Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Too Cute for Criticism


I don’t read what the all powerful Korean netzins write, but by the way it’s reported in the Korean media, you would assume they have incredible sway in this country. A few weeks back, the popular actress Choi Jin-sil committed suicide after folks on the internet in Korea started spreading malicious rumors about her. The New York Times reports:
Already struggling with a messy divorce, she had been deeply troubled by online accusations that she had driven another actor to gas himself in his car a month earlier, Mr. Yang said. The actor, Ahn Jae-hwan, was struggling with debt, and the rumors said she had pressed him relentlessly to repay money she had lent. She complained to the police about the rumors, which she called baseless, and they were investigating when she died.”
Now “the Nation’s little sister,” Moon Geun-young is being targeted on a number of fronts for secretly donating over 850 million Won over the last five years. The Chosun Ilbo writes:
Some are posting comments saying her good deeds were merely a moneymaking publicity stunt, while others accuse her of hogging the limelight.

Moon is also being accused of regionalism with her donations.”
No to make light of Choi Jin-sil’s suicide, but I have a hard time understanding how people posting stupid comments on the internet makes for news, let alone leads any celebrity to respond to pointless slander by taking their own life.

I generally have little reverence for entertainers, and I am sure an actor or actress who donates money to any cause has ulterior motives for doing so. Perhaps Moon gave this money and intended it to remain anonymous out of the goodness of her heart and not to get some positive media attention and adoration, but I doubt it.

But honestly, who cares?

The money is still good, and I am sure the charities she donated to were thrilled to have the revenue. It is surely more than most of us have ever contributed to a cause we support, and why shouldn’t she get her name in the paper for her contribution? I would rather celebrities receive media attention for their philanthropy, than for being whorish, stupid, and scandalous.

You would be hard pressed to find any American celebrity who hasn’t had baseless and slanderous attacks made against them by some on the web. I would assume that most folks just shrug their shoulders and move along; combating a few anonymous individuals in an unaccountable medium is a losing battle and most grasp that. If negative comments left on the net was the destructive force the Korean media makes them out to be, America wouldn’t have many celebrities left alive.

Update:
'Ask a Korean' takes on another angle of this story that I avoided: the belief by some right-wingers that Moon is a closeted Communist.

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