So the presidential election is over here in Korea and the center-leftist candidate Moon Jae-in has won, beating out 14 other candidates that were attempting to replace the ousted Park Geun-Hye. A full Moon is rising. Perhaps he will invoke the Moonshine policy on North Korea. Umm, that’s enough moon puns for now.
Yes, we know that we’re late in getting this episode published. We promise you that when we recorded this episode the issue was current! You try editing one of these episodes when the only time you have to do it is when your toddler is sleeping and that’s also the only time YOU can sleep!
But yes, this episode you can hear two guys who aren’t black discuss blackface in Korea. As we try to keep our privilege in check, we find that blackface is a huge problem even today, and it keeps happening and it frankly makes us angry.
She was wearing WHAT??!?!?
More excuses before discussing this episode, the Bunker was unavailable this time so we recorded from Jesus Coffee in the Mapo-gu Office area. It’s also kind of noisy so we’re sorry.
Why does nobody in South Korea care when North Korea starts acting up? We have a long discussion about this question, but it meanders so much in the beginning because we’re actually itching to talk about Star Trek, but we bring it back and actually have a decent discussion about it in the end. Long story short, it’s because North Korea is threatening just for show, as a means of projecting itself as powerful to their own people. But now with Trump in office, can they continue the same strategies as always?
Note: The air was bad when we made this episode, so you can hear a lot of coughing and hacking. Apologies!
Oh my gosh! Rob and Eugene are back after such a long long long long long long break! Yes! Season 5 is now underway, and as of this writing (on April 29th) there are actually 2 more episodes in the pipeline to be edited. So fear not, there is lots of Café Seoul headed your way so you can get your fix.
As we were planning the show, we decided that we’d do an entire episode of News of the Weird, and skip On the Pulse. because we’d been away so long. That WAS the plan, but in the first half of the show, we actually ended up having a very long discussion about whitewashing in western media and specifically about Marvel’s Iron Fist… so we’ll call that On the Pulse for this episode
So… why didn’t they just go with that guy in the center?
We DID say that episode 24 was going to be our last of season 4, but with Donald Trump winning the presidential election in the US, we had no choice but to have an emergency final final episode. We thought he’d never win the presidency, but this election has taught us to never say never again. Wow, just wow America! WTF!
Ripped from the facebook page of Gabriel Pettyjohn
WTF (On the Pulse) – What does a Trump presidency mean for Korea, US-Korean relations, Korean Americans, Expats in Korea, East Asian geopolitics and the world in general? Rob and Eugene were beyond shocked at the results of the 2016 election and we probably will be for some time. We try to go as deep as we possibly can to discuss the implications of this latest WTF moment of 2016.
At last, we are at the finale of season 4 on Café Seoul. This show is all about gates, but not about the kind of gates you’re thinking of. No, we’re talking about scandals. The spectre of corruption and the pressure to get results quickly are the causes of two very recent scandals that have severe political and economic ramifications for Korea.
News of the Weird – Reviewing an opinion piece regarding batterygate, Samsung’s exploding battery scandal.
Ask Rob & Eugene – Gatey McGateface asks why there’s no Bukdaemun, when there’s a Namdaemun, Dongdaemun, and there used to be a Seodaemun.
On the Pulse – A long drawn out discussion of Choi Soon-sil gate… the scandal involving President Park’s close friend, who has allegedly been manipulating her from behind the scenes.
Special thanks to Peter Daley for contributing to this episode!
Peter also appeared in season 3 to talk about cults, so you can hear that episode here.
For an excellent writeup about Choi Soon-sil gate, please check out Ask a Korean’s piece about it, which explains it in detail in a way that even people not totally familiar with Korea can understand it.
On the Pulse – Sarah Eppley and Lizzie Drake join Eugene and Rob as the foursome discuss their experiences of Korean universities. Keep in mind that the ladies are here temporarily on study abroad and are relatively new to Korea (less than one year). Eugene and Rob are long timers, so that might account for some of the disconnect. People always say that when you study in Korea you get out of it what you put into it. It can have you flying high or it can be a bit of a skyfall, or both!
Hyunsu Kim (The only goth in Korea) is back for this episode, as we look to her expert opinion on a recent clash that has developed between two websites that are at odds with each other on gender issues. This particular spat might be unknown to our listeners who don’t use the internet in Korean but you can take a quantum of solace in the fact that Hyunsu is here to explain it to us all.
Shoutout to Kaomi Goetz, who is running the Adapted podcast, focusing on Korean international adoptees who have returned to live in Korea. It’s a pretty sweet podcast that people interested in adoptee issues would really love, interviewing a large variety of people. Check them out here.
<— Rob mentioned he liked this song, so we added a video of it.
Ask Rob & Eugene – @albanypeacenik on twitter asks us why Korean people walk backwards for exercise
A woman was fired from her job for wearing this shirt, made by Megalia
On the Pulse
There are lots of places on the internet where gender-related discussions blow up into long and bitter internet fights. Some of those conversations are good-faith attempts at understanding. Others are trolls going at it for the sheer lulz. In On The Pulse, recent guest Hyunsu (the only goth in Korea) talks about Megalia, a feminist response to sexism originating in Ilbe, sometimes called Korea’s 4Chan. How did these groups come to be? Do they deserve each other? Are they advancing a social goal, or just fixing for a fight? We discuss this and more on On The Pulse.
Oh lookie! Eugene made a meme out of a meme he made out of a meme he made. RIP Gene Wilder
Ever felt like a kid in a chocolate factory? Things are pretty awesome at first but then you see what happens when you lose sight of what’s important. So then you go home and things are great at first but you feel out of place because nobody else has been living in a chocolate factory like you. So you return and it’s just.. not… the same… Is reverse reverse culture shock a thing? I suppose it’s possible that one could be dealing with a veritable roulette table of emotions. But in the casino royale of globalism, it’s quite possible that there’s a class of people that just don’t really feel comfortable in either country A or country B… and that is why we have invited former longtime expat Joe Mondello to this episode. Joe lived in Korea for most of the ’00s and early ’10s. He’s since returned to the US, but is back here for a short visit.
Who doesn’t? If you went to high school in the West in the 90s, if films like The Crow, or bands like The Cure moved your deepest heart, you might have a little Goth in you. Though Bela Lugosi is still dead, you get to die another day, and today, you can meet Hyunsu, a university student who is “The Only Goth in Korea.”
Is she really the only goth in Korea? Is it easy to find black nail polish in Seoul? And how do the fantasy works of Rick Riordan fit into the picture? Click “play” and find out!