Monday, November 03, 2003

le parcours

Only one more full day in Korea.

Didn't realize that the US had done its Daylight Savings thing until my brother David gave me a call around 7PM this evening (Sunday, I mean; technically, it's very early Monday as I'm writing). David said that the Halloween party at Polly Esther's wasn't as good as it could have been, but the plastic pumpkin he brought over, which was rigged to glow and spew steam/smoke, was a hit. David seems to have gotten through his Friday and Saturday evening/morning shifts unscathed, so I breathe a little easier.

Did laundry and began the awful business of cleaning house. Actually, it's not that awful; I live in a studio-sized place, so even a simple act like making my bed (in reality, a mat) makes the place look ten times neater. On tap for tomorrow (technically, later today):

1. Hair cut. It's been almost two months, so I'm one shaggy beast.
2. Recording work! I signed up for AdSound Studios recording work (I'd been there once before; it was fun), where I'll spend about an hour speaking into a jury-rigged cell phone, after which I receive my blood money-- 80,000 won, or about $70.
3. Print out e-ticket info. I have to go to the Korea University PC-bahng to do this quickly and easily; other PC-bahng have printers, but people use them rarely, so it's a pain to make the request and have everything set up just for one measly sheet of paper. At Ko-dae, it's no fuss, no muss. Just sit anywhere from Carrel #1 to #12, and you can print out whatever you want.
4. Some final quickie shopping.
5. Fold up and pack the laundry, which is currently drying in the cool, somewhat breezy night air.
6. Finalize all packing. Will be toting along the calligraphy set, a bunch of hanja books, and some Korean-language textbooks I need to review or, uh, read for the first time. Will also be taking along Ye Olde Mechanical Pencil, the White Eraser of Death, and an art pad on which I'm drafting frames for "Cosmic Import." I think "Cosmic Import" needs to be a Sunday comic. I'll put it up on Saturday evenings (US time while in the US; Korea time while in Korea). If I can draw 52 strips while I'm home, that's a year's supply. Should I do that? If I do, then the comic won't be topical. Should this matter? I'm not really sure I want "Import" to follow the news, so maybe not.
7. Oh, shit-- cancel cell phone service for two months. I paid my bill on Friday and the nice lady told me not to cancel until right before I left. Good idea. But I'd actually like to delay cancellation until after the day of departure; I found, last time, that taking my cell phone to the airport was useful when I had to call my family. I was also able to phone some goodbyes to Korean friends.
8. Pay the 2nd-floor lady for gas, electricity, and water. I owe her for Sep-Oct, and will pre-pay Nov-Dec. Luckily, utilities are cheap.
9. Call relatives. Some of them aren't aware I'm going. Then again, they've largely stopped calling me, perhaps having gotten the clue that, yes, I really am an INTJ off the scale. Which leaves it up to me to remind them I exist. I owe Adjoshi some rent, though, so perhaps I'll visit him. Otherwise, I'll just call him and tell him where I've hidden the rent envelope ("Not inside the dog's ass again, Kevin! We almost ate the rent last time!").

Et maintenant, le parcours:

Cobb tells it like it is about lawyers, and reminds me that I remain technologically behind.

Kevin at IA is the Pundit on Everything today.

The Marmot shows off some truly beautiful trip photos.

At Oranckay: the Grand National Party offices were egged. Yes, egged. And the photo on Pete's site is from the inside. Take a look.

The Maximum Leader's site turns out to be, sadly, only 49% evil. Scroll upward from that post to find out about Hairy Chasms, which is apparently too big to be rated in its entirety. I did manage to rate some of my posts, however.

The Infidel doesn't think Hwang Jang Yop can provide much info. I agree; the dude is out of the loop. But his significance lies in his willingness to speak the truth about a regime piloted by assholes, and while it's tempting to think I'm talking about South Korea, I mean North Korea. Hwang is making SK very uncomfortable, but this is entirely SK's problem. Were the government saner, they'd be decrying the North, too, but having embraced the foolish "one people" rhetoric, they can't afford to regain sanity.

Interesting Infidel quote:

Hwang's career is indeed fascinating, and the American Congress is right to interview him, but Hwang's testimony should not define the parameters of the debate, nor should Hwang be used for partisan advantage.

I agree completely.

The Infidel also has a very interesting post on Korean cinema, something about which I know next to nothing, aside from movies like "Shiri" or the much older films "Seop'yeonjae" and the beautiful-but-slow "Why Did Bodhidharma Go East?"

In a different post, the Infidel talks about the recently-retired Mahathir of Malaysia, and larger issues facing Islam and the other People of the Book. Choice cutlet:

Western Christians are so comfortable in their enclaves of Church and State, they can't fathom the political world from the Muslim perspective. Simply put, Muslims don't compartmentalize daily [life] into the profane and the sacred. Prophecy and tradition inform daily [life] intimately in ways most Christians in the western, liberal tradition would find either demeaning or underdeveloped. Wasn't it the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, who demanded the liberation of the mind from tradition? I can't think of a Christian in the West who would disagree with that conceit, even the ones singing with the congregation. Christians live in expectation of some paradise, whether it be economic or [eschatological], but Muslims received the answer centuries ago from Muhammad, and are still trying to fulfill the demands of that call. Christians might get forgiveness every day for their trespasses on the road to Heaven, but Muslims can see the results of their own faithlessness every day in their own poverty and alienation. Both Christians and Muslims are willing to forgive the other for their deluded thinking, but not for the trespasses. And, don't try to proselytize me, each protests!

I think one of the most admirable reactions the US had after 9/11 was the urge to educate itself about Islam. There was a huge willingness to listen to non-Muslim (but pro-Islam) apologists like Karen Armstrong (warning: she is not a scholar, and don't confuse her with one!), and a sudden push among Christian churches for more (and more intense) interreligious dialogue. A lot of that has died down as once-vague lines of rhetoric have coalesced and hardened into distinct (and often less open-minded) schools of thought, but I'll say that, regarding Islam's lack of secularity, Americans are now, more than ever, aware that this is an issue. For people like me, it's the key issue. So I wouldn't portray the current American situation as one in which Christians "can't fathom the political world from the Muslim perspective." This may have been true as recently as only a couple years ago, but an enormous amount of self-education has been going on since 9/11, and I think many Americans are hyperaware of internal Muslim realities as never before.

Further down, the Infidel writes:

All Dr. Mahathir is saying is, that Muslims have endured their Christian and Jewish cousins for far too long. And, as much as Christians and Jews have combined against Muslims in politics and economics, an attack on Zionism is an attack on western liberal capitalism, too. That's probably why Muslims took his speech so calmly: this is nothing new! What is new is, that a Muslim leader can advocate this from a position of strength after a successful career. Dr. Mahathir is not singling out the Jews so much as he is upholding Malaysia as a model for Muslim communities, and taunting western liberals.

If indeed Dr. Mahathir is saying that Muslims have endured Christians and Jews for too long, all I can reply is: too fuckin' bad. Instead of complaining, instead of operating according to a bunker mentality, the time may have finally arrived for Muslim men-- especially Arab extremists but not only them-- to put aside their AKs and bomb belts, reattach their long-forgotten schlongs and learn some proactivity and responsibility. While the West is indeed responsible for a good deal of Muslim misery, frustration, etc., Muslims, especially Arab Muslims, need to be about the task of recognizing and dealing with their own complicity in the current situation. Up to now, I haven't seen much evidence of this on the large scale.

Do Muslims view Mahathir's speech as nothing new? Of course! Anti-Jewish hatred is like any other meme that sits in a populace and percolates long enough: you stop noticing it. Look at the antisemitism in Western Europe right now, and the older, non-Muslim populations' almost-blasé reactions to it. The current crop of antisemites are mostly Muslim immigrants. Of that slice of the demographic pie, most are, to put it politely, unassimilated. I can't wait to see what conditions will be like in ten years. And if you're Jewish, well... I guess you'll do what a lot of French Jews are doing and-- leave.

Conrad has his Halloween a bit late.

Annika has a more proper Halloween.

Glenn and his SlickVick have spats. Ah, life. I just want to see a photo of Vick. Just one photo. Cough it up, Glenn. Inquiring off-white bo's wanna know.

John Moore and the Canine Analogy.

Et nous voilà.


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