Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chapter 6 Part 1: The Jungle Within The Cutting Edge Society (pages 160-163)

This chapter is highly interesting, but not nearly as shocking as Chapter 8 and without as many unbelievable quotable affronts to human decency. Nonetheless his general thesis, that Americans are desperate slaves to their jobs and mildly pathetic, is amazing.

America is the strongest country in the world. No country can face America's military, economy, scientific skill, etc. The Swiss world-class research body Institute of Management Development has announced that America's national competitiveness is number one (Canada's second; South Korea's is 15th). In GDP, which shows the scale of a country's economy, America's is first, and twice as much as China, which is in second place. America's population isn't even one fifth of China's, but it's economy is twice the size of China's, Do you have any idea what a rich country America is? In military size too, America is second only to China in number of soldiers (#3 India, #4 North Korea, #5 Russia, #6 South Korea). National defense spending estimates place America's spending at $347.9 billion, 7.4 times that of China. In firepower, equipment, and every respect, America has the world's strongest military. They fancy themselves "The world's police" and holds sway ('세계의 경찰'을 자처하며 호령하고 있는 나라가 미국이야).
(Graphic shows a soldier in sunglasses looking arrogant,surrounded by captions: "Middle East", "Iraq", "Afghanistan", "Bosnia").

Rhie is the master of the backhanded compliment. His version of the punchline is always the last frame of the page that makes all the seemingly positive information leading up to it seem to merely be setup for a snide jab. America is so rich and powerful! That's why they want to be the 'World's Police'.

The Nobel prize is the world's highest authority, but it's not just a private honor, it's a national honor and point of pride. Since 1901 the Nobel prizes have been awarded each year for over 100 years, but our country only won one award, and even that was merely a peace prize awarded to Kim Dae Jung.

This is another fascinating twist by Rhie, surprising to me in that in the middle of discussing these great achievements he can't help but push his inferiority complex on his readers. A mere peace prize. Ha!
On the other hand, 261 Americans have received the precious Nobel Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize takes turns going around to each country so only 20 [Americans] have received it, but nearly half of the Nobel prizes given for Physics, Chemistry and Medicine that are given to scientists who record revolutionary achievements in science and medicine have been swept away by Americans. They say that this award is given in the West and that it measures [achievements] against the yardstick of Westerners. But we can compare the number of awards given to Japan (America at 261 versus Japan's 11). Seventy four Americans received the Nobel Prize for Physics, 50 in Chemistry, and 83 in Medicine.
(Graphic shows an American watching TV)
TV: This year's Nobel Prize in Physics . . .
Man: Eh, it's gonna be an American.
(Graphic shows three students)
Student 1: My head professor won a Nobel Prize
Student 2: Mine too.
Student 3: Yeah, mine too.

And America won the prize for Literature, which goes around to all countries, nine times. Twenty Americans won the Peace Prize and in the 33 years since the prize for Economics was established in 1969, 35 Americans have won it (versus 17 non-Americans), and it's not going to far to say that America has led the world in capitalist economic theory. According to the symbolism of the Nobel Prize numbers, America is the most scientifically advanced country and is the most cutting edge civilization in the world in terms of economic theory and practice. America's Wall Street leads the world's finance, Silicon Valley is deemed the world's leading science region. It also serves as the birthplace of the world digital revolution. Furthermore, American movies made in Hollywood fascinate audiences worldwide and inject [the idea of] "Great America" into their brains.
(Graphic shows a couple walking past a sign that says "Now showing: Defenders of the Earth, Stop Attacks from Outer Space")
Woman: Naturally no one can protect the Earth except America.

Another telling choice of words here. The expression he uses that I've translated as 'injected into people's brains' (뇌리에 주입하다) is so reminiscent, but distinct from, brain wash (세뇌 - Incidentally, both English and Korean get their words for brain wash from the Chinese term, used particularly in the Korean War).

America is truly a land of abundance. Thanks to unlimited resources, the American average income is over $40,000 (cf. Korea's $11,000). America seems to be a heaven on earth, where if you have money you can get anything, and the products of the whole world are pushing into the great market. In America you feel like everything is big and ample. Houses are big, roads are long and cars are big.
(Graphic shows a 4-door "Europe/Japan-style car" and what seems to be a six-door stretch limousine that is labeled "American Car")
The food they give you in restaurants is so plentiful that it is difficult to finish a single meal alone. In our country's restaurants a single portion is based on a person who only eats a little bit, and when you eat bulgogi you have to eat two or three servings to be full. In America one serving is based on the amount of food it that a bulky person can eat until they're full. It;s so much that if you order one serving of bulgogi you can't eat it all and have to ask for a doggy bag. In the stores the products are piled up and waiting for the customers. America is a country where the gas price is less than half of ours and you can roll your big car around as much as you want.
(Graphic shows man driving a van)
Man: Naturally America is number one in energy consumption per capita!

Won-bok-kun, subarashii, you've done it again! Kudos to you and your craftiness.


madne0 said...

Don't know if it was your "fault" (mistranslation) or just ignorance on the part of Rhie, but the US does not have a 347 trillion dollar defense budget. That's what? 10-20 times the entire world's gnp? It's more like 350 billion. Also, Korea's average income is closer to 21 thousand dollars.

madne0 said...

Oops, sorry, just checked wikipedia and the defense budget (for 2007) was 470 billion. Still much MUCH smaller then claimed.

Joe Mondello said...

Rhie says 3,479억 달러 = 347,900,000,000. It's my bad