Because Yes, Nationalism Is Bad

Further proof in this tragic waste of time (HT to Idiot’s Collective)

Like, truly tragically wrong. So wrong that I’ve gone to the trouble of reposting this video.
What force has the entardening power of nationalism to shut off people’s power of rational thought. I find it truly disgusting that people would make such a pathetically self-serving one-sided video without even the apparent ability to see why some (read: all those outside of South Korea) would have a difficult time accepting the message, medium, and means of communication chosen for this video and song.
That said, I should be careful myself to not fall victim to what I call ‘Brian’s Folly’, or the tendency to think that just because something is in English it needs to be heard, understood and digested by English speakers. I’m sure the douchebags who made this video are getting mad play for their trouble from their countrymen. The trouble I have is that, if the rest of South Korea is going to pretend that making shitty songs about Dokdo ‘for a foreign audience’ is somehow going to serve the country’s political interests, at least polish it up enough to be credible. I shudder to think of the degree to which most South Koreans who see such a pro-Dokdo video will be bound to ‘agree’ with the ‘effort’ to ‘convince’ ‘foreigners’ of South Korea’s claims to the islands that they occupy.

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~ by Joe on January 4, 2009.

9 Responses to “Because Yes, Nationalism Is Bad”

  1. “I’m willing to die for the peace of Korea” – Ironic, no? Does that mean he’s a pacifist who wouldn’t raise a hand if Japan decided to take the islands by military force?

    I think it should be made clear – No Koreans “love” Dokdo. Koreans may love the idea of keeping Korean land out of Japanese hands, but the island Dokdo itself – Nobody loves it. But, oh yes, I’m sure the politicians love the potential EEZ that possession of the island brings with it.

  2. Ouch.

    But I guess it is telling that I have just as many posts about beef, Dokdo, and teh Sea of Japan as your average Korean netizen would.

  3. Brian,

    I jest, but in all sincerity I just mean don’t take any of it to heart. Korea’s English-language activities are really just so much nationalist farting in the wind and the fact that a lot of it happens to blow in our (English speaking residents of Korea) direction doesn’t mean we have to sniff deep the gathering gloom.
    Honestly, don’t ever change. As far as I’m concerned you are one of Korea’s four distinct seasons.

  4. Well I’m convinced. Dokdo should be sunk into the Sea of Japan with the resulting debris divided equally between South Korea and Japan.

  5. Actually Alex, the Koreans I’ve spoken to DO love Dokdo. They say things like “It hurts my heart to think Japan may take Dokdo.” That sounds like love to me. I guess it’s just another part of a culture we’ll never fully understand.

  6. Debbie,

    Isn’t that exactly what Alex said? I think his point is that Dokdo itself has no particular emotional value, in that it is not a historic site, a tourist site, a beautiful sight, etc. Any rocky outcropping would elicit the exact same reaction if Japan claimed it for their own.
    As for never fully understanding Korean culture, name a culture we can fully understand, our own included.

  7. Dokdo is the ex-girlfriend you’d never date again, but whom you’d hate to see end up with someone else. Especially someone rich, who beat you up in middle school.

    Aye to this: “As for never fully understanding Korean culture, name a culture we can fully understand, our own included.”

    There’s many a Korean who’s shaken his or her head at something I’ve pointed about and said, “You know, I’ve never noticed that before. You have a point!” Not being born to something disadvantages us in some ways; it is an advantage in others. (Which reminds me of this Korean guy who translated Beowulf to modern English; he said he could pretty clearly see the continuity between Old English and modern, and suggested — in not so many words — that part of the reason why he could see what so many Anglophones can’t was that he hadn’t been born to the latter.)

    As for the claim on Dokdo itself, I like (though I cannot testify to the veracity of it, I like it) the point Baltimoron has raised various times that it’s an islet, not an island, and as such cannot be anyone’s national territory. (To which I say, hey, Korea, go make it sustainably habitable, and thus technically an “island”! Build a monastery or a spa for rich ajummas. Create some wacky off-the-grid desalination system. Set up kelp farms and a wave-power station off in the water to fuel any place set up there. Then raise hell and start pushing your claims. Until such point, it’s kind of like insisting that the world’s laws apply for every islet except this one. That is, if Baltimoron has his facts straight…

    (And I agree it’s a waste, but all kinds of wastes can at least be harnessed for cool development stuff. Like, off-the-grid desalination? Hugely beneficial for real people all over the world. Wave power? Oceanic agritech? As if those won’t be useful in the coming century, when the oceans keep rising as they have been?)

  8. By the way:

    There’s many a Korean who’s shaken his or her head at something I’ve pointed about and said, “You know, I’ve never noticed that before. You have a point!”

    Yes, some are just being polite. Others have genuinely seen something through foreign eyes, and had that sudden jolt of, “Wait, that’s not just the way things are, that’s an artifact of human decisions,” or “Wait, that element in pop culture does reflect something uniquely specific to my culture that I always took for granted but now see is somewhat unusual.”

    (And the reverse has happened with me, too.)

  9. […] Korea shoring up Dokdo’s defenses. YouTube – Do you know Dokdo? […]

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