Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Feeding U to the dogs

I came across this post recently (which was apparently taken from Ben Eller's website*) from 2002, which talks about anti-American music videos:
Foreigners in Korea have reported shock and outrage over the latest video of S.E.S., Korea's top girl band, in which "arrogant" Americans are fed to dogs, ridden like horses and beaten and thrown off buildings.
Well, obviously, I had to find the video (for a song called "U") to see for myself:



I was thinking at first that this video was a response to the 2002 Olympic 'Ohno speed skating incident', but as it turns out, the S.E.S. album this song is from was released on February 14, while the fateful speed skating race took place a week later. The March 3 entry here (see below) reveals that by that date, the video had already been released, so the 2002 Olympics clearly did not motivate the imagery in the video. This might seem to suggest that the video was drawing on already-existing anti-American feeling, perhaps caused by some of the incidents and political currents described here.

Eller certainly thinks so, saying that "the most shocking thing about the video is that it is mild compared to others that have proceeded it." He mentions the song "In my heart" by 4U, the video for which can be seen here, which shows how two Koreans who love model planes meet in the US, but the girl can't fly because she's married to a scowling older white man, who the Korean man rescues her from. All in all, I don't really see the video to be offensive at all. Insipid, yes, but not offensive. The video for the Position song "I Love You" is more troubling, seeing as every white guy the three nice Korean characters meet is a cowboy hat-wearing thug, a date rapist, or someone who would push an inexperienced Korean skier down a steep hill before he's ready. Of course, the video is set in Whistler, so does that make it anti-Canadian? If so, seeing as the video is three years before English Spectrum-gate, the video makers are true path breakers.

The aforementioned March 3 entry was about "SES & Finkl's return":
SES has also come out a little prior with their album and title song "U". It has an American Pop (Euro Pop) sort of style and their music video is none like any other they had shot. Before, they had shot videos which depicted them as cute, pretty or innocent. However, in this video, they are all confident working women. Eugene is something like a marketing specialist, Shoo is a card dealer, and Bada is a camera director. However, they show their confidence against the ignorance of some men.
Well, Eugene gets pissed because, while she's giving a presentation, none of the men in the boardroom (who are all white) are paying attention to her, and one guy is asleep! And he has his dog next to him! She storms over, slams her papers on the desk, and confronts him.


Next we see the man, clad in bondage gear, chained in a cage, and Eugene struts in with his dog...


and sics it on him.


If this is indeed anti-American, perhaps it could be narrated by a North Korean voice, which B.R. Meyers describes here:
The novel "Barrel of a Gun," for example, released in 2003, is an official "historical" work about how Mr. Kim's iron resolve forced the Clinton administration to its knees in 1998. "Excellency," the American negotiator says at the end of the book, groveling shamelessly before his North Korean counterpart, "you are also a mighty superpower."
"I like the sound of that," the North Korean answers with a chuckle and a sharp look.
Sometimes, it's like the DMZ isn't even there.

That narrative could perhaps also apply to the second story, where Shoo is a card dealer. She deals to some haughty Americans, one of whom blows cigar smoke in his face.


They lose however however, and when they are shown the card that beats them, they are shocked, and the cigar smoker mouths the f-word.


(Keep those dumb faces in mind; they appeared in the first story as well, and appear again). Shoo is then shown riding a mechanical horse, but when she dismounts, we see that the horse is actually the man who blew smoke in her face!


Well, I guess riding a guy like a horse while holding (his?) gun and wearing a satisfied grin is one form of revenge.


Perhaps the producers were confused about what kind of message they were trying to communicate.

Seeing the images of the "man in bondage being attacked by his own dog" and the "mechanical horse with a human head", I can't help but remember this scene from "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance", where a dog with the head of the bad guy is bound to a sled before the main character blows blows his brains out its rectum.


At any rate, the last scene has Bada behind the camera shooting a movie, the only Korean - and woman - in a group of white men. She doesn't like their attitude, so she amazes them by jumping from down from behind the camera and booting the director off the roof.



Note the dumb looks on the faces of the guys above. The face the guy on the right is making looks similar to the expression of the Canadian woman here. At any rate, this post continues:
Both groups have something in common. They both show their feminity more than ever, and their confidence [and are] getting away from their former images of innocence and "cuteness".
She may be correct; maintaining your innocence is often difficult when feeding a bound man to his own dog.

It's interesting watching the dancing in the video. Fully dressed in baggy, white full-length clothing as the S.E.S. members are, their 2002 dancing and costumes just don't compare to the more risque dancing and costumes seen in 2008.


Compare the dancing and clothes in the SES video to the Wondergirls' newest video, "So Hot":



I meant for the GIF below to illustrate this, but for some reason it's not working. Working GIFs can be found at the Grand Narrative here, where James wonders why GIFs of these particular scenes were used to announce their new video. At any rate, when I watched the video to get the above screenshots, I realized that the dance in the first photo (and GIF below) comes off as overly sexualized without the context the music provides. The second photo, on the other hand, of the girls doing synchronized pelvic thrusts, is set to the sound of a breathy "Oh! Oh!" If you looped it, you'd have a porn soundtrack.


So yeah, things have changed in six years, at least as far as how much sexuality can displayed in movies, even those aimed at teenagers (in 2006, Dasepo Girls could portray S&M (in the classroom), pre-op transsexuals, cross dressers, etc), or displayed through dancing in music videos. I don't watch a lot of music videos, but I'd be willing to bet that its mostly female singers whose dancing has become much more suggestive.

Taken at face value, the SES video seems to be about getting revenge on some boorish (white) men and humiliating them, but I think there are other ways to look at this video than just as a representation of Korean anti-Americanism. A very simple question would be: How many working women in Korea interact with foreign bosses, foreign colleagues, or foreign customers? I would imagine that the vast majority of working women never have to deal with foreigners in the workplace. So, for working Korean women (about whom James at the Grand Narrative has written a great deal), who would the sexist or rude bosses, colleagues, or customers really be?

The answer to that is a simple one, but can you imagine the video above with Korean men in those humiliating situations? In 2002? I would imagine mainstream TV would not accept it even now (but I can't be sure because I don't watch TV). Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, or if there are examples of Korean men being humiliated like the foreign men above are. While there are "girls getting revenge on bad men" narratives in, say, the first two Wondergirls videos, the men are not humiliated in the extreme ways seen above. In one video, the Wondergirls use a voodoo doll to make a cheating boyfriend look silly in front of his date:

Voodoo Child(ren)

Another key difference is that the men targeted in the Wondergirls videos are clueless boyfriends, flashers, or schoolyard bullies - not men who are in a position superior to them in their workplace.

So, is the SES video simply influenced by (and reflecting) the anti-Americanism of the time (and perhaps helping fuel it, considering how timely it was, being released just as the "Ohno incident" occurred at the 2002 Olympics)? Is it a video about putting arrogant Americans in their place? Could you analyze it as yet another in the series of rings flowing outward from the pebble dropped in in the pond 1945 when Korea was liberated by outsiders, much as the North Korean text quoted above is?

Is it a good example of the stereotypes that exist of westerners, or at least how they are perceived in the media in Korea?

Or could this be seen as a "liberating" narrative of women standing up to boorish, disrespectful men in positions of power over them and humiliating them or otherwise getting revenge on them and asserting their power. In this case, the use of foreign actors to portray these men acts as the spoonful of sugar which makes the medicine go down because images of Korean men being humiliated would never be approved.

Whatever the answer, what's clear is that, especially in 2002, on TV, Korean men could never have been treated like this, unless it was done with a lot of humor (and probably not even then).
It needs to be asked, of course, why it would be acceptable to portray foreign men the way they are in this video, but not Korean men. Perhaps the answer is as simple as "Because foreigners are not Korean".

If the video is, indeed, anti-American, then it may well be six years ahead of its time. You see, this is the card that Shoo shows to the cigar smoker (before she rides him but after she takes all of his chips):


Not a mad cow, but a mad bull is close enough.


* That post is from Ben Eller's website which looked at the anti-American protests back in 2002. The site is down now, but the main page, his 'Open letter to South Korea', and a letter section are available via Google cache.

13 comments:

gordsellar said...

Oh, God, I remember that video. That was my first year in Korea, and there was a stink about it online somewhere and remember it being around the time of Ono, too. Interesting that it came out before.

Yeah, I think in 2002 you wouldn't see Korean men being thrown around that way. Probably there's a couple of levels on which it's working, though the one that interests me most is howit seems to be a kind of sublimation of male power into the males whom even a number of Korean men would feel similar resentment.

As for the fact that Wondergirls dramatizes female-male conflict in terms of men like flashers, clueless boyfriends, and schoolyard bullies, well, it's a step forward in that it depicts Korean men as behaving badly. Sure, these aren't men in the workplace, but then, Wondergirls videos are all about dramatizing a kind of fantastical version of the schoolgirl's world.

(I used to think it was dramatizing it for teenaged girls' consumption, but for that matter, dramatizing these girls fighting off "bad men" may also be a way of telling stories that appeal to the fantasy worlds of other viewers, the way what looks like sublimation in the SES video.)

Interesting stuff, anyway, but I too watch very few videos here.

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

Whoops, forgot to mention -- the flashers, at least, are not really fantasy at all. I have heard time after time stories about men flashing high school or middle school girls. My fiancée said it was something that happened outside her school sometimes. (And that one of her friends, bravely and thus famously, said to one of the flashers, "What, is that all you've got?" That happened about a decade ago.) I imagine most cases go unreported, bt I wonder how common flashing was here in the 90s and is now. Maybe I'm sheltered, but I never heard of adult men flashing schoolgirls outside of their school until I arrived in Korea.

So, surely, revenge on flashers is something that's part of the popular imagination. It may also be part of the male imagination, too, so this still may play into the fantasy-world of non-teen viewers, though that's a little more icky and disturbing.

And I just watched the 4U video, which is VERY insipid. If there's sublimation in the SES video, perhaps there is some in the 4U video too... where the young man "saves" the pretty girl from the nasty older (white) husband/father-figure.

Amusingly, that's one very popular medieval romance plot, sans of course racial differences; usually the older man dies somehow by chance, but occasionally, the younger man has to battle him and manages to kill him, thereby freeing up the wife for marriage and allowing the knight to attain "adulthood" as a married householder.

And oddly enough, it's also a theme I've seen in the girlfriend fantasies of more than a ferw white men in Korea, who dream of saving a "poor, oppressed" (and invariably pretty) Korean woman from her "horrible" ajeoshi boyfriend/husband.

Anyway, great post, lots to think about there.

thegrandnarrative said...

Oh...I know precisely why those parts of the video were highlighted as GIFs. No pun intended.

I'm currently working my way through a series of posts on how advertisements in Korea have changed over the last 15 years or so, hopefully the first of which will be up later this week, and naturally I'll be focusing particularly on how the women are wearing less clothes and are dancing more suggestively like you mentioned. But I'm trying to be much more systematic and academically rigorous than my previous, bikini-saturated posts on alcohol advertising were, and even gone so far as pick up several books on the subject.

In one of them, "Feminist Cultural Politics in Korea" edited by Jung-Hwa Oh (2005), there is the chapter "Feminization of the 2002 World Cup and Women's Fandom" by Hyun-Mee Kim, which in a nutshell discusses two things. First how it provided a

"...rich opportunity for them to openly display their enormous sexual energy. It is indeed difficult for women of Korean in their teens and 20s who have been defined as 'asexual beings' despite their physical growth, and having been under constant surveillance, to realize their heterosexuality naturally, in everyday life. To these women, showing their enthusiasm for male stars is a 'safe' way to express their socially oppressed desires. It is an 'exciting' experience for young women to project their burgeoning sexual fantasies on male objects."

And secondly how it made short skirts, crop-tops and so forth much more acceptable for women to wear, albeit at first only in a stylized, group sense like while dressing as a Red Devil supporter. Your post reaffirms I think, just how important the year 2002 was in sparking the changes we both (will) describe.

Knowing you and the style and subjects of your posts then I highly recommend it to you personally (once you finish Ethnic Nationalism that is). I was put off buying the book by its 30,000 won price tag for a while, and then the preceding chapter which talks a great deal about postmodernism and SES videos without saying...well, much at all really, but I think it's worth buying just for that chapter by Hyun-Mee Kim alone.

matt said...

Gord - It does make one wonder who the intended audience was for the SES video. The Wondergirls' videos make sense, as the schoolgirl's [or student's] world is most likely the world in which the most of their target audience lives. These days it's not cds that JYP hopes to sell (more likely CF contracts), so things are quite different from SES's heyday, when they were the top-selling female group, selling hundreds of thousands of cds. Still, you'd imagine they'd share a similar audience, so I wonder how much appeal the bondage, submission and murder found in the SES video had for the teen market. On the other hand, kids are attracted to a lot of music, the lyrics to which they probably don't understand (I didn't think much of "Way, way down inside, gonna give you my love" when I discovered Zeppelin as a 15 year old), so perhaps I'm rambling too much. Plus, it does seem the wondergirls have a reasonably large adult male following - perhaps SES did too.

As for flashers, my female coworker in Bucheon told me she had men approach her in Jung-dong and masturbate on a few occasions back in 2001-02, so I'd known that wasn't uncommon for awhile.

Actually, I just remembered a grade 5 girl back in 2001 in Bucheon who had walked to the hagwon and came in crying. A teacher told me a bad man had done something, but no one seemed too concerned about it. I can only hope that he didn't touch her (perhaps it was a flasher), because I'd like to think that if something more serious had happened, there'd be a more concerned response. But, sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if something like that wouldn't be cause for concern.

James - the book sounds interesting; there's too much to read! And yes, 2002 is a pretty important year. I'll be looking at how much of the creation of new public spaces in downtown Seoul stem from the World Cup street rallies in 2002, and how protest culture evolved with that space. Maybe one day I might even finish that post!

gordsellar said...

James,

Yeah, man. And how ads haven't changed, maybe? I know this guy who was here ages ago and who came back this year. His main observation about advertising is how, when it comes to major home applicances, the narratives in ads haven't really followed social changes. Like, it's always a man buying a fridge for his wife, and his wholesome, comely wife appreciating it since it makes life in the kitchen so much easier for her.

The rise in two-income families doesn't seem to have impacted on fridge-ads at all, says my friend. He relayed a discussion about it to me -- with a surprising explanation -- but I can't remember the details.

(BTW, I have no TV at home, so I rarely see appliance ads here, and have no idea how they have or haven't changed.)

The quote you relayed suggests some explanations for the massive growth in online yaoi (ie. slash fanfic) culture in middle school back in the early nulls, anyway. Apparently this was a big deal online: there were sites devoted to slash fanfic written by Korean girls, and corresponding "lez" clubs at school. (I don't think there was real lesbian experimentation, but there were (ahem) "resbian clubs" in schools in cities as backwater as Iksan. Projection indeed!

Matt,

I think it's fair to imagine that JYP is consciously working two markets at once: exploiting both the teenaged girl audience with their nascent-but-impermissible-sexuality, and somewhat older male audiences with their impermissible-yet-present curiosity and fascination with the "secret lives" of those who are in that awkward in-between stage. But as for SES, I have no idea. My finger wasn't anywhere near the pulse of Korean pop culture back in 2002.

As for the flashers and so on, ugh... adult Korean friends have told me similar things, where they were touched improperly as children, but were too embarrassed to tell anyone and nothing was done at the time. But I don't know... I've seen office workers not react at all to things that should have gotten some kind of reaction.

(When the [famously] screwed-up moody high-school boy in one of my classes rather seriously threatened to kill himself that night in my class once, the office refused to do anything. Luckily, he didn't follow through, but I couldn't believe they thought the parents needn't be, you know, made aware of this kind of talk.)

Anyhow... the World-Cup/fashion and also World-Cup/protest/spaces posts you guys are working on sound fascinating.

So much fascinating stuff getting posted about Korean on blogs these days...

Mark Russell said...

Hi Matt - Good column, as always. One quibble, though:

> but can you imagine the video above with
> Korean men in those humiliating situations?
> In 2002?

Well, MY SASSY GIRL came out in summer of 2001, a film whose humor came almost solely from the humiliation of a Korean man by a woman.

Btw, several guys in the SES video were not American. Two or three Canadians (Canadians can wear cowboy hats, too, especially if they are from Alberta)... and maybe a Brit, iirc.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you men realize that flashers aren't especially concentrated in Korea. In three countries - the US, Korea, and Malaysia - I've been an unwilling audience on several occasions while men exposed their genitals and fondled them in a public place like a street, a park, a parking lot, or a library. During a two-week stay in Indonesia, my butt was grabbed, and my breast was punched in two separate incidents. That's right, not grabbed but punched.

BTW, a friend did a little explaining in a police station after she got into a physical altercation on the subway with a man who had grabbed her bottom. Amazingly, a young Korean woman and her boyfriend accompanied my friend to the police station to testify on my friend's behalf. She told my friend that when she was in high school, she was molested on the subway and was too scared to speak up or do anything.

Sonagi

matt said...

Mark,

But that's not a tv show!
Heh - just kidding. I'd forgotten about My Sassy Girl, which is a pretty influential film, seeing as it set the template for the romantic comedy that the majority (or it seems like a majority) of such films have followed since. Still, the humiliation tended to be more of the Wondergirls' videos variety than that of the SES video. Well, okay, in the fantasy sequences he's chained up and buried alive, but it's still not the power imbalance you'd see in a male employer - female employee relationship in Korea. But good point, seeing as it was made in 2001.

It's interesting that film was played as a comedy, because when you consider what's really going on - a girl who's an emotional basketcase after losing her boyfriend meets his lookalike and forces him to re-enact her former relationship - could just as easily be played as a depressing psychological drama. In fact, I'd be curious to see it remade that way - without the stupid subplot of the tree on the mountain.

Sonagi,

I certainly didn't think flashers were limited to Korea, but one could get that idea from reading the comments.

My sister lived in Japan (in an industrial city of 500,000 on Kyushu), and while she certainly had drunken men (try to) grope her, what shocked her were the drunken women who would approach her, say "Big breasts teeheehee" and grab her breasts.

You mentioned the US, Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia - what about China? I know you lived there for some time.

As for groping on the subway, a former Korean co-worker told me she was on the subway years ago (she would have been in her early twenties) in the evening and a man who was getting off grabbed her butt and walked out the doors. She followed him off and yelled at him, and of course he denied it and yelled back. Then she said, "I bet you don't even live here! You just got off because you grabbed me." He denied this and said that he did indeed live there, so she told him to prove it. He pulled out his ID card and she grabbed it and walked off with it. I forget where she took it (perhaps to a subway staff member?), but he eventually apologized.

She was often a reserved and somewhat shy person, so I was surprised when she told me that - and very, very impressed.

gordsellar said...

That is impressive... the stories I've heard almost never ended that way. Mostly just, "I shouted, people stared, nobody did anything..." sort of thing, if anything more than, "I moved my bag to cover my backside."

I too don't think flashers and gropers are limited to Korea... but I do think they get more of a free ride i some places than others. Which is one reason Seoul tried to do like Japan and institute ladies-only cars on the subway. I wasn't here, but students told me it was just plainly ignored by commuters and never got enforced... understandably, in a few ways, not the least of which being how damned crowded some lines are, but still...

Flashers outside middle schools, though... I never heard of that till I got here. Never imagined it. Flashers were something in Mad Magazine. While I never lived in a city bigger than Montreal (I get the impression flashers and gropers are somewhat more of a big-city phenomenon in North America, due to the anonymity they can hide behind), I was surprised to hear a lot of flasher stories in Iksan, a city of about the size of, ahem, Saskatoon.

But yeah, there are jerks everywhere.

By the way, Matt, I cribbed a few photos and insights -- credited to this post -- from here at a post of my own, here. Not trying to steal thunder, just got hit by synergies, with the whole feminization/defeminization/transformation theme, and how it links to pop culture here as well as in Japan. You and James overlapped, and it jolted me when an essay I was reading also overlapped. Neat stuff.

gordsellar said...

BTW Mark,

Yeah, they probably weren't all American, but I'd imagine that most viewers interpreted them as American. People assume that a little less now -- ha, little kids often call white folks "영어사람" now, right? That kills me -- but back in 2002, I think the whole 미국인이다! varied very little. Or maybe it's just that Jeolla is a backwater. :)

usinkorea said...

"Taken at face value, the SES video seems to be about getting revenge on some boorish (white) men and humiliating them, but I think there are other ways to look at this video than just as a representation of Korean anti-Americanism."

Taken at face value, of course that video was made to tap into anti-US sentiment!!

It amazes me at times how far expats are willing to go to reason away anti-US sentiment in Korea - even something as blatant as this.

Are there other possible interpretations? Sure.

But, on face value, Koreans watching that video will know exactly who the "foreigners" are supposed to represent.

When I wrote about this at my site covering anti-US culture in Korea, I got an email from someone who said he had been part of that video - and he talked about how nice the girls and everyone was - and he offered an interpretation much like yours - that it was about arrogant generic males.

I asked him why every single one of the males were non-Korean/non-Asian.

You have offered a reason for that, that the video makers would have been censored if they'd used Korean males, but it is unconvincing.

Each of the scenes in that video depict one of the stereotypes about Arrogant America and Uncle Bully -- how can you even "reason" away the cowboys? But the Hollywood set is a classic image of the US too.

If you are a white or black guy walking the streets in Korea, Koreans are going to assume you are American. It has changed somewhat over the years with all the Canadian hakwon instructors, but no Korean watching that video is going to think those guys are Canadian or Aussies or Brits or Dutch or whatever.....They are going to think of Arrogant Americans.....

I guess if they had had a white guy in a military uniform slapping one of the girls around, we could have reasoned it is just some generic soldier......???.....

The reasoning about the timing of the video is fine --- but it seems to imply that 2002 was an isolated event --- that it wasn't part of a longer trend or emerging from a foundation long set --- what I call -- what I came to recognize teaching Korean adults - a well of ill-will.

But, to focus on the time period in which the video was made ---

--- there were frequent small scale protests going on in Korea in the Fall of 2001. There was more negative press items that did the bulk of the work reminding Koreans why the US might be necessary but was definately an evil for Korea as well.

This seemed to be tied to society-wide reaction to Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech. But, that reaction was a more open expression of apprehension of what was going to happen after 9/11 when Cowboy Bush got going.

In Tehran and Beijing right after 9/11, sympathetic spontaneous marches were held and thousands of flower arrangements were left at the US Embassy. These are not two societies known to like US foreign policy. The government in Tehran wasn't happy with the positive marches....

In Korea, it would be a very misguided stretch of the imagination to say Koreans weren't sympathetic with the US tragedy, but due to the unique nature of anti-US sentiment in the society, you didn't see those street marches or the amount of flowers at the US Embassy - like you saw around the world. In Korea, you had The Priest holding an tiny anti-US protest the day after the attacks. True - he was not joined by more than a dozen or so people. But, he wasn't greeted by hundreds of sympathetic marchers coming to pay their respects either - as he would have been in Tehran or Beijing......and many, many other nations........

Between 9-11/the Axis of Evil Speech, you could see several signs in Korea about how events were putting South Korean society on edge:

tens of thousands of Korean school children in the Pusan area were downloading an incredibly vile anti-US tune set to a children's song -- in which the lyrics praised bin Laden for sticking it to the arrogant Americans, took up a defense of North Korea, and threatened to drop nuclear "cakes" on the blood-thirsty Bush.

On the TV news, a news anchor reacted to a spot about 9/11 by noting how ironic it was the US (or some global aviation authority) had downgraded Korea's airport safety - after a couple of minor aircraft accidents --- when the US couldn't even protect its own planes.

There were also a couple of commercials that came out using 9/11. I don't remember if they were before the SES video and tank accident or after. Ben Ellar's old pages dated them, I believe...

....but....even if they came after the 2002 armored vehicle accident....they were still tied to similar uses of 9/11 months before the SES video.

People place too much emphasis on the events of 2002.

That year was isolated in some important ways --- it was much larger than anything since the 1988 Seoul Olympic riots.

But, it was also a product of a much longer, well-established anti-US process and culture.

The SES video was clearly part of that.

Only an expat would think to try to find other interpretations of that video....

....well......some Koreans would too.....if expats or the foreign media started asking them about it and they wanted to run cover for the society.

But, left on their own, Koreans would never think to give alternative interpretations for that video -- because it was so obvious what the intended message was.

usinkorea said...

I left out a couple of important items about the pre-2002 armored vehicle accident timing of the SES video:

From the Fall of 2001 thru the Spring of 2002, there was a constant stream of Uncle Bully stories in the press --- concerning the competition over the contract to replace South Korea's aging fighter plane fleet.

I used to have a paper up online about that period, but I lost it some time ago. It really is impressive to see how constant the barrage was against the Boeing F-15K. It was depicted by the media as a worthless piece of junk no nation would be crazy enough to buy - but Uncle Sam was forcing it on Korea.

I might be exaggerating - by about 5%......probably more like 1% exaggeration. The Korean media really, really beat that Uncle Bully drum very hard for a few months.

Next, tied to this and what I wrote about the reaction to the Axis of Evil speech, before the Ohno scandal and tank accident, probably about the time the SES video came out ---- President Bush made a visit to Korea.

Around the time of his arrival, a fair sized group of Hanchongryon college students - with elder leader - stormed the American Chamber of Commerce (perhaps not terribly unlike the choice of the World Trade Center??? - but that could be a stretch)......and laid siege to it.

That was Hanchongryon --- what do you expect...

....but....if you google for a Christian Science Monitor article from that time period -- you'll see poll numbers that show something like 63% of Koreans basically sympathized with the students and their attack on Uncle Bully.

That CSM got into other signs of the times in South Korean society as well --- which will put the SES video in a proper pre-tank accident setting.

I am trying to track down the source for this but Ben Ellar's old page has the stats I remember:

http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/uglykorea/surveysays.html