Thursday, 19 April 2007

A few thoughts.

Regarding the Virginia Tech Shootings, even though every blogger in the universe is talking about it:

1. wow. Overwhelming. Sad. I don't know what to say about that kind of tragedy. For the families, I can't even imagine.

2. If the shooter had been a Spanish, Italian, German, British (that is, white) immigrant, his immigrant-ness wouldn't have mattered, wouldn't have been discussed.

3. Over here in Korea, there's a lot of shock and dismay at the fact the guy was Korean. A lot of head shaking, even some anxiety. I know if the guy had been Canadian, I would have just said, "wow. Some people in the world are messed up," and left it at that. Some of my Korean students are trying to figure out what aspect of Korean culture led to such an act. My answer has to be: none. There are fringe people in every culture; the only difference is that this guy had access to guns; sure, he fell through the cracks, but you also have to make choices, and I'd have to say, nobody but Cho himself is responsible for his making the choice to kill more than thirty people rather than to, say, take up vandalism as a hobby, or work his frustrations out on a punching bag.

4. I'm glad I wasn't in North America when it happened because I hate, hate, hate, the way North American news networks cover stories like this. The same day of the 9/11 attack, I was already desensitized to the images of the buildings falling down, because they replayed on TV again and again and again, and that's just wrong. Somebody's sticking a camera and a microphone in the face of a family member or a student who ought to be left alone to grieve, and footage is being played and replayed beyond reasonable limits, because people will watch, and advertisers will pay. Lurid. Gratuitous. Wrong.

In other, less heart-breaking news:

Once again, my friend Tamie's blog is turning out to be a goldmine. "Every activity we neglect to do which could make an outsider an insider makes us poorer." Click on the quote to read the whole entry. It's a discussion of outsiders and integration and community that sure rings true for a guy living in Korea, where I AM a visible minority.

Cool student story: I was teaching my students the phrase "butting your head against a wall", the idea of fighting against something that one could never actually change. One of my students explained that the Korean equivalent phrase is "attacking a rock with an egg" -- I LOVE that. The other one was: I taught "the pot calls the kettle black" and he said the Korean equivalent is "the dog covered in shit scolds the dog covered in dust".

I'm still happy over here, doing well, having fun. I'm in the process of getting a root canal, so my tooth is a bit delicate until the process is finished, but I'm doing well, still writing, making friends, eating good (inexpensive) food, etc..

Interesting development: my interest in movies has almost totally waned since I started writing more consistently. I just feel like I don't need them: I've got better things to do. Sure, I'll still take time for something like West Side Story, I'll watch a movie with friends, but it's no longer what I want to do with my free time.

Take care!



Deb said...

On top of the whole "If he was from Canada" thing. There's also the fact that he lived in the US for how long? Years! It's not like he was a fresh off the boat immigrant who hadn't had time to be influenced by the culture he lived in for so many years. Just a thought.

canterbury said...

i am going to use that phrase, "attacking a rock with an egg." brilliant. !