Friday, May 26, 2006

what K Scene actually said
about this blog and others

Out of sheer monkey curiosity, I got myself a copy of K Scene, the free magazine primarily about Seoul and things Korean (check out the website here; the online 'zine looks to be a couple months behind the print edition), to see what was written about Koreabloggers. I assume that the author, A. Maugrim, is using a pseudonym given that Maugrim is the name of the chief wolf in CS Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Not the kind of name your mom gives you unless she wants you to get your ass kicked from elementary school through high school.

The title of Maugrim's article is "Blogiation," already a negative spin: change the "g" to a "v" and you've got "bloviation," which essentially means hot air and bombast. This gives you some idea of what the author thinks of blogs, and he repeats the thought in various ways throughout the article. His essential point seems to be that a few blogs rise above the sea of crap-- but in general, reading blogs is, for Maugrim, a bit like this (excerpts follow):

1. The lack of editorial oversight and personal touches that makes [sic] some blogs so worthwhile is the same tar and brush that makes [sic] others so unreadable.

2. [Bloggers are] by definition and, perhaps, necessity self-righteous.

[Actually, I tend to agree about the self-righteousness, though I doubt its necessity. For me, self-righteousness isn't as much in evidence as narcissism, a trait found in most writers-- ink or photon-- who presume that they have thoughts worthy of dissemination. I gladly plead guilty to this charge. I don't think it's that big a deal. If you disagree, well... eat my balls. That reminds me: many bloggers also exhibit arrogance. Ha! Fuckheads.]

3. Browsing personal weblogs falls somewhere after huffing gas and before Dave's ESL on the "things to do when you're bored" list. Like bad jokes and communicable diseases, they're best shared only with friends and family.

Unadulterated praise is heaped on a select few blogs. Among them: Gusts of Popular Feeling, which is described as "nothing short of astounding in its ability to add context to contemporary events." Come to think of it, no other blog gets quite that level of praise.

The article's treatment of EFL Geek left me puzzled. Maugrim praises the Geek, devoting an entire paragraph to him, but also writes this strange bit:

The author has chosen to make his career in the second language industry and has presumably, if his bio is to be believed, completed his Masters in Applied Linguistics.

Both EFL Geek and I are lumped into the "personal blogging" category. The section of the article where we appear is titled "15 Minutes of Lame." High praise, that, and another indication of how sincerely the author approached his journalistic task.

His brief remark about my blog, which I take as a compliment, was hilarious:

Big Hominid's Hairy Chasms merits attention for the moniker alone. It's just a happy coincidence that it's also funny like a fat kid.

If I were the type to fill my sidebar with quotes from various sources describing either me or my blog, the above quote would definitely be added to the gallery.

Big Hominid: funny like a fat kid.

But as much as I like Maugrim's brief writeup of the Hairy Chasms, the grand prize has to go to his writeup of another blog. This quote, likely a product of the aforementioned "lack of editorial oversight," was a howler:

Scribblings of the Metropolitician is a photo essay blog that takes a slightly more academic approach than the norm. The essays are often long, but are also long (and interesting too).

A sidebar mentions all the blogs covered in the article. The roster (which I leave unlinked here) is:

The Marmot's Hole
Scribblings of the Metropolitician
Ruminations in Korea
North Korea Zone
GI Korea
Lost Nomad
Flying Yangban
The Asia Pages
Frog in a Well
Gusts of Popular Feeling
The Korean Blog List
Daejeon Daily Photo
Zen Kimchi Korean Food Journal
Space Nakji
Big Hominid's Hairy Chasms
EFL Geek

So-- you're always welcome to visit my blog if you're finished huffing gas and still bored.



Jason said...

Outrageous! I always thought of this blog as funny as in "huffing a fat kid's gas funny". No accounting for taste, I guess.

Sean said...

I would love to see the article in whole - where can I get a copy of this article/magazine?

Kevin Kim said...

EFL Geek,

Issues of K Scene are usually found in "take one" magazine racks on campuses, and can probably be found in various shops in districts like Itaewon and Shinch'on.

There are several spots on Smoo campus where the magazine can be picked up. K Scene is always free. Given the number of typos in every article, I assume you get the quality you pay for.

I can't quote the entire article here, but the paragraph on you said this:

"Also worth checking out is EFL Geek. This website is a treasure trove of resources for those of you teaching English here in Korea. The author has chosen to make his career in the second language industry and has presumably, if his bio is to be believed, completed his Masters in Applied Linguistics (TESOL). This is some great food for thought for anybody with similar aspirations."

All in all, pretty positive. But that line about your credentials left me scratching my head. If it was an attempt at humor, it wasn't as good as some of his other shots. If it was genuine suspicion about whether you are who you claim to be... what gives? Why were YOU singled out for such commentary?



Anonymous said...

Yeah, that is kind of weird to be picking on the Geek like that. That's about as close to libel as you can get without going over the line.

Anyway, congratulations on your 15 minutes of fame! I mean... lame.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I'm hoping to graduate from blogging to the K Scene. That, to me, is the pinnacle of journalism. We all can dream, can't we?

Sean said...

thanks for the quote and I'll see if I can find a copy if I can get the time to head over to Itaewon.

You're correct that the sentence about me is a little ambiguous - attempted humor or stab in the back who knows....

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Congrats to all who made the grade. I'm wondering what constitutes a "Korea Blog."

Some consider mine one because I live and write in Korea. But I get linked to as a literary blog by some. As a Medievalist blog by others. As an ancient history blog by still others. And so on...

Neither fish nor fowl, my status is continually debated as my career prospects fade into the past...

Anyway, again, congrats to all.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is exciting, someone read something I wrote in K-Scene. I hadn't counted on that.

I want to apologize to EFL Geek if he took exception to that awkwardly worded sentence about his academic history. My problem was that his bio only says that he started his MA and that his "expected graduation date is June 2005” It’d have been poor journalism to assume and good journalism to actually find out. Given that the article in question can hardly be labelled journalism, I think I deserve a pass on that one.

I'm surprised that BHHC, whose writing I quite admire, found the article to have a "negative spin". I thought it was quite positive for the most part (C'mon, "Blogiation". That shit's funny). Sure, I took shots. The article wouldn't have been fun to write if I had had to write a glowing puff piece. And, given what I get paid, I'm not writing it if it's not entertaining.

The distinctions I made between blogging "categories" were fairly obviously arbitrary, and the blogs I chose to write about were just some of my favourites. There were lots more I would have liked to include but didn't. Some were omitted because I thought that their inclusion disrupted the flow of the article. Others got left out because I couldn't think of anything clever to say about them that would distinguish them from previously mentioned sites. Others I just forgot (Sorry, Iceberg!).

I'm a little red-faced over the morphological error I made with "makes"; I'm usually pretty conscientious about that sort of thing. In my defense, there's not much editing that goes on between my computer and the printed page.

The "Scribblings of the Metropolitician" comment was most certainly purposefully included. Although, to be honest, I'd probably take credit for it even if it weren't.

And, for inquiring minds, Maugrim is a pseudonym, one I've had since I was knee-high to a message board. It just seemed appropriate for an article on blogs.

Anyway, hope you liked the article.

Sean said...

no need to apologize. I enjoyed the ambiguity of it. For the record I did graduate and clearly need to update the about me page on my blog.