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FRIDAY JUNE 19, 2009 OPINION 13

Who wears the masks these days – villains or victims?


Face masks pervade press derstand that both regimes stem book, “Blink” lucidly explains and terror to ensure order in the years. I found an article published Ki-moon, secretary-general of
pictures this week. Iranian pro- from external intervention, and how, in its moderate form, belief world he created? The Christian in 1954, called “Education for the United Nations.
testors hide their identity from have often been fueled to suit permits humans to hypothesize, Inquisition did this, but these International Understanding.” Perhaps the reason why
the security forces. Mexicans try Western interests. America and predict, and plan on the basis of Spanish despots stopped 500 This inspired the UNESCO Korean international endeavors
to stop the spread of swine flu. Britain created and maintained a subtle but instant balance of years ago. Thankfully, religious Recommendation with the same do not get full recognition takes us
Masks symbolize North Korean the Iranian Shah’s regime, and intuition and evidence. The or secular, belief-based politics name, in 1974, which is the basis full circle in this discussion. The
CHRIS WILLIAMS workers at Gaeseong, and show
the plight of environmental vic-
supported Iraq in the war
against Iran, for oil. Similarly,
health worker who claims “I be-
lieve that we must work harder
seems to backfire. When Thomas
Culpeper warned in 1649 that
of the work of UNESCO’s “Asia-
Pacific Centre of Education for
international media stereotype of
Korea is of war, and like the
tims in polluted Chinese cities. the Cold War adversaries divid- to prevent the spread of swine “God gave tyrants in his wrath, International Understanding” masks of other international vic-
These images are strangely ed Korea for their own security flu” is likely to save lives, and at and will take them away in his (APCEIU) in Seoul. tims, this hides its true identity.
reminiscent of cowboy bandits in interests, not Korea’s. worst will waste resources if the displeasure” this was not empty For many years, South Korea This week, the mask became
American movies. But as we Why is there not more in- belief is wrong. But politicians rhetoric. In the same year, the has been quietly but effectively the symbol of the victim, and
watch Iranian protesters shout, credulity when the Security who believe that they have a English revolutionaries detached been working for international therefore the sign of a villain.
Perhaps the “the election has been stolen,” the Council, G8 or “six nations” right to tell their secret police to Charles I from his head, and lat- understanding, but with little But it should also mark the start
misunderstanding becomes clear. claim they can sort out world shoot unarmed civilians in the er his revolutionary adversary, recognition, yet look at its links of the revelation of the villains,
reason why We are now in an era when the problems? A psychologist would street, as in Iran this week, Oliver Cromwell, suffered the with just one British city in one all of them. We might start by
K orean interna- victims wear the masks, while probably diagnose these doctors have a more serious problem. same fate. month. Recently the vice chancel- exposing Western regimes who,
the villains use other disguises. of international ills as them- In an extreme form, belief be- Events in Iran appear de- lor of Birmingham University, like those cowboy bandits, hav-
tional endeavors Misunderstanding seems in- selves having a serious condi- comes a mental health condition. pressing, but perhaps, as in David Eastwood, was at Korea ing robbed countries of their se-
do not get full trinsic to mask wearing. When a tion, collective guilt. As the Bible Our psychiatric hospitals care for 17th century England, the revo- University to sign an agreement curity, then pretend it is nothing
new virus appears, Westerners says, “Physician, heal thyself.” sad people with delusional be- lutionaries have sown the seeds for international cooperation, yet to do with them.
recognition takes rush to buy masks because they And it is interesting that the liefs that they are figures such as of their own destruction. Those many academics in Britain are Who then has the status to
us full circle in see pictures from East Asia. rest of this injunction from Luke Elvis Presley, Napoleon, Jesus or pictures of police riding motor unaware that Korean universi- “bring truth to power” in Iran
They do not realize that in East suggests a geopolitical not med- Muhammad. They should also cycles at unarmed crowds, and ties work internationally. and North Korea? Certainly it
this discussion. Asia masks are not usually ical meaning — “Whatsoever we be providing secure accommoda- beating women wearing full This week, Rotary will not be the United States or
T he international worn to protect the wearer, but have heard done in Capernaum, tion for delusional politicians Islamic dress, will raise ques- International will hold its 100th the United Kingdom, and prob-
as a courtesy to protect others. A do also here in thy country.” who think they speak for god. tions in the minds of people in International Convention at ably not the Security Council. In
media stereotype publisher once put a picture of A trick of dubious politics, After George Bush made his Iran and across the world, from Birmingham. Its chair is a Iran, perhaps Korean negotia-
an East Asian child in a clinical East or West, is to conflate fatal decisions about Iraq, the all political and religious beliefs. Korean, Lee Dong-kurn, who has tors, not least Ban Ki-moon,
of K orea is of mask on a book of mine, knowledge and belief, to fuel Middle East and Afghanistan, This is what happened follow- led Rotary in a project to address would have the moral authority
w ar,and like the “Environmental victims.” Yet misunderstanding. Most out- he said that he believed he was ing the Tiananmen Square preventable diseases, called to facilitate change. But who
medical masks cannot protect siders believe that all Iranians doing god’s will, as seemingly killings in 1989. The mask of to- “Make Dreams Real for the might have the legitimacy to
masks of other the wearer against pollution. are fundamentalist Muslims, did Tony Blair. This is not a new talitarianism seemed to remain, World’s Children.” Lee follows play this role in North Korea? If
international Misunderstanding can be a because that is the impression idea. The European despots, but now it is to hide the pro- the path of another Korean in- “understanding” is the key, it
more serious international pan- America wants to create. But English King Charles I, and gressive intentions of a new ternational leader who was could be an Iranian.
victims,this hides demic than a virus. We portray this is not supported by the French Louise XIV wanted peo- wave of modern leaders from greatly admired but not widely
itstrue identity. Palestinians and Israelis as in a knowledge that mosque atten- ple to believe that they were ap- their elders. The door has recognized as Korean, Lee Jong-
mess of their own making, yet in dance in Iran is much lower pointed by god and ruled by di- opened, and international un- wook, director general of the Chris Williams is based at the
truth the mess was made by than in most Muslim countries. vine right. But they had an ex- derstanding was the key. WHO, who died suddenly in Center for International
Britain. The media tell us that You can’t judge a book by its cov- cuse — that was 300 years ago. Last week I was looking 2006. The university will host Education and Research,
power in North Korea and Iran er, and you can’t judge a mosque How can modern leaders ex- through dusty old copies of an another international figure next University of Birmingham,
is maintained by keeping citi- by its mullah. pect respect when they claim le- academic journal, “Education week who is certainly recognized United Kingdom. He can be
zens in ignorance. Yet those Belief is a mental condition. gitimacy from a god who seem- Review,” which has been based at as an outstanding world leader, reached at chrisunula@
same commentators rarely un- Malcolm Gladwell’s wonderful ingly needs truncheons, torture Birmingham University for 60 but less often as a Korean — Ban yahoo.com — Ed.

Divine intervention Inflated


promise
in state economy From Page 12
By Tim Rutten son who finds both those admo- appears to be working.
Los Angeles Times Service nitions a breath of genuinely As it turns out, digital tuners
sane realism, you might also aren’t all that they’re cracked
The late C. Wright Mills had a ask yourself how and why it is up to be. For instance, you
certain segment of America’s so often considered sentimental might not be able to get a signal.
Cold War foreign policy estab- or softheaded to point out that According to experts, digital sig-
lishment in mind when he there are moral dimensions, nals don’t travel as far or hold
coined the description “crackpot and not merely fiscal considera- up to interference as well as
realism.” tions, at play in these budget de- analog.
He might just as well have liberations? It’s the implication So, after forking over $50 to
had in mind the outlooks of that the bishops and other reli- $80 for the converter box, you
those performing the seemingly gious leaders speak out of other- might also need to buy an anten-
endless buffoonery masquerad- worldly sentimentality that al- na, which could cost much more.
ing as deliberations over the lows most of the state’s English- At least one-third of the callers to
California state budget. Gov. language news media and com- the FCC’s help centers have com-
Arnold Schwarzenegger insists mentators to routinely kick the plained of reception problems.
that the only way to close the clerics’ statements on social jus- I didn’t have serious reception
estimated $24-billion budget tice issues into a well of silent problems with my analog set.
gap is to throw children in need indifference. Sure, there was the occasional
of health insurance, the ill, the In a telephone interview, static snow. But it seemed to
elderly and tens of thousands of Cardinal Roger Mahony of the soften news that was coming to
the working poor — many of Los Angeles archdiocese said he me directly from some crime
them single mothers — to the was not bothered by the major scene — which happened pretty
wolves of self-reliance. The news outlets’ inattention. much every day. You don’t al-
Democrats, naturally, resist, “Historically, we’ve always been LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ways want to see blood in the
but offer no workable alterna- concerned, as bishops,” he said, street first thing in the morning.
tive plan to close the deficit. “with government programs that Nor did I mind the blurry live
The Republicans stand apart,
like some secular Taliban, and
chant “no new taxes” — ever,
serve the poorest and the needi-
est — those who wouldn’t sur-
vive without them. ... As far as
Denial of mental illness affects everyone feeds from traffic cams. Who
needs to see flashing brake
lights along I-95 to know that
for any reason. the media goes, we get a much By Susan Menadue-Chun saulted at a major pedestrian and continued to hope it was their loved ones suffer from and it’s rush hour anyway?
Last week, the state’s more powerful hearing on radio Tokyo, Japan crossing at midday. I was wait- just a bad dream I heard more leave them to roam the streets But, hey, what’s done is done.
Catholic bishops bravely walked and television — much of it in ing alone to cross at the traffic screams. The assailant had of Seoul so they can attack any- Besides, fewer than 15 percent
into this lion’s den of intransi- Spanish — and in newspapers I am an Australian resident lights when I heard a scream then moved on and hit two one they wish? of U.S viewers rely on free, over-
gent “realism” and offered their like La Opinion,” Los Angeles’ of Japan. As a wife and mother and felt pain over the top of my more women over the head be- I hesitate to be judgmental; the air television. Or rather,
view of what’s actually at stake leading non-English daily. of five Korean citizens I have head. To my terrible dismay I fore making a hurried depar- however, if thugs can wander used to. There is no going back
in this tragedy that’s being That’s important, the cardinal great affection for Korea. I ad- realized the scream was mine ture. We were too stunned to around Seoul and randomly hit just for them.
played as farce. It’s crucial, they said, because the bishops’ state- mire the sincerity and kindness and I had been beaten on the move or say anything. innocent women, then I must So the only question now is
said, that lawmakers not only ment wasn’t aimed only at law- of Koreans and I always look head. I struggled to look around My daughter is a graduate publicly affirm that Korea is be- what to do with my beloved
“undertake major tax and bud- makers. forward to my next trip to to see a well dressed young student at a prestigious Korean hind in the treatment of mental dead set. Convert it to a fish
get reforms” but also that they “First of all, we want the poor Seoul. man equipped with a snazzy University. She too has had two illnesses. tank, perhaps, or an ant farm. I
“give top priority to programs and needy to know that some- Korea is the home of my fam- iPod looking back at me with similar assaults in the 18 I will continue to travel to could dedicate it to another ana-
that provide for the basic needs body is speaking for them and ily’s honored ancestors. If it was strange eyes. He seemed to be months she has lived in Seoul. Seoul because my affinity for log favorite of the 1960s:
of children, the disabled and their dignity,” he said. “Second, not for this special connection I enjoying my pain and confu- Obviously the assailants suf- Korea is more than skin deep. “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild
those poor and unemployed who we want to urge our own Catholic would beyond doubt never visit sion. I dared not say a thing in fer from a mental disease. Are Then again if I was a tourist Kingdom” with Marlin Perkins.
cannot provide for themselves.” people to greater generosity to Korea again. Regrettably on fear he would hit me again. the families of these aggressors visiting Seoul for the first time, Second only to Captain
These people, the bishops said, those who require help.” my last trip to Seoul I was as- While I regained my composure in denial regarding the illness I would never go again. Kangaroo.
need to be provided for “before Still, Mahony points out that,
funding less urgently needed as operators of the state’s — and
services.” the nation’s — most extensive
Noting that the groups they network of social service agen-
singled out already have been
the hardest hit by the state’s
worst budget crisis since the
cies, California’s bishops are
painfully aware that public
funding is the linchpin of their
Opening up new entertainment possibilities
Depression, the bishops wrote: efforts. He argues that it makes By Scott Kirsner television for “digital dimes.” the studio’s product. Many in Hollywood still de- that $100-million movies like
“We don’t presume to have all no sense to enact cuts, like Los Angeles Times Service But like it or not, consumption There were also, though, a ride the wacky, user-generated “Land of the Lost,” or even $10-
the answers when it comes to many of those Schwarzenegger of video on the internet is grow- few pioneers who saw potential videos that occasionally turn million independent films, may
solving our state’s serious bud- is proposing, that save Talk to filmmakers and me- ing much faster than movie tick- in the new medium. In the ear- into viral hits on YouTube, the not represent the future of the
get problems. However ... as California 20 cents of its own dia executives about the inter- et sales or TV viewing: As of ly days of television, such entre- top website for video viewing. industry. And new technologies
they go about their delibera- dollar while forfeiting 80 cents net — the biggest tectonic shift April, the average web surfer in preneurs as Walt Disney be- And it’s true that one of the like YouTube, the iPhone and
tions, we believe it is critical of federal aid that the state’s in the entertainment industry the United States was watching lieved that if consumers liked most-watched videos ever up- next-generation gaming consoles
that lawmakers are guided by modest investment secures. since the advent of cable — and more than six hours of online the tube so much, there must be loaded to the site is titled are opening up all sorts of new,
two fundamental principles.” “Those kinds of cuts,” Mahony they typically gripe about two video every month, according to a way of building a business “Charlie bit my finger — again!” creative possibilities. The artists
First, they said, budget cuts argues, “should be the last and things. Consumers, they say, comScore, a tracking company. from it. Disney didn’t abandon But a number of young cre- and business people who will
should not start with the the smallest we make.” predominantly seem to want to Hollywood faced a similar cri- making high-priced movies. ators — many of them working succeed in this new environment
“wholesale elimination” of pro- The bishops have done watch short video clips, and the sis in the 1950s, when a new But he also created content for outside of Hollywood’s orbit — are those who are paying atten-
grams that address the basic California a service with this in- economic models for earning a technology began showing up in television that had lower pro- have been feverishly experi- tion to the changing behaviors
survival needs of the poor and tervention. It’s good to be remind- decent return on internet con- American living rooms offering duction costs than his movies, menting with new ways to tell and tastes of this new digital au-
vulnerable. And second, budget ed that there’s nothing sentimen- tent are still hazy. hours of content — for free — and he used TV as a platform to stories and generate revenue. An dience — rather than trying to
and tax reform should be “ad- tal or unrealistic about being at- About 15 years after every night. Television seemed promote his theatrical releases office worker in Connecticut cre- ignore them or, worse, explain-
dressed now, not later.” tentive to the claims of conscience Americans started exploring like a serious competitive threat and his new theme park. ated the catty entertainment ing why they are wrong.
“A permanent fix needs to be and human solidarity — even the web, there’s still anxiety to most studio executives, who Others followed Disney’s lead, commentary show “What the
enacted so that everyone who when what’s at issue is a matter about the business potential of were accustomed to re-releasing and by the 1960s, Hollywood’s Buck” on YouTube, and suddenly
relies on state government, es- of dollars and cents. Given the so- digital entertainment and a re- their movies in theaters every studios were making more con- found he was making more from Scott Kirsner edits the blog
pecially the poor and vulnera- cial tenor of our collective lives luctance to explore new creative few years; they worried that tent for television than for the- the site’s “partner program,” CinemaTech and contributes
ble, won’t be in a constant state these days, that’s when it’s essen- possibilities. NBC Universal putting their pictures on TV atrical release. The TV pro- which offers creators a cut of ad regularly to the trade newspa-
of upheaval, worried they will tial to be reminded. Chief Executive Jeff Zucker is would gut that lucrative busi- gramming relied on different revenue, than he was at his desk per Variety. His latest book is
be cut off from the basic necessi- fond of expressing his fear that ness. Dore Schary, an MGM ex- stars, lower production values job, which he promptly quit. “Fans, Friends & Followers:
ties of food, shelter and medical the media conglomerate will ecutive, complained that televi- and a new business model Business models for content Building an Audience and a
care,” the bishops wrote. Tim Rutten is a Los Angeles have to swap the “analog dol- sion broadcasters “just can’t pay based on advertising and spon- on the internet are still evolving. Creative Career in the Digital
Now, if you’re the sort of per- Times columnist. — Ed. lars” it earns from broadcast enough” for the rights to show sorship. But it’s already becoming clear Age.” — Ed.