Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blog News

It's pretty rare that this blog goes from Wednesday to Saturday night without a single post; to those who dropped by only to find nothing has changed, I feel your pain. Your refund is in the mail.

Actually, something has changed: I can now see when (most of) you visit, and where you dropped in from, at the "FeedJit" live traffic feed widget somewhere to your right. It's not actually a counter, so I live up to my promise to self that I am not so vain--it's kind of like the visitor map widget except with only the last ten balloons. Temporal info, I guess.

It's been there for two or three days now, and I have actually been amazed at the number of hits this blog generates. Often, you can click on the URL that led the viewer here; I am surprised at how many Google search terms place my little ol' blog in the top five or ten. On the other hand, I would not be surprised at all at the number of search terms that don't.

Fear not, though, O Teeming Dozens, The Seoul Patch will not start debasing its clean, wholesome design with advertisements (inevitably ones which offer English teaching jobs in various parts of Asia, soccer togs, and Kim Jong-il Halloween masks) or begging for PayPal clicks to buy me a new computer, since this one is now a year old, and obviously out-of-date. Not me.

Unless of course it becomes clear that there is in fact money to be made ... then all bets are out the Windows. I wish to point out that you can lay to rest any machinations in this direction if you will just BUY MY HOUSE! 150 BOONE RD, NEWNAN, GA! My agent: TIA!

While I'm ruminating about life in these United States--well, okay, those United States, even though I am a proud American, born and bred--I have become very concerned about the tenor of the political discourse in my home country. I wonder now how soon I want to return. I don't like what my home country is become.

The duly elected--massively so--President of the United States is planning an address to schoolchildren, as other Presidents have done, to exhort them to try harder and achieve more in school, and this is presented by a significant part of the media as a fascist brainwashing move, with parents literally crying on TV and school board chairmen warning people to keep their children home from school.

WTF?!?! Since when does the school board urge students to skip school? Since the right wing sour-grapes, I-want-my-country-back contingent has captured the media, I guess. I mean, if this is what we have come to, Korea--with its 4000 people die every year from American crazy cow, H1N1 will kill all Korean people who travel abroad, 10% of English teachers are crazy on marijuana in the classroom Korea--has a better grasp on reality than the US. That is a frightening thought!

Korea is xenophobic. That is fact. For three thousand years, 99.999999% of anyone you saw in Korea was Korean. We make allowances for that, if we have any sense at all. Until the Japanese invaded in 1910, Koreans had literally no foreign contact outside of China. WWII and the Korean War brought the first real, sustained contect with people from outside Korea. More to the point, I see efforts being made all around me to improve the situation.

America is just 200+ years old. Other than the native population which has been killed, segregated and marginalized, "American" is not, or has not been, a racial term. Germans, Hispanics, Italians, Irish, etc., right? Melting pot and all that. Light-skinned people grudgingly admitted dark-skinned people have the same rights as them, back in the sixties, right?

Well, apparently not. Black men who are President cannot possibly be born in America, at least according to 60-odd percent of people who call themselves Republicans--the "birthers". The same people who give a pass to the previous administration for calling anyone who disagreed with them Traitor, who were okay with wiretapping anyone who made phone calls overseas, who don't want to look into Soviet-style "black prisons" where the Red Cross cannot go, who care not that US soldiers murdered foreigners under the guise of getting actionable information, and on and on, nonetheless call mixed-race Obama who wants to help sick people get better health care a fascist. Look up the definition, and get back to me.

I weep for my country, that it is more xenophobic than Korea.


Jo-Anna said...

Wholeheartedly agree... I'm not excited to go back to that either... In all likely hood, I'll be back...

John from Daejeon said...

I agree with much of what you had to say, but not the "massively" part. Less than 10 million votes separated the two and less than 10 percentage points.

What was "massive" were the idiots who were too apathetic to even cast a vote. Nearly 230 million people over the age of 18 in November 2008 and only about 130 million of them cast ballots. Granted, a few million out of this near 100 million nonvoters were either in jail or nursing homes, but it still smarts that so many don't take advantage of participating in this sorry two-party democracy that is supposed to serve as a role model at home and abroad.

It looks like the only thing today's youth will get out of all this nonsense between these "upstanding" politicians, and these two warring parties, is just how ineffective the whole system really is--no matter the year, decade, or century. They'd be better served watching the great miniseries, “John Adams,” and seeing, that other than our fancy electronics and hipper lingo today, things haven't really changed in the last 200+ years since the first John Adams took up residence in Obama's current one.

I just hope one day we all wise up and realize that it isn't about countries, and the nonsense that goes with nationalism, but about this big spinning globe that we all share, and that no one had a choice in choosing the location of their birth, the color of their skin, or some illogical religion that was also thrust upon them due in part because of where they happened to exit the birth canal.

The Sanity Inspector said...

Quibble: Korea had extensive contacts with Western missionaries before the Japanese took over. The missionaries, especially those of the Presbyterian church, had a transformative effect on Korean society. Along with the clinics and schools they founded, the doctrines of Christian compassion and steadfastness seeped into the culture. Indeed, Christianity proved to be one of the few institutions which could even attempt to stand up to Japanese imperialism. It's one of the reasons why the church flourished again in Korea after the war, North Korea sadly excepted.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how neo-liberals seem to have a monopoly on the truth. Apparently, there is nothing wrong with free speech, unless it's a conservative offering his opinion.

"fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it.

Seems to me this definition fits pretty well what the dear leader is attempting.

Tuttle said...

Hi, everybody, thanks for your comments. Politics isn't really a theme of this blog, but occasionally, it invades.

So, Mr. Anonymous complains about how "neo-liberals" (I guess including Tuttle here) are all for free speech unless it's conservative. Which is why I deleted his comment. Hmmm. And why the media refuses to report ad nauseam the vitriolic crap spread by haters at the town hall meetings. Hmmm. Good point, you got us there ...

I'm temporarily confused though--is dear leader the guy in NK, or Obama? Oh wait, if you "require owners to use their property in the national interest" that would mean GWBush, who forced telecoms to divulge private information about ordinary Americans traveling through their private switches. Right?

I have another quibble with the terminology of Mr Anonymous (if that is your real name): free speech--does that mean shout loudly, persistently, name-calling, foaming at the mouth in order that others cannot be heard? How is free speech the act of *preventing* children from hearing the President speak? You've got it backwards, IMO.

But anyway, did say protest should be banned or outlawed? No, I simply bemoaned the state of what passes for political debate these days. And I said, and I believe, the hateful division in this country is the result of a deliberate political strategy--of reliance on wedge issues to inflame the "base", strawman arguments to make liberals look weak (people who oppose my illegal wiretaps don't want to listen in on the turrist) and outright lies. Gee thanks, Karl Rove.

John, thanks for your thoughtful comment. Actually, I know 10 million votes or so might not sound like a lot, but in the context of 2008, it was a drubbing. You've got to go back to Dukakis (Willie Horton lies, anyone?) to see such a huge difference for the winner. And I certainly agree that when nearly half of the eligible voters don't turn out, democracy in America looks bad. But it's been that way since I started voting. Actually, it was worse.

TSI, I did know that Western missionaries have a longtime presence in Korea, and in fact founded many of the better universities, including Yonsei and Ehwa. However, Cheoldusan (Beheading Hill) suggests that their influence was not always appreciated, as many early Christians were martyred there. It was remiss of me to gloss over this; however, I did visit Yanghwajin and posted about it back in November of last year.

Jo-Anna, I know you are headed stateside for a spell, but I assumed you would come back--I hope so!