Daniel Barenblatt, author of “A Plague Upon Humanity,” has responded to questions, asked on Occidentalism, concerning quotes attributed to him in the Korean media (see here, here & here), which was reporting on a press conference given by Yoko Kawashima Watkins, author of “So Far from the Bamboo Grove.” Mr. Barenblatt also comments on the way the story has been reported here at Occidentalism. Anyway, without further comment, as promised by me, here is Mr. Barenblatt’s unedited response to the questions.
Okay, this is probably going to be my last post on this website. Since I began posting here, people have warned me not to have anything to do with this “trash” site due to its bigoted, dishonest and disreputable nature, e.g. its ultra-creepy, repeated denial/downplaying of comfort women being sex slaves of Imperial Japan (vs.the claims here of comfort women being just “regular prostitutes” and sold into it by other Koreans), and its denial/downplaying of other war crimes of Imperial Japan such as Unit 731, the Nanking Massacre etc. And also of course, its obvious and peculiar continual Korean-bashing, a kind of niche-hatred specialty that is played up here, amongst the more general attacks and ridiculing of non-white immigrants that are to be found with a quick look about.
This is not a site with which one would want to be associated: not me, nor the Korean news outlets, nor Ms. Yoko Watkins; nor anyone who wishes to avoid the offensive, ethnically prejudiced and politically wacked-out. And I apologize to all Korean people, Japanese people, Chinese people, Americans, Australians, British etc. for perhaps my giving the impression of giving this site any credence or credibility by posting anything here. Please understand that I only came here in the first place because it had the only English translation of a South Korean news article in which I was misquoted to an extreme degree, and I had evaluate things so as to request corrections and straighten the matter out. And then to compare this site’s translation with other translations that I could obtain. And needless to say, the web authors, and the usual nest of anti-Korean comment roll posters here, have been rude and venomous to me from the get-go, and continuing on that way throughout (see other comment rolls or their comments to follow below after this post).
This site also posted the web’s only English translation of another, second Korean language article in which I was again misquoted, with fabricated quotes, and misrepresented. So I had to look into this as well and issue another call for corrections from the Korean news outlet responsible. And one good lesson from this is that the old Tower of Babel problem is still so much with us; that we should have translations of news sources more readily available, between whatever languages, so that the persons quoted can check for accuracy in a timely manner, and ideally be able to do this by going to websites that are both reputable and objective.
The poster wjk wrote, in another comment roll:
“Mr. Dan Barenblatt, don’t you think you have a right to know who Matt of Occidentalism is?You should know that he is selective in what he considers the “truth”.
I think you have a right to know, since he or Bevers posts your picture, and causes you all this trouble under the guise of “protecting your reputation.”
—Yes, wjk, I know, and I thank you for your concern. But I think that most every thinking person can see through to what their agenda is and what they’re trying to do; their writing speaks (snarls) for itself.
Thanks also to kteen above, in this comment roll, for helping to keep some sanity and reality going.
wjk continued: “You should also be aware that for an Australian, Matt clearly uses the word “nigger” a lot. Matt opposes immigration in Australia or doesn’t approve it quite strongly, and says “What happened to our great nation Australia?”, regarding immigration, and has a lot of jokes and guards against Muslims in Australia. Bevers. Bevers uses the Chosun shilok to claim that King Sae Jong taught the Japanese on the concept and uses of Comfort women”
—Yes that is disgusting, and looking at the link provided and his comment response in that thread, it seems that he does in fact suggest that. And I’ll also check what you said that Matt said about “nigger” ; the anti-Muslim jokes I’ve already seen here while looking around.
wjk also wrote:
“you should ask Matt for his real name”
—Okay. Matt, what is your real name? You know my real name. A whois lookup on this site shows that it was registered in Sydney, Australia, w/ both registrant and admin name as “Hagbard Celine” —the name of a fictional character in the series of three conspiracy novels, “The Illuminatus! Trilogy” by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. More on this below, after my responses to their question barrage.
wjk continued, in another comment:”by the way, Matt and Bevers believe that all Comfort Women were prostitutes. and, eventually their goal is to debate through and debunk your books. Here.” And in a later comment, wjk wrote: “why do you ban my comments? Cowards. Just like I predicted, this discussion went towards questioning Mr. DB’s professional work”
—Well wjk, you were right of course. That’s plainly where it went, and what they were, and are, trying to do. But take heart, because as I said, this site has discredited itself so many times over; the public knows what they’re about.
Gerry-Bevers wrote, on the front page piece above: “Mr. Barenblatt has denied some of the quotes, and has been vague or unresponsive on others. ”
—That’s false, Gerry-Bevers, I haven’t been “vague or unresponsive” and no here asked, nor is there any particular need to, parse through every sentence of either article on this hostile and offensively biased website. In case you didn’t understand, or are pretending not to understand, I’ll go through each of the above:
“You can tell by just looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying.”
—As I’ve already said here early on, I did not say that and don’t think that.
“…’So Far from the Bamboo Grove is not based on fact, and is full of fabrication and misinterpreted history.”
—No, I did not say that. Incidentally I was never formally interviewed by either reporter. And I only know for certain that I spoke to one of the reporters, and during the course of the conversation he did not make it clear that he was going to present any quotations of mine in an article. In fact, at the time, I did not know that he was a reporter.
“The biggest problem with the book is that it depicts the oppressed as the oppressor and the victim as the assailant.”
—You have now changed the wording of this from your original translation as it appeared on the front page of this website, “The Biggest Error in So Far From the Bamboo Grove is that it switches the victim and the assailant,” to your new version of this sentence, above.
And as I’ve already said here, I did not say that, in any version. Again it’s a made-up quote. But as I’ve said here and elsewhere, I do think that one of the book’s main problems is that it gives the reader a false historical impression, reversing the historical roles of oppressed and oppressed, colonizer and colonized.
“At first I was impertinent, but I was impressed with the parents’ sincerity and their detailed explanation, so I stepped forward to examine their suspicions of the novel because their claims were true.”
–Again, As I’ve already said in a previous comment roll, I did not say the above quote. Another made-up quote.
“When I heard Ms. Yoko say that Korean students all understand the book, I could not control my rage.”
—Again, see my previous comment post(s): I did not say this and it is not true.
HEY: just a brief intermission here, Gerry-Bevers —you wouldn’t by any chance be redundantly re-posting all these already-responded-to quotes on the front page in a transparent and futile attempt to make both me, and what you/others here refer to as the “Korean Media” look as bad as you can make it, would you? With the barrage of front page charged, negative words? Nah you wouldn’t do such a low-down thing, right?
“It is ridiculous to say that Korean students understand a book that, to anyone, obviously depicts Koreans as being the villain.”
—And yet once again, I did not say this made-up quote, see my previous comment Gerry-Bevers.
Gerry-Bevers also wrote:
“Personally, I offered to give Mr. Barenblatt space on this blog to defend himself if he would answer the following questions:”
—What do you mean “defend himself”? There’s nothing here that in reality needs “defending.”
What was the list of “serious factual errors” that you handed out at the press conference?
—The reader should note that you repeat this phrase “serious factual error(s)” four more times in your litany below. As if by such repetition you hope to make the fact of errors in the book seem ridiculous. But this repetition thing just makes yourself look more grasping and unpleasant, Gerry-Bevers, not advisable for you to try in future writings. Those falsehoods stated in that written piece, handed to some people in attendance, were those that I’ve already brought up here: the dates are way off, i.e. the series of events that occur on the July 29-August 9 timeline is all off b/c the Russians did not even invade Manchuria in the first surprise attack until August 9, and not first enter Korea until August 12; and there was no such group as the “Korean Communist Army” nor any such armed Communist/partisan Korean organization operating within Korea in the time frame established in the book. In the book (have you read it?) this “Army” is a major story element; this “Korean Communist Army” group mercilessly hunts down and tries to kill Japanese people.
You’ve mentioned the bamboo-growing-in-northern Korea topic a number of times and suggested, wrongly and without any evidence, that I may have been referring to that as an error, another false insinuation. In fact I have not mentioned this as one of the errors.
What was the “serious factual error” on the cover of the book?
—On the cover illustration: The trio of greenish-faced Korean soldiers standing menacingly with guns, as if one is about to machine-gun the main characters of the book, Yoko and her family members. This band is what is referred to in the text as the “Korean Communist Army.” See above comment for this group not actually having existed, nor any like that. And also, it occurs to me, Koreans are not green. So make that two serious errors.
Did you say, “The book is a lie from the cover and the first sentence?”
—No. “If not, how did you phrase it?” —No “phrasing” b/c I was never formally interviewed with Q & A.What I did say verbally to some people, and in writing, is that the first sentence of the book, which has a July 29, 1945 date for the when “the Russians have landed” in Korea, is false. Which of course it is. “Do you believe Ms. Watkins’ book “is a lie”? —That’s a very poorly put question. What does it mean to say an entire book “is a lie”? Clearly though, there are serious inaccuracies and a false overall impression of the historical/political/social context given to readers of this key period in the history of Korea and WWII.
“In your explanation of why the first sentence in Ms. Watkin’s book had a “serious factual error,” you referred to Page 21 of her book. Instead of a partial quote, can you give us the full quote on the page that makes you say that the first sentence in her book had a “serious factual error”? Also, do you really think that the date her family left their house is a “serious factual error”?
—I already covered this in a comment in the “Is Korean Media Misquoting …” piece comment roll. The July 29 date of them beginning to flee, stated on page one, in the 1st sentence, is , the reader learns on page 21, because “the Russians have landed” in Korea, for the first time, on that day, as the Soviet Union is beginning to invade. I’ve already stated this here. See the above paragraph and previous comments for the obvious historical importance and contextual importance of the timeline. This includes such key events happening within a two week period as the surprise start of the Soviet/Mongolian attack against Japan (Aug 9), the first Soviet entry into Korea (Aug 12), the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Aug 6), the Emperor’s surrender announcement (Aug 15) etc.
Just curious, but how is your memory of your eleventh year of life?
—Hmm yeah, inquisitor-wannabe Gerry-Bevers, I think your motive here is in truth something than “just curious.” Another question asked in bad faith?
—Did you say, “You can tell by just by looking at Ms. Yoko’s face that she is lying”?” If not, did you say something similar?” I did not say that you can tell just by her face she is lying, or other words to that effect, or agree with it. I’ve already stated here, in fact, that it’s a made-up misquote. “Do you believe that Ms. Watkins was lying at the press conference? Obviously no one knows, not myself or anyone whether she or any other person is lying until her statements can be fact-checked for any apparent discrepancies, which hasn’t been done yet, so no, I wouldn’t and don’t have such a “belief” as whether she is “lying” or “not lying” until the facts come in..
The following thinly and shabbily disguised “questions,” that were put forth in that list on the front page by Gerry-Bevers/shadkt/ponta, fall into the category of clear attempts at personal smears and/or “loaded question”-type propaganda attacks, and are responded to accordingly:
“Are you being paid for your efforts to find out if Ms. Watkin’s father was a part of Unit 731?”
—Gerry-Bevers, did you change that? Anonymous “Ponta” originally phrased this as: “Did you receive money in relation to this from Korean people?” So you dropped the KOREAN PEOPLE part. Now why did you do that, the alert reader may wonder …
“Why would you suspect Ms. Watkin’s father? Don’t you have a list of the names of the Japanese who were accused of being a part of that unit? By the way, were any Koreans a part of that unit? ”
—If you’re referring to him having another identity, that of a war criminal, that suspicion was around for a while before it came to my attention.
“Are you denying that Japanese women were raped in North Korea after the surrender? –No, I never said or thought that, of course. “If you are not denying that, then are you denying that Ms. Watkins saw Japanese women being raped? ” I do not ” deny” that or for that matter anything that she has said, unless she herself states that it was fictitious, or it has been concretely proven to be otherwise, and this does not fall into either of those categories (unlike say, the July 29 date issue). Here, Gerry-Bevers appears to be trying to use (awkwardly) the old lawyer/ lawyer-wannabe trick of false insinuation by simply repeating a charged word such as rape in order to simply plant negative associations in people’s minds, with the person being questioned. Really disgusting, especially when he should already know the answer.
—Did you say, “The biggest problem with the book is that it depicts the oppressed as the oppressor, the victim as the assailant”? If not, how did you phrase it?
–Again? See my comments above on this. How many times do I have to repeat …
” If you did say that, why do you believe the roles could not have been reversed after Japan’s surrender? ” Now, I never said that did I? Hmm Gerry-Bevers, what are you trying to draw me into here?
“Ms. Watkins’ book was about her experiences as an 11-year-old girl at the end of World War II, so why should she talk about Korean victims if she did not see any?” The book is described as “semi-fictional autobiography.” And how would you define “Korean victims” ?—”By the way, in your book on Unit 731, did you talk about any of the atrocities committed against the Japanese by the Chinese? ” —There’s one correct response to this: And to which such atrocities, against the Japanese by the Chinese, are your referring, Gerry-Bevers?
“I realize that my questions may be somewhat confrontational, ”
—Another false statement by you, Gerry-Bevers: anyone can see they’re more than “somewhat” confrontational. In fact, you clearly come across as if you’re bitterly trying to entrap me in something or other (which isn’t even possible) within the false propaganda framework of your own set of angry prejudices.
“Also, Shadkt and Ponta, would you please give me a list of questions you would like to see Mr. Barenblatt answer. I will post them here, in case Mr. Barenblatt did not see them among all the other comments.” —Then they had better be included in the above questions, and I think they are. Because that repetitive, grasping at straws, nit-pick litany is now over.
A few other things: Gerry-Bevers, word to the wise: your front page piece with the map of Korea and an arrow pointing to “Cheongjin” states that So Far from the Bamboo Grove says that Ms. Yoko Kawashima Watkins lived in Cheongjin in 1945. That’s wrong. The book says that she lived in Nanam. Please correct.
Also, in the front page “Is Korean Media …” piece, Gerry-Bevers wrote:
“By the way, the Joongang Ilbo did not misspell “impertinent.” That was my “serious factual error,” which I have corrected in my translation.”
I did not say that JoongAng Ilbo misspelled “impertinent,” it’s false to imply that I attributed it to them or that I would think it a serious factual error, which as I said before, a reader might think that I meant if s/he takes that remark at face value.
Now back again to wjk’s question — wjk wrote:
“you should ask Matt for his real name”
whois lookup on www.occidentalism.org gives us:
Created On:17-Jun-2005 08:18:46 UTC
Last Updated On:22-May-2006 01:03:41 UTC
Expiration Date:17-Jun-2007 08:18:46 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
Registrant Name:Hagbard Celine
Registrant Organization:Erisian Liberation Front
Registrant Street1:Yellow Submarine
Registrant Postal Code:2000
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:[email protected]
Admin Name:Hagbard Celine
Admin Organization:Erisian Liberation Front
Admin Street1:Yellow Submarine
Admin Postal Code:2000
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:[email protected]
Tech Name:Powweb Admin
Tech Organization:PowWeb, Inc.
Tech Street1:2168 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Tech City:Monterey Park
Identities of registrant and admin are hidden with the fake name Hagbard Celine, the fictional character of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, who in those conspiracy novels captains the “Yellow Submarine” that is used above to replace actual street names in this website’s originating city of Sydney, Australia. In Shea and Wilson’s Illuminatus! trilogy, the character’s name first name “Hagbard” comes from the Viking hero named Hagbard, and “Celine” is taken from Louis-Ferdinand Celine, real name Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, the prominent French author, fascist and anti-Semite.
There’s also this from wikipedia:
Karl Werner Lothar Koch (born July 22, 1965 in Hanover, died – probably – May 23, 1989) was a German hacker in the 1980s, who called himself “hagbard”, after Hagbard Celine. He was involved in a Cold War computer espionage incident.
As his moniker would suggest, he was heavily influenced by The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea.
“Erisian Liberation Front” —another reference to the Illuminatus! novels, and their characters’ “Discordian” sect, which also exists in real life. Eris is the ancient Greek goddess of discord, the opposite of harmony. Used above in place of the name of a verifiable organization.