Missing Person’s Report

It has been a few days since I posted anything here in Limbo, and I suspect a few of you have even noticed this absence, and perhaps begun to wonder, as we have all been trained to wonder over these past several months, “Could it be the coronavirus?” As a matter of fact, the answer is yes.

To be precise, I have been dealing with contingencies related to the Korean government’s decision to lower the “social distancing guidelines” to Level 1, which means most normal face-to-face teaching may now resume at last, with only mask mandates and separated classroom seating being retained, just to remind everyone that we, like everyone else on this (non-Swedish) Earth, do indeed still live in a tyranny now — but a tyranny in a more lenient mood this week. Hooray!

In short, online teaching, for those among us who actually take our teaching role seriously, is a tremendous burden in energy and time, without even the emotional reward of knowing one is doing the best possible job of educating one’s students. The promise of returning to some semblance of “normal” teaching over the next couple of weeks is therefore a positive sign — except that the change is being carried out in a somewhat haphazard fashion, leaving teachers to figure out how to restructure their semester plans on the fly, with the least possible confusion and disruption for students. Hence, my week has been a mess, and pretty much everything I enjoy doing — including, of course, writing for this website — has had to be put on the back burner for several days.

As things begin to settle into a new shape in daily life here — until the government here raises the social distancing level again next week, as I still believe they are most likely to do — I am excited about getting back to writing here regularly, as I have several matters of importance (to me at least) that I have been champing at the bit to get into recently. I will begin to do so over the next few days.

Two points I will note here, in passing, but which I will delve into more substantially later:

First, in his campaign speeches, I see that Joe Biden has taken to adapting his “regular guy” rot to the coronavirus situation by telling his audience to “look around the breakfast table” and notice all the people missing now, thanks to Donald Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic. 

This is a point I have been making for months, but allow me to restate it for Biden here:

“Joe, how about you look around your breakfast table for us, and tell us what you see. How many people do you notice missing due to coronavirus? Now go to your local stores and favorite restaurants, Joe. How many proprietors or workers are missing in those places due to the virus? How many of those businesses are closed due to the health impact of the virus? How many of your own friends have departed this Earth this year due to the virus? How many of your old senate colleagues have died this year from the virus? How many grandchildren have you or any of your close acquaintances lost this year due to the virus? If I may, let me hazard a guess, Joe: The cumulative answer to all those questions, in your personal case, falls somewhere in the zero to two range. If I am way off, please let me know.” 

And for this, we are all supposed to ruin our lives and our economies, and sacrifice whatever was left of our natural liberty.

I just heard that Korea’s biggest entertainment export, the boy band BTS, has, against all expectation, performed a great public service to the world in the form of a massive eye-opener for the dullard majority. 

One member of the group dared to pay his respects, publicly, to the Korean and American soldiers who died during the Korean War. In response, the group’s Chinese social media fans, good little communists, objected to his not mentioning the Chinese war dead. And in as clear an act of greedy cowardice as you could possibly conceive, two mammoth Korean corporations, Samsung and Hyundai, have apparently pulled BTS references from their Chinese advertising campaigns. In other words, these two corporate giants, so deeply invested in the Korean political establishment — seven wealthy families have essentially controlled the government here since the early 1970s — have just revealed to everyone that they themselves are willing to be controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. For money, of course.

Useful information. Thank you, BTS — and I certainly never thought I would hear myself saying that.

Note: Every young Korean man must do a stint of mandatory service in the Korean military. For a member of BTS to praise the Chinese dead from the Korean War — to “honor” the men who served the communist interests that destroyed his country and created a mortal enemy in North Korea — would be well-nigh treasonous. And for not committing that treason, Korea’s two corporate behemoths are effectively punishing the pop star on behalf of communist China. We live in interesting times, indeed.

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