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Westerner in the DPRK
August 4, 2003 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Journey into Kimland • American graduate student Scott Fisher lives in Seoul Korea where he studies US-NK relations. Last year he took advantage of a brief window of opportunity: venturing North into the DPRK. His itinerary included Pyongyang, the DMZ, Mt. Myohyang, and Mangyongdae, birthplace of Kim Il-sung. The notes & photos he took explicitly document a mysterious and out-of-time North Korean culture rarely seen these days by Western eyes.
posted by dhoyt (45 comments total)

 
Repost
posted by internal at 8:10 PM on August 4, 2003


...but still an excellent link.
posted by internal at 8:11 PM on August 4, 2003


fascinating.... missed it the first time.
thanks!
posted by Espoo2 at 8:53 PM on August 4, 2003


Damn. I searched for "Scott Fisher", "Kimland" and "1stopkorea". Sorry. (I was actually on vacation in May when this was posted the first time, so I hadn't seen it)
posted by dhoyt at 9:45 PM on August 4, 2003


Absolutely top notch reporting. Fascinating insight, well documented and just the right touch of the human factor.

Made my morning go by quicker.

Also firmed my resolve to make kimchi at home this week.
posted by Dagobert at 1:00 AM on August 5, 2003


er. this link is really good. i missed it the first time, but: well worth reading.
posted by fishfucker at 3:18 AM on August 5, 2003


Referring tothe place as "Kimland" seems a not very nice bit of denigration.
posted by Postroad at 5:54 AM on August 5, 2003


Great link in May and now, and I'm glad more people got to see it.

Also, dhoyt, I really, really like the looks of the bullet between the link and the text.
posted by pardonyou? at 5:58 AM on August 5, 2003


Man, what an interesting read. Not only the insight on North Korea, but the insight on how Americans act/react in an alien environment. I often found brainwashed Mr. Huk and the narrator to be equally annoying...

Great stuff.
posted by sic at 6:07 AM on August 5, 2003


I must have missed this the first time around, so thanks for the repost. His reporting is top-notch and has enough Dave Barry-ishness to be amusing without being too Dave Barry-ish annoying, like this:

He handed the customs agent our forms and then motioned for us to put our bags through what appeared to be one of the oldest x-ray machines currently at work on our planet. I swear the thing must have helped in the fight against polio.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:36 AM on August 5, 2003


Another account (better written, in my opinion) of a visit to North Korea.
posted by dougb at 7:11 AM on August 5, 2003


Civil_Disobedient: that is exactly the kind of attitude that I found annoying in the narrator. That need to lord it over the North Koreans in his writing, even though it only showed through occasionally, was still enough to make me not like the narrator much. This is not the same as saying that I don't believe the x-ray machine was a huge soviet-era contraption, it was just the mocking tone that I found, well, childish.

This childishness was also illustrated by the American group "skating" around on the polished floor of the Kim palace after being told several times at how important it was to their hosts that they act in a serious and reserved manner. Fine, to almost any non North Korean, all the pomp surrounding the dictator and his shrines would seem ridiculous, but it obviously wasn't ridiculous to North Koreans, quite the contrary, but because the Americans were unable to empathize on any level with people they obviously dismiss as brainwashed, they didn't feel the need to respect their wishes.

While reading that passage I began to wonder how people would react to a bunch of N. Korean tourists laughing and skating around the floor of a church during Easter mass or something to that effect. Many people happen to think that religious rituals are simply superstitious claptrap and those that practice them deluded. But does that give them the right to enter a church and disrespect them? Not in my opinion.
posted by sic at 7:56 AM on August 5, 2003


Oh Sic, grow up. They weren't skating around a floor during easter mass. They were skating around the floors of a huge, totally empty building.

Also, I think most people make amusing comments about anywhere they travel to. The street side toilets in France. British teeth, etc...why is North Korea off limits?
posted by pjgulliver at 8:30 AM on August 5, 2003


The tone is very, very patronizing.
posted by signal at 9:05 AM on August 5, 2003


it was just the mocking tone that I found, well, childish

How on earth can you bear MetaFilter?

sic, signal: It's ridiculous to expect people to treat North Korea with solemn respect. It's a horrible place run by a mad dictator. I appreciate multiculturalism and all that, but don't get carried away. If we police our utterances based on what might make North Koreans uncomfortable... well, you're welcome to do it, but I respectfully decline.
posted by languagehat at 10:49 AM on August 5, 2003


As Robert Hughes put it, "'Oppression' is what we do in the west. What they do in other countries is 'their culture'".
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:55 AM on August 5, 2003


pjgulliver ... your church is their shrine. And vice versa. I thought sic made a remarkably good (if a little over the top) point.
posted by devbrain at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2003


"What is it with dictatorships and their odd obsession to have everything be the biggest, tallest, widest and longest?"
Like the Sears Tower? The CN Tower?

"...North Korea's version of the Arch of Triumph in Paris. Of course, as it was to be endlessly pointed out, theirs is taller than the one in France."
What's this "Arch of Triumph"? Maybe he translates all French words into the English: the Royal Mountain Canadians played the Strait Red Wings last night...

"The triumph in question was North Korea's defeat of the Japanese in 1945. Thus kicking them off the Korean peninsula and, as a side benefit, ending World War II. When asked about the US role in the war the guides mostly demurred. Preferring instead to discuss the awe inspiring military exploits of General Kim."
And, heh, this dork (3 Dorks and a Dictator Photo courtesy Dan Harmon) forgets Commonwealth troops fought in the Pacific, too.
posted by philfromhavelock at 11:00 AM on August 5, 2003


"What is it with dictatorships and their odd obsession to have everything be the biggest, tallest, widest and longest?"

That explains most of the spams I get from .cn domains.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:10 AM on August 5, 2003


Well said languagehat and George.

The only possible reason I could see for not mocking North Korea is that the place is such a hell hole (there have been reputible reports of cannabilism in the poorer areas, similar to those that came out of Ukraine during the 30's when it too was starved by a brutal dictatorship) making fun of it would almost be like (gasp) making jokes about the Holocaust.

But on the other hand, North Korea has to be the campiest dictatorship around. I mean, those warm-up suits and sunglassess...brilliant. If a Hollywood costumer came up with an "evil dictatorial villan" ensemble that included one piece track suit and enormous sunglasses, it would be laughed out as being too unrealistic.

I personally thought the articles were excellent. Though they might have taken on a slightly mocking tone at times, on the whole I thought they went out of their way not to make roundly negative comments about the country and to attempt to potray it and its people with a degree of understanding--humanism--I'm not sure I would have if I travelled there. I also though the vingettes the author wrote when he finally broke through the cultural barrier of fear and had the beginnings of converstations/interactions with people were very well done, like the tour guide at the tower, the guard at the DMZ, the guide with the MP3 player, and the children playing basketball.
posted by pjgulliver at 11:38 AM on August 5, 2003


If we police our utterances based on what might make North Koreans uncomfortable...

He wasn't just writing about it, they were actually childishly goofing around in a place they had been repeatedly asked to respect (and it wasn't a totally empty building, as someone suggested). The responses that some of you have made to my comment are in lockstep with the type of attitude that irritated me about the narrator. The idea that if you don't agree with or understand another's point of view it is ok to ridicule or belittle it. And no "mad dictator" responses please, I am not so deluded as to think that what the Kims are creating in N. Korea is a good thing. What I am referring to are the people that worked in this building, who obviously felt something strong for the place, whether you think they are mistaken to feel that way or not, being disrespected on a very basic and immediate level by some foreigners who feel that because they disagree with the "mad dictator" it doesn't matter if they act like dicks while guests in the country.

Again, it is not a question of whether or not the Kims are insane with power, most certainly they are, but that is beside the point that I'm making. It's about whether or not Americans in general are capable of empathy and whether or not this group of americans in particular chose to act like buffoons due to that inability to empathize.

I think they did.
.
posted by sic at 11:43 AM on August 5, 2003


A nice article. And the mass games are truly impressive. But as for this:

The most end-of-the-earth Chinese villager knows of Michael Jordan

I've read this on the Net a few times but I think you Americans overestimate your own importance on that one.

Most people around the world wouldn't know Michael Jordan from Michael Jackson. Basketball simply isn't that popular.
posted by dydecker at 11:50 AM on August 5, 2003


What I am referring to are the people that worked in this building, who obviously felt something strong for the place

How would you know? They are required, as is everyone, to behave as if they feel the way they are ordered to feel. They may actually despise the place and dream of burning it burn it to the ground.

When I was in Shaanxi museum in China, there was a uniformed PRA guard there behaving with the utmost reserve. Except when no one was in the room and he thought no one was looking: he did cartwheels. I swear that this is true -- I saw him do it several times through the archway from another room.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:52 AM on August 5, 2003


How would you know? They are required, as is everyone, to behave as if they feel the way they are ordered to feel. They may actually despise the place and dream of burning it burn it to the ground.

The fact that they are required to feel that way doesn't change the fact that they feel that way. Even if they hate the place, it doesn't change the fact that they feel strongly about it.

Try to imagine yourself living that controlled life, you are unable to express yourself freely, to live freely, probably even to choose your own job. The goverment charges you with making sure that visitors to the shrine behave appropriately. If you fail in your charge perhaps you will be punished. Then some bored foreigners come in and after repeatedly hearing the rules they break them anyway. Why? Is it because they can empathize with your situation? Of course not. They do it because they find it funny. They are "breaking the rules" or "painting outside the lines" just as they have seen in every SUV commercial ever conceived. And you, seething, your job hanging by a thread, have to bite your tongue and ask them again to please respect the shrine.

Perhaps in the end whether the guides and guards truly love Kim or despise Kim doesn't matter. They were personally being disrespected during that incident by people unable to empathize with them.

.
posted by sic at 12:11 PM on August 5, 2003


Mr. Huk just brushed us off with, "we already know the truth from our government. Why would we want to learn what others say?" Which, in a nutshell, seemed a pretty good explanation of North Korean thought as a whole.

Hey! They're not so different from Americans after all!

(sorry, couldn't resist)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:14 PM on August 5, 2003


The fact that they are required to feel that way doesn't change the fact that they feel that way.

This is one of the strangest things I've heard in a while. First of all, as I said, you don't know that they do in fact feel that way. Second, though this is an aside, you cannot dictate a person's feelings only their outward expression.

They were personally being disrespected during that incident by people unable to empathize with them.

Nonsense. If you visit a prison and you disregard the way you're asked to behave, do you think the prisoners will be offended? They'd probably applaud. The only difference being that in our prisons, they probably wouldn't be punished for applauding.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:23 PM on August 5, 2003


George, your prision analogy is specious.

In the article the guides are asking the group to behave themselves. Their motivations for asking them to behave themselves are unknown to us. Do they truly love the Kims? Do they hate them? Are they just doing their jobs? Do they fear punishment if they don't control the guests? Your guess is as good as mine.

However, none of this changes the fact that they asked the guests to behave and then they were just blown off. Your idea that they might cheer them on is at best wishful thinking. It is also a perfect example of what I'm talking about. I suspect that if you, George, are ordered in your job (if you have such a job where people order you about)to tell another person to do something and that person laughs in your face, you would feel disrespected. So can't it be possible that the guards and guides felt disrespected? This is my particular point. My general point is that it often seems that Americans are unable to "put themselves in another's shoes" and that makes it difficult for them to control themselves in certain situations or to be self-critical.

.
posted by sic at 12:34 PM on August 5, 2003


Well, I've made my point as best I can, you're not taking it. Fine, I suppose. It's my personal belief that a given North Korean will probably get a lot more out of seeing people who have no fear of reprisals behaving exactly as they wish than they would from seeing people as terrified as themselves behaving in the same way that everyone is commanded to behave -- because the latter is just about all they've ever seen in their lives. But that's just my opinion.

My general point is that it often seems that Americans are unable to "put themselves in another's shoes"

Compared to whom? I'm sure we have that defect because most people have it to some degree, but I doubt we have it more than many other cultures. For one thing, we have a higher than normal degree of social mobility, so we're probably better able to identify with others than are people from countries that have a caste system which is specifically designed to discourage empathy.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:49 PM on August 5, 2003


The goverment charges you with making sure that visitors to the shrine behave appropriately. If you fail in your charge perhaps you will be punished. Then some bored foreigners come in and after repeatedly hearing the rules they break them anyway.

You know, maybe (just maybe) this kind of exposure to the Western disregard to rules and regulations might infect them and help bring democracy to NK. Not right away, mind you, but little by little... Like when he was at the circus, trying to talk to the children. He could tell they all wanted to talk to him, wanted to act like kids, but their "leader" wouldn't let them. So he challenged her directly (challenged = said 'Hi'). The thing is, that class was just a smaller version of the country as a whole. All this Western influence, all these people practically jumping out of their seats with excitement, but fearfully looking at their dear leader to see if it's OK to enjoy themselves and indulge their curiosity for once.

While the "skating" incident was quite disrespectful, I thought the other parts (any part where he interacted with the people) made me (slightly) optimistic for the country's future. His actions may have been disrespectful, but I'm sure they gave the regular people he interacted with some hope and vitality in their sad lives.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:51 PM on August 5, 2003


dydecker, I don't personally know if every Chinese villager is aware of Michael Jordan. I do know that when I hitch-hiked around Namibia, in southern Africa, in 1999, the most common America brought up by far was Michael Jordan. People didn't understand basketball, but they knew Jordan (follow incidently by Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby. The Namibian's love Bill Cosby. Seriously.)

Sic. I don't think this is an American thing. I've seen tourists from many country's make assess of themselves all over the world. Its a tourist thing. Also, the group didn't blow of the guides either, they waited till they were away from anyone. To me, this sounds like kids on a field trip..the tour group was incredibly tightly scheduled, not allowed to do anything on their own that even tightly deviated from a prewritten script...I'm not surprised they decided to blow off some steam.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:54 PM on August 5, 2003


sic, signal: It's ridiculous to expect people to treat North Korea with solemn respect. If we police our utterances based on what might make North Koreans uncomfortable... well, you're welcome to do it, but I respectfully decline.

I didn't say anything about "solemn respect" or "policing utterances".

The tone of the piece is patronizing. This makes it unpleasant to read, and makes me wonder what the author would have found out about the place if he'd been able to get past his preconcieved prejudices about it.

This is, of course, not in any way to defend the current rulers of N. Korea. As someone who grew up in a military dictatorship, I have no love for despots.

But I wouldn't want some patronizing, wisecracking gringo to come to my country and shit all over it, either.

The piece is lame. It shows no empathy for the North Koreans, even though the author was able to speak to them in their own language.

Most of the comments in this thread are very simplistic, IMO, "Kim is bad, therefore there is nothing at all to respect in North Korea, and everybody there hates everything about it and breathlessy awaits brave westerners to come and mock it all as they would if they weren't so oppressed."

This black/white viewpoint completely ignores the fact that you can hate a country's ruler and still admire it's monuments, institutions, etc.
posted by signal at 12:54 PM on August 5, 2003


Sig, your ignoring the article and the thread. Many people have said they found the author to have empathy with the "man on the street"....what he didn't have empathy with was a cruel, despotic, cult-like leadership. I'm glad we live in a country where this guy can even mildly express his exasterbation with the NK gov and its rules and regulation.

If anything, this article gives more of a feel for the people of North Korea than any more journalistic or scholarly piece I have read.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:59 PM on August 5, 2003


The responses that some of you have made to my comment are in lockstep with the type of attitude that irritated me about the narrator. The idea that if you don't agree with or understand another's point of view it is ok to ridicule or belittle it.

Depends on the point of view you're being asked to respect, doesn't it? Some points of view -- such as "The Kims are wise and good leaders" -- are, in point of fact, contemptible and deserve our derision and scorn, not our respect or understanding.

It's not like the author was heaping derision upon a nation because of the spices they use. He was heaping derision upon a totalitarian regime that's, well, plain bugfuck crazy.

That said, doing anything that smacks of screwing with The Man while you're in the DPRK seems an unwise thing to do. But treating a monument from the Kims to themselves with disrespect is a good (if unwise) thing to do, as it applies the wire brush of derisive enlightenment to the foreskin of dour totalitarianism.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2003


Repost or not, that's a fantastic link. The pics alone are worth it. Thanks.
posted by 111 at 2:34 PM on August 5, 2003


I disagree that the narrator showed empathy with the "man on the street". Pity maybe. He did seem to truly feel sorry for some of them. But empathy, never. Which is why he thought it important to antagonize the pathetic Mr. Huk and to bitterly complain about the mean Ms. Sourpuss. He was never able to put himself in their shoes, not for one second.

Anyway, some of these comments remind me of a line from Kubrik's Full Metal Jacket when a marine coronel is berating Joker for wearing a peace symbol on his helmet. Among other things, he says, "Remember soldier, inside every gook is an American fighting to get out." This is obviously an over the top Kubrikian example of what I'm going on about. America's lack of empathy. And perhaps because the USA is the most powerful nation in the world it is more noticeable than in other powerful nations (although, as George correctly points out, not at all absent from them), but it seems that the vast majority of Americans are unable to understand (and sometimes even believe) that a person from an alien culture, be it arabic or asian or african or (to a much lesser degree) european, would respond to a given situation differently than they. Therefore it makes sense that a N. Korean would get more out of seeing an American "break the rules" in a totally asinine way than, for example, seeing an American respect the rules, behave decently toward them and therefore help dispel the state-generated myth that American imperialists are the root of all evil.

.
posted by sic at 3:22 PM on August 5, 2003


but it seems that the vast majority of Americans are unable to understand....that a person from an alien culture....would respond to a given situation differently than they.

Replace the word "Americans" with the word "Humans".

On the contrary, many Americans interact daily with a half-dozen nationalities just in their own neighborhood. Alien cultures hardly seem that far away in any American metropolis, or even medium-sized city. It ain't the "Melting Pot" for nothing.
posted by dhoyt at 3:36 PM on August 5, 2003


Interacting is not the same as empathizing.

Besides interacting with other americans of different nationalities or immigrants in America is quite a bit different than going to an alien culture and being able to take it for what it is, instead of simply assuming how much better it would be if it were americanized. And of course people of all cultures have a difficulty empathizing, but this article was written by an American and we are discussing it.

I haven't finished it yet, but the other article that dougb linked to seems equally critical of the Kim regime while managing not to be obnoxiously condescending toward the N. Koreans.
posted by sic at 3:48 PM on August 5, 2003


sic, you clearly have a bug up your ass about the United States. Perhaps you should try a little "empathizing" and "putting yourself in their shoes"? Or is what's sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander? Like pjgulliver (and anyone else with any perspective), I've seen this behavior from all sorts of people visiting someone else's country. I'm sure whenever you go anywhere you're appropriately solemn and respectful at all times, but you can't really expect the rest of humanity to match your high standards.

sic, signal: So what should the appropriate behavior have been for foreigners visiting, say, Soviet Russia? Wide-eyed, "empathetic" appreciation of all things seen, followed by respectful recounting in print, a la Sidney and Beatrice Webb? I'm sure they too felt they mustn't offend the locals.
posted by languagehat at 3:57 PM on August 5, 2003


Languagehat, as always, superb.

It's amazing that an interesting FPP about travel to North Korea became an anti-America discussion.
posted by pjgulliver at 4:14 PM on August 5, 2003


Well, since I was born and raised in Chicago, and I lived in the US for almost 30 years, I don't have to put myself in an American's shoes, I am one. Not that it makes one iota of difference in this discussion.

This is not anti-american, this is anti-american's who act like asses abroad.

And the idea is NOT that you have to be solemn and respectful all of the time, as you say, just when you enter into an area where your hosts specifically ask you to be solemn and respectful. This is not a difficult distinction.

And even when I was in kindergarten I was never able to convince anybody that "but he's doing it too!" is a valid justification for poor behavior, so I don't see why adult Americans should think that is an acceptable defense when acting like asses abroad. Of course, in the story he didn't mention if the Chinese and Japanese tourists were also sliding around in Kim's shrine, but somehow I doubt it.

I also find it funny how quickly the "communist" label has been pulled out. Thanks, comic relief is always welcome

¡Parece que somos rojos asquerosos Signal! je je

.
posted by sic at 4:22 PM on August 5, 2003


And the idea is NOT that you have to be solemn and respectful all of the time, as you say, just when you enter into an area where your hosts specifically ask you to be solemn and respectful. This is not a difficult distinction

The distinction between things or ideologies that could conceivably be worthy of solemn respect, and things or ideologies that are contemptible, risible, despicable, and anti-human is also not difficult.

It's not like they were skating around Dachau, or refused to curtsey to some harmless European monarch. They were skating around a bugfuck-crazy, hugely destructive, and radically evil ideology's monument to itself. The only reason to actually seem respectful of something that is not deserving of any human's respect is simple prudence.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:05 PM on August 5, 2003


I also find it funny how quickly the "communist" label has been pulled out.

"Quickly", meaning after 40+ comments?

Isn't most of what the author described part-and-parcel to life within an isolated Communist country? Why shouldn't it be compared to Soviet Russia, or other Communist environments of the past? Why is that irrelevant?

Personally, if I've learned anything from travel it's that we're all vulnerable to passing judgment, often unwittingly, on things that are strange and new. But in general, I don't think this author gave even a whiff of being outright "disrespectful"--rather a bit arch or irreverent, but in no way specific to his nationality, no matter how quintessentially American sic believes him to be.
posted by dhoyt at 6:29 PM on August 5, 2003


I also find it funny how quickly the "communist" label has been pulled out.

Indeed, comic relief is always welcome; thanks for providing it. As dhoyt says, communism is certainly relevant here, but the fact is that the first thought that popped into my head was to ask how you thought visitors to N*zi G*rmany should have behaved... but you and I both know what would have happened then, so I switched to Soviet Russia. You may substitute whichever wretched dictatorship you find acceptable for public discourse; the principle is the same. Just pick some grandiose public structure (how about Ceausescu's monstrous Palace, for which he razed much of downtown Bucharest?) and explain exactly what behavior is called for when your hosts specifically ask you to be solemn and respectful. "Why yes, those hundred-foot windows are quite dramatic, and the floor-to-ceiling portraits of the Great Leader in various uniforms and postures—how compelling! We certainly don't have anything like that back in Peoria!"

Oh, and thanks for the link, dhoyt; I recognized it as a double but, like others, thought it well worth the repost.
posted by languagehat at 8:41 PM on August 5, 2003


Um, dhoyt, languagehat has not made 40+ posts. His insinuation that Signal and I are "communist sympathizers" is the first post he has directed toward me. And of course it is a ridiculous troll, coming from a ridiculous troll and I will no longer feed him.

I've said more than once that the link is excellent and that I was fascinated when I read it (go back and read my contributions to the thread), but that I often found the narrator as annoying as the brainwashed Mr. Huk because of his patronizing, non self-critical attitude totally lacking empathy (with the N. Koreans not the Kims). Read the article linked to by Dougb and you will see a clear difference in attitude between one author and the other. That is not to say that I didn't learn a lot from the original link, I did. Above and beyond the things I learned about N. Korea, I learned how many Americans act/react when in an alien environment. The observations I made to this respect touched a nerve among some of the other Americans in the thread, leading inevitably to a troll outbreak. Not my intention at all. Comparing N. Korea to Soviet Russia is not a stretch, comparing me to a "communist sympathizer" because I am critical of the tone and some of the actions of the American narrator is just Fox news ridiculous trolling.

Thanks for the link.
posted by sic at 2:46 AM on August 6, 2003


His insinuation that Signal and I are "communist sympathizers"... comparing me to a "communist sympathizer"...

Excuse me? Can you quote any comment I've made in which I've used the words "communist sympathizer," which you twice put in quotes? Using "insinuation" (which gives you a weaselly out) followed by quotation is despicable, and calling me a "troll" is pathetic. Fortunately, I think anyone reading this thread can figure out what's going on and who's flailing desperately because they can't answer honestly.

To recapitulate, for the slow of wit or poor at reading: I started by saying "It's ridiculous to expect people to treat North Korea with solemn respect"; you replied that while North Korea was certainly not a good place Americans "act like buffoons" because of their "inability to empathize"; I said OK, how should they act in an awful dictatorship, picking Soviet Russia as an obvious exemplar of such a place after (as I explained) rejecting Nazi Germany as Godwin fodder; rather than try answering the question, which I think is a perfectly reasonable one (if you're going to tell me "don't do that," tell me what I should do instead), you start whining about imaginary Red-baiting. I don't have any idea what your political convictions are, and to tell you the truth I don't give a shit—if they're as infantile as your arguments it doesn't matter anyway. If you want to discuss things, fine, let's have a discussion; if you want to fling poo, there are better places for it. We're trying to have a community here.
posted by languagehat at 6:49 AM on August 6, 2003


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