8.25.2011

A response to The Expat's slam on Korean Sentry, Part I: Critical Writing 101.

So. I'm gonna try to stay on point, here. But I already know it's not going to be easy. So this one is going to be a multi-parter. How many parts? Not sure yet.

Okay. So. Where do I even begin with this? Someone recently referred to this blogger as the "Charles Bukowski of the Korean blogosphere" and I'm just going to go ahead and disagree on that one. Because Bukowski was.... well, he was a writer.

I think my favorite part about this entire situation this man has going on here is the desperate attempt to cobble together obvious racist vitriol with common sense and decency, resulting in basically some of the poorest argumentative writing I've ever seen in my life. Have a look at the opening paragraph, compared to one toward the middle, here:

Exhibit A: Do you know why the world dislikes Korean males? Simple: No balls. Do you know why women in other countries only marry Korean males out of economic necessity? Simple: No balls. Whiny, crying, Korean momma’s boys don’t appeal to anyone except females of economically disadvantaged backgrounds and of course (from a cultural standpoint) Korean females themselves.

Exhibit B: Is it that Korean males in general lack the social skills and confidence required to succeed with Western women? Not at all. I know plenty of Korean males who succeed regularly with Western females. You know what they have that the morons at Korean Sentry don’t have? Confidence and self esteem.

So. I mean. That's kind of basically two completely opposing statements we have here, within the span of a few paragraphs from each other. They literally cancel each other out. Which is a little confusing to me. Writers usually (not always!) need to be able to make a point of some kind. And you really can't make a point when you are stating that two mutually exclusive things are true within the same article when trying to make the same argument.

Now. I'm not a fucking idiot. I understand the concept of reversing a theme to a comical extent to prove a point about the theme being falsified. One of the key points of this tactic, however, is realizing that, if you are trying to argue that the way your opponent reasons is ridiculous, then when you flip his method to apply it to your argument, the results should also be considered ridiculous. I'll give you an example, from the very text we are concerning ourselves with at the moment, just to make myself more clear.

Original:

So of course when you morons go abroad and are continually REJECTED by females in EVERY SINGLE country you go to, you want blame someone. And of course the person you want to blame is the person whose situation is the OPPOSITE of yours. Hence the reason you continually criticize White people, foreigners in Korea, and Korean women who make a conscious decision that they are NOT THE PROPERTY of Korean males. It’s only natural that you lash out at the people who have everything that you DON’T. Hey dude, you know what happens when women all of the sudden have access to more and more options? They start choosing the BETTER of all options presented to them. Duh.

Now, watch this:

So of course when you morons go abroad and are continually REJECTED by females in EVERY SINGLE country you go to, you want blame someone. And of course the person you want to blame is the person whose situation is the OPPOSITE of yours. Hence the reason you continually criticize Koreans, Korean men and Western women who make a conscious decision that they are NOT THE PROPERTY of Western males. It’s only natural that you lash out at the people who have everything that you DON’T. Hey dude, you know what happens when women all of the sudden have access to more and more options? They start choosing the BETTER of all options presented to them. Duh.

Now. I have used the exact same tactics The Expat used to make the opposite point. The point I am making, however, is not that my point is right and his point is wrong. Logic dictates that, since we are using the same brand of reasoning, either both points must be right, or both must be wrong. The point I'm making is that the very method of reasoning itself is ridiculous.

The Expat, however, seems to be basically engaging in a kind of "Nuh uh you're stupid!" kind of debate, here. Which. Well. Bukowski, it's not.

He's trying, I think, at some points to technically say that he doesn't believe this is all Korean men. He is at least trying. But he is more strongly failing. And I don't even mean the places where he makes blatant direct statements about "Korean men" not having balls, when "The posters at Korean Sentry don't have any balls," would have suited just fine. His contempt for Korean men comes seeping through in other places where he doesn't even seem to be aware that he should be watching.

Like the part where he says that Western women would absolutely love to date Korean men, so long as they have gone abroad and have "adapted to the culture". Which I can only assume means, so long as the Korean men are Westernized. Like Western men. With Western values. I guess The Expat has never met a Western woman who has succeeded in adapting to Korean culture, and who has become Koreanized. Or maybe he doesn't even realize that's an option. Which is weird, because he's actually living as a foreigner, which should mean, according to his own argument, that he should be adapting himself to Korean culture.

Which I would agree with. I actually do agree that the main fuckwit over at Korean Sentry has failed to adapt, and is blaming everyone else for his failure, and taking his anger out on foreigners in his own "homeland" as a result. But. Well. I'm kind of.... seeing two people doing that.

I'll get into what I mean by that a bit later.


7 comments:

saharial said...

I didn't even know where to begin to answer that post when I first saw you link to it - the assumptions it makes are making me crazy. Then again, reading the comments, the Expat seems to care very little if anyone dislikes what was written.
I'm looking forward to the next part of your post.

Sidney said...

When I first read this guy's post, I was just mostly really confused as to whether or not he actually meant ALL Korean men or just the Korean men on the Korean Sentry.

karisuma gyaru said...

eheheh... you are so smart. really. i loved you using the argument right back at him.

and i would just like to say that i, for one, would love a crybaby korean boyfriend... enough with macho-men already!! lol.

thebobster said...

I'm the guy who said he's "the Charles Bukowski of the Korean blogosphere." According to my stats, it made one or two people click the link because probably they had never heard of Bukowski. Maybe that's worth everything else.

By the way, if you quote another blogger, why not link also? It works better than an unattributed quote - not just courtesy, it's good journalism, too.

I don't want to say much else except that I know for a fact there were a few people here and there who thought that Bukowski was not a writer. There are some who still say it now, even though hes dead and everything he wrote is now getting made into books. As you know, he did not have an easy time of it. I suspect there were some who also said it about Twain and Hemingway. There are many who will say it about those of us who merely blog. Glass houses, Stones.

Me, Ive always been on the fence about Emily Dickinson. Is someone who never even tried to publish, even once in her lifetime … a writer? Is being a writer merely putting words together, or is it about communication?

And, yes, I hope you will please take that as a playful poke in the rib and a sign that I've enjoyed your blog well enough to look back in your early pages. I have no quarrel with you, nor with Emily. If she were alive today I’d ask her if it’s true that all of her poems can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” And if so, why.?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oTCWwlUNzc

Again, if I take a shot at humor here it is not at your expense, nor do I intend to be patronizing in any way. I like your blog and I respect what you do here. There might be some humorous exaggeration at Expat Hell that you are missing, though.

I'm no Picasso said...

Bobster -- I didn't realize I would need to attribute something like that to a quoted source. Maybe it's because I'm not a journalist?

Of course, there is always debate about what qualifies this or that person as a "writer". But my main point is, I see absolutely nothing of Bukowski in The Expat's writing. Being like Bukowski takes a lot more than just having a negative outlook, in my opinion. If you consider him to be on the level, then that's fine -- everyone's entitled to their opinion! I personally don't see any resemblance whatsoever. And as for humorous exaggeration, I am definitely missing that. As I explained in the later post, there wasn't really anything fresh or interesting or funny to be found for me there. I can basically overhear the same thing sat in the local bar a couple of weeks after the semester's new arrivals have hit town. In fact, I go through a good dose of it nearly every time I step foot in the local foreigner bar. So, yeah. To me it's not really so much humorous as ordinary.

You know Bukowski was an infamous misogynist and I've got a pretty firm reputation as an established feminist. Am I sometimes offended by the things that he writes? Of course I am. And I disagree with even more than that. But I read and love him for the perspective and sense of humor he can bring to the subject matter. He makes me laugh in spite of myself. Sometimes he makes me laugh *at* myself. He's quite different from the drunk guy down at the local pub carrying on how a woman's place is in the kitchen and somehow considering that funny, when in reality it's just boring and unoriginal. Bukowski talking about how he wants to shut his girlfriend up in the fold-up bed because she won't stop bitching at him? Funny. Offensive, but funny. There's a difference, for me.

thebobster said...

It’s your blog, of course, and you can do what you like. I just asked why not. And the courtesy I referred to was not just toward myself but toward your readers, who might wish to know if some larger context was involved in the words you put quotation marks around. And, it’s pretty easy to do.

You say you are not a journalist – shall we assume you are also not courteous? Again, it’s not a difficult thing.

I read Jake’s response to you this morning, and it struck me forcefully how you were able to maintain the pugnacious tone and combative mien in the comments at the bottom. What confuses (and amuses) is that you both agree that Korean Sentry is a sorry and sad little place in the wonderful worldwide web.

I’m going to continue to read your blog, whenever you have time for it, despite whatever lack I might perceive in the way of good manners. You do good stuff here, often quite smart stuff, though you usually choose your targets better.

I’ll keep reading Expat Hell, too. He’s also not exactly polite all the time, either … but, I have to say, he did treat YOU with respect. (I saw no personal insults toward you coming from his direction, yet you worked so very hard to find some that were very obviously not there.)

Again, I wish you well. And I’ll stop by from time to time.

I'm no Picasso said...

Bobster -- It's clear we just have very different interpretations of reality and especially apparently in regards to the definition of respect. I don't know what to say to you, other than that. Thanks for the lecture, though?