Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I tried it today

How to bait your students:

Tell them that Professor Lee's racist garbage in Meonnara, Iunnara (먼나라, 이웃나라,* the series of books, done up in comic form, that supposedly tells Korean students about foreign countries; for more info, see Jeff Hodges's articles here) is no different from the shit churned out by Japanese textbook writers who disseminate fabrications about Korean history. My talkiest student (who isn't the best student in the class, though she tries hard) was up in arms when I made my declaration, and she got me going, too, with her vehement denials. "No, Lee's case is totally different!" she insisted. I was smiling, but fuming. I think my emotions were pretty obvious, too; I'm not good at hiding anger.

You know, we could split hairs all day long about the differences between what Lee did and what the Japanese textbook writers have been doing, but at the end of the day, both cases are about scholars telling lies and twisting the minds of innocent children. This pisses me off the more I think about it.

*Far-off Countries, Neighboring Countries is a fairly literal rendition of the Korean title, though I've seen Far Countries and Close Countries as well. To my ear, the title sounds best as Countries, Far and Near. A bit 1950s, but serviceable.


1 comment:

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sounds like an unpleasant experience to me, but somebody has to engage Koreans in discussions on some of these issues.

Thanks for the link.

Jeffery Hodges

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