Sunday, February 25, 2007

The scale of the problem

I have received a couple of comments from Korean readers of this page asking that I make clear the exact extent of the racist and antisemitic content in the Monnara series. First of all, I have received some criticism for repeating the statistic that 12 million books from the series have been sold. I never intended to imply that volume 10 sold 12 million copies. Unfortunately I don't have any figures on exactly how many copies the book in question has sold. Let's say that it's reasonable to assume that each of the twelve volumes garnered around one twelfth of those sales, so we can estimate that this book sold between 500,000 and one million copies.
Although I have not read the entire series, I have heard from those who have read the whole series who tell me that the earlier volumes (written years before the three volumes on America) are much more scholarly and well-researched, as well as being based on the author's vast personal experience in the countries in question. I have seen volume 11, about U.S. history, and I can't say I found anything wrong with it. volume 12 is about American Presidents and I can't imagine it would differ much from any such book. Thus as far as I am concerned the problem lies only in volume 10.
Within volume 10 itself, the first 4 chapters of 8 are general history, with very little of the author's opinion injected. I find no fault with them. Chapter 5 is about immigration, and contains the cartoon about "white trash" that made its way around the internet. Although this chapter presents a generally negative view of immigrant nations, I can't find any huge fault with it. Chapter 6 is about the dark side of America, and my major fault with it is that it presents American workers as groveling and desperate, frequently using the imagery of a worker prostrate before his stern-faced boss begging not to be fired. Chapter 7, about credit, which I am currently in the process of translating, is a bit factually wrong in that it describes credit and the rule of law as a sort of desperate measure that immigrant nations resort to in order to force disparate ethnic and racial elements to live together in harmony. This is repeatedly presented as inferior to the supposed harmony that mono-ethnic societies like Japan and Korea enjoy. This is also the chapter in which the picture of the black girl saying that she and her baby would starve to death without welfare appears. But it is chapter 8 that has rightly garnered international attention as a piece of classic Jewish conspiracy theory.
So one chapter of one book in a series of twelve is absolutely intolerable. What's the big deal? The big deal is that by the time the reader has gotten through the first 9 books and the previous 7 chapters he or she is fully convinced of Professor Rhie's erudition and authority and ready to accept everything he has to say without question. Isn't that much worse than a patently false, easily dismissed work of junk propaganda?

According to a new AP article
More than 10 million copies from the 12-book series titled "Meon Nara, Yiwoot Nara," or "Far Countries, Near Countries," have been sold since it was first published in 1987, according to its publisher, Gimm-Young Publishers Inc. The company boasts that at least one volume is in every South Korean home in this country of 48 million people.

Straight from the horse's mouth. The 12 million figure I was quoting came from a Korean news article earlier this month.


j_matto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
j_matto said...

So, some Korean person(s) has contacted you about this subject.

The focus of this subject is Rhie Wonbok's terrible libel against Jewish people.

However, the most important thing this Korean person(s) had to communicate was a critique of exactly how many copies of this series were sold?


Did they even address the issue of anti-Semitism?

Why didn't they just post their comment on the blog?

Maybe they were afraid that it would be rightly upbraided for disingenuous distraction from the most important issue at hand.

John Samhain said...

You are an imperialist. A zionist seeking B'nai B'rith domination of Korea.

Free citizens of Korea: Arise, Resist, Unite!

The jew is testing his new host, the Orient before he sucks the last drop of blood out of a Morribund West and packs his carpetbag, just remember these jandiced skinned hooknosed whiners were not European, anymore then they will pretend to be Korean! The jew will be the death of you, like he was the death of us!

j_matto said...

Hey John Samhain,

I don't know if you did it on purpose or if it was some kind of an accident, but you definitely presented yourself as stupid.

Joe Mondello said...

John, I want to thank you for showing the Korean readers of this blog the kind of people who agree with Rhie Won-bok's appraisal of Jews.

J Matto, the person who contacted me raised some questions that I've tried to address in my last post. Luckily the questions raised were easy enough to answer. Hopefully getting the piddling quibbles out of the way will leave people facing the real issue.

Anonymous said...

The problems with this book are more systemic the just anti-semitism. Chapter 7 mentions a Misubishi exec who was sued for sexual harrasment. The actual story is quite different: Were these books fact checked by his editor?

Anonymous said...

The problems with this book are more systemic the just anti-semitism. Chapter 7 mentions a Misubishi exec who was sued for sexual harrasment. The actual story is quite different: Were these books fact checked by his editor?

Joe Mondello said...

That is abominable distortion of the facts. I highly suspect he's mostly just reporting things people told him over beers throughout the latter half of the book.