Although I have long since stopped talking about Korea much here at the ‘bottle, except when something smacks me upside the head, an active and vibrant community of Korean webloggers (mostly expats or ex-expats, writing mostly in English, but including some Korean folks and the occasional surge of multilingualism) has sprung up. I haven’t been following any of them until recently, except for the occasional Friday night beer-fueled drive-by-commenting, but my newfound appreciation of aggregation inside Bloglines has got me out there reading them, finally.
Although there are some talented, insightful writers out there in K-land, and many who certainly know more about Korea than I do, the Korean Kluster is probably the most insular, self-regarding echo chamber I’ve ever seen in weblogging (other than perhaps the warblogger circlejerk that reached its zenith between 911 and the beginning of the Iraq Mistake, with whom some of the KK’s netizens share their political leanings), and if you’re careful you can get dizzy following the logrolling in ever-tightening circles. Don’t step in the blog-jizz! This is one of the reasons I eased myself out of posting about Korea all the time, back a year or two ago — I didn’t want to be perceived as a one-note writer, and the fact that I live in Korea is merely an accident of geography and economics and matters of the heart, not the overriding central fact of my existence. And to be honest, the vast majority of waeguk-in (foreigners) I meet in Korea are damaged, ranting weirdos, with whom I’m happy to have minimal interaction.
Than again, that’s what people say about me, too. In a nice way, of course.
The other reason that I’ve had little to say about the Land of The Morning Traffic is that I’ve found myself a job and a place to live that is extremely pleasant and comfortable, and I’m happier than a pig in sh-t, as they say back in the homeland. I simply can’t get charged up for a good rant, when most of the things I’ve been distressed, annoyed, or astonished by here are not things I actually experience any more, here on my corporate Fantasy Island, and hell, I’ve already complained about them enough anyway.
But as I was doing my thrice weekly workout today, sweating it out on the treadmill, hooked up to the headphones and watching BBC World on the TV conveniently mounted at eye level in front of me, I heard such thuddingly inept analysis of the current impeachment debacle from one of the talking heads on Asia Business Report that I found myself talking back to the monitor. In ungracious tones. Unquietly. Which drew some sidelong glances from the other treadmillers, not surprisingly. See also : damaged, ranting weirdos.
This guy — a kid really (damn kids today, working for merchant banks and appearing on TV!) — has appeared on Rico’s show (whatever happened to that dropdead gorgeous woman they had anchoring the show last year? I miss her) before, but had never been tapped to speak about Korea. It was clear why he hadn’t.
I won’t go into details of how laughably far off-base his ‘analysis’ was, but it inspired me to write up a little primer on the last 20 years or so of Korean politics and why we are where we are today, whether you want it or not. Most of the people who read this site do not do so because they’re in search of anecdotes about life in Korea, I’m sure, but I love this place, and I resent it as much as any Korean does when the reality of what is happening here is totally lost by some dipsh-t on TV who gets his information from USA Today.
Stay tuned for an Impeachment Primer, coming to an empty bottle near you, as soon as I bloody well get around to it.
In the meantime, here’re some links to some of the Korean blogs out there that I’ve noticed of late. I missed the Other Friday Five last week, so this can be my atonement. I’m still accumulating a roster of KK reads, so I have no doubt missed some good ones, but since them fellas tend to ink to each other so incestuously, you shouldn’t have much of a problem blogroll-surfing around to find more. If anyone has any suggestions that I should add to my rounds, feel free to add them in the comments thread.
Share and enjoy.