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Why are Korean cartoonists such insensitive A-holes?

June 27th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

On Monday, twenty-two people, including thirteen Koreans, died in a plane crash in Cambodia. On Wednesday, No-cut News runs the following cartoon by Korean cartoonist Kwon Beom-chul. Is it just a coincidence or is this Korean cartoonist just an insensitive asshole?


President Roh is flying a plane on which is written “Public Education.” In the lower right-hand corner of the cartoon is written “Low-cost Package Product.”

Cabin Attendant: “Next stop on our itinerary is ‘private education’ shopping. Please get your ‘high school records’ in order.”

It seems that Korean cartoonists have few or no qualms about using tragedy to make some kind of political statement, as the above cartoon seems to do. A Korean cartoonist did the same thing in April after the Virginia Tech killings. You can see that cartoon HERE. Also, didn’t Korean cartoonists also take advantage of the 9-11 tragedy?

Did Korean cartoonists breath in too much yeontan gas when they were kids or do other cartoonists around the world do the same thing? I don’t know, but I do not find anything amusing about these kinds of cartoons.

UPDATE: Another cartoon, HERE, using the crash tragedy to make a political statement:

UPDATE 2: Here is the“Hankyoreh” newspaper cartoon taking advantage of the plane crash:

71 Responses to “Why are Korean cartoonists such insensitive A-holes?”

  1. comment number 1 by: John.

    Seriously, you’re just making yourself look incredibly stupid.. at least try to stick to the topic, will you?

  2. comment number 2 by: GarlicBreath

    Seriously, you’re just making yourself look incredibly stupid..

    John, you are not in the position to judge anyone. You seem to lack the critical thinking ability to connect the dots on Korean culture.

    Saving face is more important than self-criticism and chance of improvement. So keep on, keep on–business as usual. Fighting!

    HanC, spot on as usual. Korean political cartoons are not often not used for self-criticism.

  3. comment number 3 by: kjeff

    The one that shall not be named pointed it out,

    First I would like to see some evidence that the Korean media cared either way about the assault weapons ban.

    As far as I know, cartoon is usually drawn by a single cartoonist, and that the views are usually his and his alone(upon approval by his editor obviously). I didn’t know that the “Korean media” collaborated in drawing that cartoon.

    Second, there was no evidence that the Korean press was even aware of the weapon used at that point.

    It’s not about the weapon used, it’s the number of bullets in the magazine. We knew at that time that there were numerous victims and one lone gunman; one could reasonably assume, right or wrong, that high capacity magazines were used.


    That was pretty obvious it was another anti-American jab on the part of the journalist.

    If every criticism is an anti-something, by that logic, can I safely assume that your usual views are anti-Korean? Hmmm…kind of shooting yourself on the foot there…

  4. comment number 4 by: John.

    There’s something that just doesn’t make sense in your last post. First, I wasn’t “judging” anyone. I guess in your opinion, I was “judging” HanComplex by saying that he was making himself look stupid, and from what I take it, I assume that you’re saying that I’m making myself look equally stupid (possibly admitting that Han is as stupid as myself). Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re saying that I’m not in the position to ‘judge’ anyone because I “seem to lack the critical thinking ability to connect the dots on Korean culture”? In what way does it show me as “lacking the critical thinking ability” when I say that Han is making himself look silly (not saying that he necessarily is, because all people act stupid at least a few times in their lives)? What I meant by Han making himself look stupid was that Han was being overly sarcastic and was babbling irrational nonsense in his last paragraph, all in a derogatory (and possibly anti-Korean)way, and to make this worse, he was doing this especially on something that’s not even on the topic. Of course, this is my opinion, but in no way is this a logical reason for saying that I don’t have critical thinking ability. What you said makes me wonder if you have any “critical thinking ability.” I mean, a person can have different, or even extremist opinions, but what you’re saying is just not logical. And as an afterthought, are you admitting that you are a racist (in discriminating Koreans) after you didn’t reply to what I said in my last post? It’d be nice if you’d at least answer this time, so that everyone can for sure see whether you are or not. But then, all of that depends on whether you’re going to respond to my main message of this post in the first place, so..

  5. comment number 5 by: HanComplex

    Seriously, you’re just making yourself look incredibly stupid.

    Rather, stupid would be Moon Jong Kim who drank, drove, and in the process killed someone. Or did you not read the article? Here’s an excerpt if case you were too lazy to even skim it:

    The complaint states Moon’s blood-alcohol content was .188 percent, more than double the legal limit for driving in Pennsylvania of .08 percent. Lorraine Warner, a paramedic crew chief who responded to the accident, testified yesterday that Moon told her he had been drinking vodka and beer before the crash.

    Not exactly bright, was he.
    By the way, are you Korean, John? Just curious.

  6. comment number 6 by: GarlicBreath

    And as an afterthought, are you admitting that you are a racist (in discriminating Koreans) after you didn’t reply to what I said in my last post?

    When did you ask me that? I may not have understood your konglish, but in general I avoid acknowledging statements like that because it gives you legitimacy.

    As far as the rest of your comments, I stand by my statement that you lack any critical thinking ability. I will also add, that most of what you have written on this blog is logical diarrhea.

  7. comment number 7 by: egg

    Sorry, there seems to be a period in your handle name. I didn`t notice that till now. And thanks for your reply.

    I don’t think that as a result, the victims were mocked.. I think that as a result, many people thought that the victims were being mocked.

    If majority of the people in your society feel offended, I would use my expression. If not, I might use your expression. The difference of the expression is due to whether you think your society will accept the cartoonist`s expression or not, I guess. And we live in a different society so, it is natural that it differs.

    I probably would not be all that angry with this expression. No, I am not trying to “act” stand-offish or say this in an insecere way in any way.

    Thank you for answering me. I must say it was quite surprising. If your reaction is natural in S.Korea, I guess what I was pointing out was meaningless because you are suggesting that there will be no S.Korean people who will be offended by this cartoon. You will want to say “mind your own business”.
    I think the target of the cartoon is aimed at S.Korean people and if there is no Korean people who will be offended (who has a right to be offended)(forgeting about the victims who were not S.Korean), there is nothing to say (as long as the expession has nothing to do with international community). (There are many who will be offended by these expressions outside S.Korea, so even if S.Korean people do not care about them, still I think it is better for the cartoonist to think twice before drawing them, though.)
    It is quite difficult to accept the way you feel when seeing these cartoons. But I guess that is a part of a reallity and I should cope it. I am trying to understand how you feel and I hope you will try to do the same against me.

  8. comment number 8 by: egg

    Thank you for your reply.
    I think we have a different idea about freedom of speach. I think even if the expression has no intention of mockery and is relevant, still there are some expressions that should not be used (to avoid hurting victins feelings and so on.). It seems you don`t think this way.
    Whether you agree with me or not, have I made myself clear? Could you take my point?
    I wish there were Doraemon`s hon’yaku-konnyaku(Translation konjac), that will help me with my English.

  9. comment number 9 by: John.

    What I said was just my opinion, and I think I can safely say that my reaction is not really that natural in South Korea. After I read your post, I asked some of my friends (who are Korean-American; born in America but having more of a Korean mindset) what they thought about the cartoon, and whether they would feel bad if there was a family member or a close friend who died in the plane crash. All of them (I asked about ten, to get a more general picture) said that they would be angry at the expression, and when I told them what I thought, some of them thought I was heartless and “mean”, and like I said, I didn’t mean that (I wouldn’t be offended by the cartoon if a family member died in the tragedy) in a stand-offish way. I then asked my friends why they don’t feel offended now, and they basically said they weren’t offended because it wasn’t related to them (none of their family members died). I hope that this will give you a better understanding of what I mean.
    Also, I agree with what you said (about the cartoon being targeted at a Korean audience), but I said that the cartoonist should have been a little bit more considerate for others who are not Korean and who don’t have a Korean mindset, because those people probably will (and have) seen the cartoon. Believe me, if the members of a blog (like this one) can see that cartoon, then almost anyone who wants to search for things like that can get them on the Internet.

  10. comment number 10 by: John.

    First off, I did read the article. Just because I didn’t talk about the article doesn’t mean I didn’t read it. Yes, Moon Jong Kim was extremely stupid and irresponsible because he killed a person while drunk driving. Maybe you thought that I condoned or pardoned Kim’s behavior because I didn’t talk about it, but that’s not the case. Anyhow, here’s what I said in my last post to GarlicBreath.
    “What I meant by Han making himself look stupid was that Han was being overly sarcastic and was babbling irrational nonsense in his last paragraph, all in a derogatory (and possibly anti-Korean)way, and to make this worse, he was doing this especially on something that’s not even on the topic.” That’s what I meant by your stupid behavior. Perhaps ‘silly’ or ‘childish’ would have better though.
    Yes, I am Korean, but I don’t think you knowing that fact has much to do with our conversation.

  11. comment number 11 by: John.

    I never even asked you that. I’d appreciate it if you at least properly read what I posted if you’re going to criticize me. I said “after what I said in my last post”.. I never said I asked you that. Here’s what I did say.
    “but in your last sentence, I think you’re the one who’s revealing true colors. It’s clear that you hate Korea.” That last sentence wasn’t a question, by the way, in case you don’t know what a question is.
    “I may not have understood your konglish”
    I bet you don’t even know what konglish is, by the looks of it. Maybe you didn’t “understand [my] konglish” because you weren’t even sure if I asked you something or not.
    “I avoid acknowledging statements like that because it gives you legitimacy.”
    That is true, but when I asked if you were a racist or not, you could have easily said that you weren’t, but seeing as how you won’t answer as to whether you are or not, well, it’s obvious that you are indeed a racist. I mean, how could saying that you’re not a racist possibly make you look bad? Admitting that you’re a racist would make you look bad, but not admitting it wouldn’t. Oh well; since I already established the fact that you’re a racist, I’ll move on.
    “As far as the rest of your comments, I stand by my statement that you lack any critical thinking ability. I will also add, that most of what you have written on this blog is logical diarrhea.”
    The above statement? A pityful excuse because you just couldn’t argue against what I had to say, and so you had to resort to crude insults. That truly is sad.

  12. comment number 12 by: General Tiger

    Why are Korean cartoonists such insensitive A-holes?
    I blame lack of creativity. Because of that, they use recent incidents to buffer their cartoons up, whether it be a comedy, tragety, whatever.

  13. comment number 13 by: egg

    Putting your indivisual case aside, can I understand S.Korean society`s attitude against this cartoon as below? I know it is dangerous to generlize but I would like to think about the tendency of S.Korean society.

    1.Majority of S.Korean people will be offended if they were vitim`s families or friends.
    2.Majority of S.Korean people will not be offended if they were not vitim`s families or friends.

    Do they feel like that because they weigh freedom of speach highly? I mean, do they think that victim`s families and friends should bear the expression to keep freedom of speach? Do they feel that the intension of criticism should be protected? If not, won`t it mean that they know that this cartoon will hurt victim`s families and friends` feelings but still they don`t care?
    Can you explain this attitude of S.Korean society better?
    Please understand that I only want to know why the difference against this cartoon occurs.

  14. comment number 14 by: General Tiger

    Long time no see. Do you have any questions on this issue? I might be able to answer them.

  15. comment number 15 by: egg

    General Tiger
    I am relieved to know at least there is one Korean person who share the same idea with us that the cartoonist is insensitive.
    (Not that I am trying to accuse someone who doesn`t feel that way.)

  16. comment number 16 by: egg

    General Tiger
    Sorry, when I wrote the post above I didn`t see your post at 11:31. Anyway glad to see you again. Yes, I have wanted to know all the time how you would react against this cartoon, when writing the above posts.
    I have witten in the above but

    1. Do you think this cartoon will not hurt the victim`s family`s feelings?
    2. Whatever the intention of the drawer is, don`t you think this cartoon insulting?
    3. If you think yes at No.2, do you think the purpose of criticizing the government will justify(I am talking about moral not law) this expression?

    How would you feel? What do you think is the answers from majority of S.Korean people?

  17. comment number 17 by: General Tiger

    But there is something to consider: there were problems with the low-cost airlines in Korea already, and this incident pretty much “confirmed” the fears. So, in a way, the cartoons are capitalizing on the feelings of the Korean public at large.
    Of course, this is still insensitive to the dead and their families.

  18. comment number 18 by: General Tiger

    Here are my answers:
    1. Yes, it’ll make the pains worse
    2. Depends on what you mean by insulting. I believe insensitive is a better word for this.
    3. See the above post for some details. In short, the basic idea is okay, but the capitalization of this certain incident is disgusting.

  19. comment number 19 by: egg

    General Tiger
    I understand what you say as below.

    1.S.Korea had probrems with low-cost planes.
    2.Those had been kind of symbols of danger in S.Korean society before the plane crash happened.
    3.The accident might have inspired the cartoonist but it was due to a consensus of danger of planes.
    4.You are thinking that these cartoons should not be accepted socially.

    If my understandings are right, what you said is quite natural to me. I might say there is no difference in how we think.

  20. comment number 20 by: General Tiger

    Yes, that’s right, my friend.

  21. comment number 21 by: egg

    General Tiger