The First Avenger versus The Winter Soldier

First things first. This is not a review of the most recent Marvel film Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The movie is chock filled with twists and turns like any good political thriller/superhero movie should, but most people haven’t seen the movie yet so I’d just be ruining a terrific movie experience for them. So I won’t talk about that or how the events of the movie have massive implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though I desperately want to talk about a certain offhandedly mentioned surgeon or Marvel’s loophole around their “no mutant” clause. Suffice it to say that I’m pleased to see that the Russo brothers, who have directed some of my favorite half-hours of network comedy in the 21st century (Arrested Development and Community), have ended up dropping SHIELD Helicarriers from the sky and wreaking havoc throughout Washington DC through expertly choreographed action set pieces. They are truly living the dream. Continue reading


Remembering the Cheonan

For me, the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan was one of those flashbulb events, the ones where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard what happened and sort of fudge the rest of the details, for human memory is a fickle thing. The following account might not be entirely accurate, but I believe it’s accurate, so that counts for something, right?

Taking time differences into consideration, it was probably Saturday, March 27th, 2010. It was late at night, and I probably should have been sleeping. But I had just moved into my room for a semester in Washington and I was still on California time, so I was just sitting there, doing nothing when I got a text from my friend Adam, who was living downstairs. I don’t remember the exact wording, but the gist of the message was that a South Korean navy ship had sank due to an unknown cause.  Continue reading

Dust in the Wind

I’ve always loved Korean autumns. Yes, I love New England autumns a little bit more, they seem to do the trees turning shades of red, yellow, and orange bit better. But the Korean autumn skies turn impossibly clear and blue, and it seems as if the ceiling of the world has somehow been raised (“high skies” is an oft-used Korean expression that has nothing to do with hallucinogens and everything to do with the know-it-when-you-see-it state of the autumn sky). The air is wonderfully cool and clear, and it’s perfect weather to do outdoor activities and just be outside.  Continue reading

Injustices in Sports

Throughout its long history, Korea has been subject to many humiliations by outside powers. As a result, Koreans are generally very sensitive any slights real and perceived and react to them in a fashion similar to a nest of psychotically aggressive hornets that has been poked too many times in the past and will not tolerate any more poking. This figurative poking doesn’t just take the form of invasions and the raping and pillaging that comes with. No, it can be something as seemingly innocuous as the result of an international sporting event gone horribly against Korean expectations. Continue reading

The March 1st Movement

What do Dennis Rodman’s visits to North Korea and the recent mass protests in Seoul regarding the alleged abuse of power committed by the National Intelligence Service have in common? Aside being fueled by the same sort of insanity that possesses the despicable communist regime up north and its treasonous supporters down south (that is what the foaming at the mouth McCarthyist in me would like to claim), there’s a case (a flimsy one, sure, but then again, 99% of cases made are) to be made that the same historic event allowed for these incidents happened. That event, which happened 95 years ago on this very day, is the March 1st Movement (삼일운동-Samil Undong in Korean). Continue reading