.

I take my part of the responsibility in that. And I have the right to stand up and say something when someone does something that threatens the perception of me in the place where I live and work.

She's here for a couple of years. What does she give a fuck, right? And so goes the attitude of 90% of foreigners in Korea. Which is a HUGE part of why we have such a shitty fucking reputation. It's not all television and splashy headlines giving Koreans ideas, when a huge portion of the foreigner community they encounter out and about are behaving as though Korea is to be treated as a mercenary gapstop, to be taken advantage of and scoffed at in the meantime, before people move on to bigger and better things.

That's MY reputation, whether I like it or not. Because people, like you and Lousy use the word "Koreans", will make these things about "foreigners". And that's the category I fall into. You do not. So yeah. Our views are a little different on the matter.

Anonymous said...

I'd amend by stating that I was mostly making light of the situation, but somehow that seems both insufficient and rather inappropriate.

As a guest, however, I am compelled to do so, regardless.

-- .38

sonagi92 said...

@Kel:

You can still view the blog in Google Cache. I think our blogger captures the essence of Lousy Korea by describing it as the exaggerating whining of an unhappy expat. A quick glance at any post will validate this.

invisiblemap said...

While I don't agree with Lousy Korea's execution, I wonder when Korean netizens will realize that you can't exactly police the internet.

Freedom of speech aside, it must be tiring trying to police every little thing people say on the internet.

Amandan said...

I've lived in Korea twenty LONG months now and I'd just like to say that I think it's a-okay to be negative about it! Living in a different culture is HARD! Some aspects of Korean culture are down-right offensive. I find it a waste of time to constantly blog about the negative things like "Lousy" did, but come on, death threats, really?
Honestly, I read this blog (and refer my friends to it) because your viewpoint is SO out there! It doesn't bother you that Koreans will lie to your face? COUGH in your face? Call you names? Think you're dirty? Insist kimchi cures AIDS? You must have the sunniest disposition on this planet! Keep on doing whatever you're doing!

I'm no Picasso said...

Being negative about it is one thing. Classifying it all into a borderline psychotically distinct "other"... that's something else entirely.

I just don't get it. Koreans don't cough in my face. No one has ever told me that kimchi cures AIDS, except for other foreigners making jokes. I can't speak for when I first arrived, obviously, but the worst thing anyone has called me in the last few months was when one of my students said I was being strange that day. And when he realized I understood him, his face turned deep purple and he apologized about seventeen times. People don't talk about me when I'm around. Occasionally a seven year old boy will tell his friend to look behind him when I'm there. But at worst, amongst adults, I start a conversation about how someone really wishes they could study abroad, or how impossible English class has been lately, or how expensive hagwons have gotten to be.

I don't have a sunny disposition at all. If any of my friends heard someone say that, they'd fall over laughing. I just think I live in a different Korea than you do. How that's possible, I'm not sure. But it sure seems like it is.

Brian said...

The best response to this whole thing I've read so far.

I got an email a few days ago with the title something like "Korean netizens take down expat blogger" and I was like, oh, an article about me? Then I opened it and saw it was talking about LK, and could think of no better target. Death threats suck, and are over-the-top for a few blog posts read by, like, three dozen people, but come on, nobody can deny that was a rotten blog.

I'm no Picasso said...

It's funny, Brian, because I was just about to reference you. Like Amadan before was talking about it being okay to be negative about things. As if that's what I was objecting to. You, for example, being given the label "angriest" blogger always dumbfounded me -- you never seemed angry to me. Just like someone who paid attention to and thought about what was going on around him.

In contrast, I'm no fucking sunny-side-of-the-street blogger myself. I see and acknowledge and get pissed off about the negative every single day.

But then there are two huge camps of people (one much bigger than the other) on either side who just can't seem to process the fact that Korea is a real place, and Koreans are real people, and this is real life. There are the temple/flower photo posters to whom Koreans are such a kind and generous people! And then there are the people who make constant references to kimchi breath and soju vomit, as if that's all Korea were made of. I guess for them it might be. But I'd suggest maybe hanging around in different places, with different people, if that's the case.

To me, those people are the ones with a completely bizarre view of life in Korea, that I just can't understand. They're the ones whose viewpoints are 'SO out there!' to me.

palladin said...

Hmm ... well I can feel ya on some people giving foreigners a bad name. I'm not even a teacher but I'm always mistaken for one ... until I correct them and get the dear caught in the headlights look.

What I do think is rather funny is this whole social pecking order based on your role in society (aka job) dictating what you can and can't do. I mean I can see teachers but what exactly is an engineer allowed to do / not do???

Amandan said...

I don't think you live in a different Korea than I do. I work in a small town at an all boys middle school. My students do not cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. We do not have running hot water. They do not wash their hands after using the restroom. I am 100% sure this is the same at your school.
I agree, some Koreans are very nice. Some are, many are not. I dated a Korean guy for three months. He was super cool, but I felt awful when he told me what other Koreans were saying (about us).
I was asked by a Korean gynecologist if I was 14 years old when I lost my virginity. In front of my co-worker. Then I was texted the results of my tests, in Korean of course.
I was told by an old man at my (very expensive) gym that I was dirty and I should get out (translated directly by a worker).
Frankly, these experiences have made me extremely leery of Korean culture. I still have a good time at work, I still make the most of my time here but I just don't wear any rose colored glasses.

I'm no Picasso said...

There is hot water and soap in every single one of our bathrooms. And out of my fifteen hundred students over the course of the last 19 months I can recall only one ever coughing in my face. I was leaned over helping him with an exercise and he was sick. He apologized profusely for it afterward. My students do not cough in my face. You can keep insisting that they must, but that won't make it true.

That having been said, you teach teenage boys. What did you think was going to happen? Have you met any American teenage boys ever in your life?

And I can also type up a big list of bad things that have happened to me since I've been in Korea. Do I need to go ahead and do that and get it out of the way so that everyone can get on with their lives, without begrudging me the fact that I'm not obsessed with blaming everything negative on "Korean culture" and being miserable during my time here, like they are? I can type up an even bigger list of bad (far worse) things that happened to me while I was still back in the States. Does everyone need to see that one, as well?

Anonymous said...

Look guys. I am a foreigner, living in Japan, and am an English teacher. I'm from the US. I have also taught English in S Korea, Busan area, for about a year. There was nothing "lousy" about my experience living in Korea. Sure, things may turn out to be bad, or there may be days where you regret moving to a country in East Asia. But you have to understand that you're in somebody else's country, and if you don't like the new lifesyle and cannot adjust to the culture, then that's your problem. I disagree with how Lousy Korea handled her situation in Korea. her blog came across as totally unprofessional, mean, racist, and was a way for her to vent her anger in a highly immature fashion. I have read some of her blog posts, and she referred to Koreans as "painted monkey clown faces" or something of that nature. She also used the "g-ok" word in her blog, which was plain racist! That to me, is NOT free speech. She was definitely inciting hate and even this kind of blog is not protected under the 1st Ammendment in the US! I'm glad that her blog was taken down. This kind of blog gives us foreigners living in Asia a very very bad reputation.

Anonymous said...

In addition, if the blogger of Lousy Korea wants to whine about hate emails and death threats she received, then how about she live somewhere else, such as Mexico, and write that kind of nasty blog badmouthing her host country. If she thinks that death threats from Koreans are bad, wait till she gets mugged and murdered by people in Mexico or S America for slanderous and hatred-filled blogs. Koreans don't use guns and their gangs aren't hardcore killers. Mexican drug cartels and other gangs in S America will decapitate you and dunk your dead body in acid if they catch you talking sh-t about their country. So if Lousy Korea wants to keep whining about being treated unfairly in Korea or any other parts of Asia, I would like her to go to S America or Mexico as her plans state, and seee if she can make it out alive if she does establish another hatred-filled blog inciting violence.

Kman1990 said...

Amandan: Did you ever teach teenaged boys in your home country? I'd strongly doubt that those boys behave any better than the korean boys. You sound so bitter. You will inevitably encounter nasty people from time to time wherever you live. But the thing is that when you live in a foreig country, negativities usually capture your attention and bury positive memories. Of course it depends on one's persoanality. You should go back home, instead of bringing down korean people who hired you.