Epic Fail Of The Week: ‘Black Out Korea’

By Arturo R. García

Call this a more loathsome counterpart to Sleeping Chinese.com: There’s actually a blog dedicated to posting images of drunk, passed-out Koreans, and, frequently, the people who find them on the street.

In an interview with Matador Nights, the blog’s anonymous owner, an American man teaching English in South Korea, had a blunt response to concerns about his subjects’ privacy. (Note: that’s not him in the picture posted above)

Well, my initial response is a solid “F-ck You,” but that’s my reaction to just about everything.

In all seriousness, being a Westerner, I was sort of brought up with the idea that nothing in public is sacred, and that attitude is clearly reflected on the site. The pictures are taken in public, and while I’m not exactly a Korean law scholar, the site is hosted in the US, so I’m not really too sure that there’s much they could do anyway.

In regard to the infamous Marmite Blackout, most people don’t physically assault their blackout victims, but I thought that one was pretty harmless and hilarious to boot. It’s not like they cut off his fingers or stole a kidney, both of which they probably could have done quite easily given the state he was in.

I personally try to do my part by keeping the captions relatively respectful and stay away from overtly insulting the subjects of the photos. I mean, no need to kick a man while he’s down (literally).

Studies differ regarding South Korea’s social drinking culture: a 2004 World Health Organization report (here it is) in Wiki format – measuring per capita alcohol consumption placed the country at barely above the U.S. and far below countries like Luxembourg and Ireland. But a South Korean study from last year, published in Stroke: the Journal of the American Heart Association, classified 46 percent of South Korean male “agricultural” residents, and 9 percent of women, as heavy drinkers.

For his part, BOK defended the site as social commentary, while decrying the “racism and xenophobia” he’s faced since arriving in the country:

I would just urge people to take the site with a grain of salt. I feel as humans we all have our personal ideological wars we choose to get emotional about, but a sense of humor is one of the most important things I believe a person can have.

A lot of sociological problems in Korea really upset me, and as a teacher, the Korean blackout does affect me indirectly. Many of the students I teach very rarely get to see their fathers because they work so much and then go out drinking during the week, and many of the mothers (who are practically forced into “late minute” or obligatory weddings by society, rather than waiting for the right person) don’t get a lot of help raising the kids.

Almost any hagwon (private English school) teacher who teaches kindergarten or elementary will tell you that you basically became a parental figure for these kids. You spend a lot more time with them than their parents do, when you consider how many academies these poor kids are forced to attend.

I could write a sociological dissertation on the inherent problems that Koreans inflict upon themselves and what compounds them, but what would that do?

What do you think of this, Privilege Denying Dude?

  • Etchasketch64

    I just wanted to say I wanted to agree about what you said about when your with your girlfriend. Although I think most stares in Korea are innocent, when I’ve been told to stay away from “our women” by Korean men, that feels pretty directly racist! As well, I had a friend punched in the face for kissing his girlfriend goodbye. He wasn’t white, but he is western.