Thursday, January 18, 2018

Kind of a Big Deal



North and South Korea, while competing separately, will march under the joint "Unification Flag" at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics next month.

The history of the flag is fascinating:
"The flag was first used in 1991 when the two countries competed as a single team in the 41st World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan and the 8th World Youth Football Championship in Lisbon, Portugal. The two countries' teams marched together under the flag in the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia; the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea; the 2003 Summer Universiade in Daegu, South Korea; the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece; the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy; and the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar; however, the two countries competed separately in sporting events. The flag was not used in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Not only was a unified team shelved, even Beijing Olympics Organization Committee (BOCOG)'s plan to make the two Korean teams turn up back to back during the opening ceremony was rejected due to opposition by the North Korean delegation at the last moment."
By my "stable genius" math skills, this will be the eighth time it's been used officially.

Flag-wise, I love the colors but am kind of put off by how damn literal the thing is.  It's downright Rorschachian.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Apples, Meet Oranges

Monday, January 15, 2018

Foresight

From Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier:
"Early on, it had been the subject of one of those Kirby precictions that few took seriously when he made it.  He said the con [San Diego Comic-Con, first held in 1970] would grow until it took over all of San Diego.  He said that the definition of 'comics' would expand beyond those things printed on cheap paper.  It would be about comic books as movies, comic books as television, comic books in forms yet to be invented.  He said -- and this is a quote -- 'It will be where all of Hollywood will come every year to find the movies they'll make next year and to sell the movies they found here the year before."
Kirby was a visionary, to say the least.  By 1970 he was slowing down as an artist but realized TV, and later film, would be where the money was.  He transitioned from comics to show producer and managed (with great effort) to get back some of his original artwork from Marvel and apparently lived pretty comfortably after a lifetime of economic anxiety, even though his creations had generated so much wealth for multiple comic companies (including, less famously, DC).

Stan Lee does not come off well here.  He was, at best, pretty much indifferent to the economic plight of the man who basically created the Marvel Universe.  At worse, he stole all of Kirby's best ideas.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Casting Stones

If Haiti and Africa are "shitholes," I wonder what that makes of rural Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio?  (And that's just for starters.)

Indeed, the United States has a life expectancy that's literally declining.  Opioids are ravaging, for lack of a better term, "white America" at rates that would make the worst inner city neighborhoods blush.  (With the added bonus of HIV making a serious comeback in these areas.)

But hey, just remember that Trump's rise and victory had nothing to do with race and the poison of white racial resentment.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ugh

I'm stoked for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next month (I'll be going for two or three days) but not so much for how Western media always covers Asia -- it's so fucking cliche by now.

As if New York or London aren't also massively contrasting and /or contradictory. That's how big cities work, always.

Age Is Just A (Complicated) Number

I've lived in South Korea for almost a decade now and I'll admit, I still don't understand how Korean age-accounting works (i.e., "East Asia Age Reckoning.")  Basically, Koreans count their Lunar New Year as a birthday and depending on your actual birthday, you can be either one or two years older than you would be in, say, America.  It's weird.  And it might be changing:
"While China, where the tradition originated, Japan and even North Korea officially did away with the traditional system in an effort to embrace the modern age system, South Korea stuck with it and essentially became the only Asian country where the old age calculating system is still practiced and culturally prevails even to date.
People from different cultures who first encounter the so-called Korean age often express interest in its novelty, prompting several YouTubers and K-pop-focused websites to give extensive coverage to the unique age system, under which one can experience an age gap of up to two years in some cases.
However, South Koreans, particularly younger generations, are experiencing difficulties switching back and forth between the western age system and Korean Age, and they have taken the issue to the internet where discussions are being had over the pros and cons of the traditional age system."
It's a rare occasion when North Korea is more "Western" regarding a cultural issue than South Korea is.

Also, I'm sure I'm not the only foreigner here who always uses his "Western" age.  Because, vanity.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

#Oprah

Why not Oprah for president?  She's not my first choice but if she managed to win the Democratic nomination I'd vote, volunteer, and donate as much as possible in 2020.  She strikes me as smart enough to understand that she could surround herself with policy types and leave the hefty lifting of undoing the Trump Years up to them.

But to hear fellow Dems moan and wail about how we need "real" politicians instead of celebrities is laughable in a post-Trump world.

For better or worse (ed. note: much, much worse), politics in America now is post-policy and entirely based on personality.  And that genie isn't going back into the bottle ever again.  There is no second-place trophy for maintaining your pure political principles in the face of a GOP that is more than fine with supporting the Orange Pussy-grabber.

I wish -- dear god I wish -- some sort of book-readin', Harvard edumacated Obama 2.0 were in charge these days.  And I hope Elizabeth Warren (no slouch in the book-readin', edmucated department herself) runs.

But let's not fool ourselves -- in American politics for the foreseeable future personality trumps (ahem) all now, given our sick "both sides do it" media culture and a Republican Party that's been arguing that any Democratic president since Clinton has been somehow illegitimate, be it due to consensual blow-jobs or supposedly being born in Africa.

Adjust or die.  It's really that simple.