Black Out Korea vs Angry Koreans

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Tasteless? Yeah. True? Yeah.
Black Out Korea is a now-famous (or infamous) blog in Korea.  Korean newspapers discovered Black Out Korea and it started a small controversy.  Many native Koreans complained that the taking of the pictures included on the blog was the tasteless work of foreigners.  It is true that the pictures, while they may be funny, are tasteless.  Humor is often tasteless (did you ever see a Korean comedy with fart sounds and fart jokes?).  What is not part of the criticism?  Nowhere in the criticism is there the notion that these scenes do not exist.  You can go, on many evenings, to public places and see scenes that are displayed on Black Out Korea.  That is a fact.

Tasteless? Yeah. True? Yeah.
Black Out Korea is a now-famous (or infamous) blog in Korea.  Korean newspapers discovered Black Out Korea and it started a small controversy.  Many native Koreans complained that the taking of the pictures included on the blog was the tasteless work of foreigners.  It is true that the pictures, while they may be funny, are tasteless.  Humor is often tasteless (did you ever see a Korean comedy with fart sounds and fart jokes?).  What is not part of the criticism?  Nowhere in the criticism is there the notion that these scenes do not exist.  You can go, on many evenings, to public places and see scenes that are displayed on Black Out Korea.  That is a fact.

“The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks”
Readers of the Seoul Gyopo Guide knows that this is one of my favorite phrases. Written by William Shakespeare in the play Hamlet, it is an example of Shakespeare’s genius.  His genius was to creatively point out certain aspects of human nature.  In this case, the person that complains too loudly is usually a person who is guilty of the accusation.  That person protests loudly in order to divert attention from the very facts of the accusation itself.  We all know people that are like this, right?  Whenever I see or hear of counterarguments that vehemently change the topic, rather than addressing the underlying fact, I cannot help but think of Ophelia.
When reading the objections to Black Out Korea, it seems like the detractors’ accusations were too loud and too violent for the accusations to not be true.  Are Koreans embarrassed for these scenes to be displayed for international viewing?  Probably, and rightfully so.

Koreans’ Method of Protesting Has Backfired
Koreans don’t understand that the Western hemisphere largely understands, and agrees with, Shakespeare. Yelling louder, and randomly changing the topic to something irrelevant, is usually transparent to the listener. To believe that the listener is being fooled implies that the speaker believes that the listener is stupid. Wrong. On the other hand, simple contrition usually works, and from there, progress can be made. No country is absent of habits that seem unacceptable (ever hear of Michael Vick?). Ironically, the loud protests have done nothing other than make a blog (Black Out Korea) more famous, not less. The loud protests have only served, in the end, one party, Black Out Korea. For those involved in the public eye, the loud protests have given Black Out Korea just what it is looking for, notoriety. The undisputed queen of controlling notoriety for her own gain? The lifetime achievement award must go to Madonna. A long time ago, Madonna released Like A Prayer, a song deemed to be blasphemous to many. The result was that Pepsi pulled Madonna’s song from its commercial. Here is that commercial.

At the MTV Music Video Awards show that year, Madonna seized the moment, and gave her last thanks to Pepsi, because she knew that Pepsi, the protester, only helped an already-famous Madonna enter an entirely new level of superstardom (and financial fortune). It’s doubtful that the Korean press has started anything like that, but it is clear that Black Out Korea is more famous now than it was a few weeks ago.



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