July 9, 2020

"The mayor of Seoul, the country’s second-most powerful official and a potential presidential candidate, was found dead just days after a secretary in his office told the police that he had sexually harassed her since 2017..."

"... the authorities said on Friday.... His daughter told the police that he had left home after leaving a cryptic, 'will-like message'.... That detail immediately fueled speculation that Mr. Park could have taken his own life.... Mr. Park... had often been cited as a possible successor to President Moon Jae-in, whose single five-year term is set to expire in 2022.... Before becoming mayor, Mr. Park was a prominent human rights attorney who founded the country’s most influential civil rights group. As a lawyer, he won several major cases, including South Korea’s first sexual harassment case. He also campaigned for the rights of so-called comfort women, Korean sex slaves who were lured or forced to work in brothels for the Japanese Army during World War II. During the military dictatorship of the 1980s, Mr. Park helped win the conviction of a police officer who molested a female student activist during an interrogation. In the 1990s, he helped win damages for a teaching assistant at Seoul National University who accused her professor of refusing to rehire her after she protested unwanted sexual advances. It was the first sexual harassment case in South Korean history.... President Moon has supported the #MeToo movement, but accusations against prominent allies have been particularly disturbing for his governing liberal camp."

The NYT reports.

The highest-rated comment over there is: "This is very sad of course. But it also shows how different the mentality and the sense of guilt and personal responsibility is from the American alpha male (no names needed)."

I reject the idea that committing suicide is "taking responsibility."

56 comments:

clint said...

It's surprising to see the New York Times being so critical of President Clinton and Vice President Biden.

Mike Sylwester said...

Courageous survivor Tara Reade tells Megyn Kelly about how she was sexually assaulted by Joe Biden

JaimeRoberto said...

Hillary Clinton was his secretary? The timing lines up.

Balfegor said...

In Korea, I think some politicians commit suicide for their reputations -- essentially, just so their families and allies can preserve plausible deniability about their corruption. Former President Noh Moohyun, for example, committed suicide just before it looked like he was going to be implicated in a corruption scandal. On the other hand, when national assembly member Noh Hoechan committed suicide after it looked like he was going to be implicated in the scandal over rigging online comments to support the current President, his suicide note said it was all his fault.

Korea does not have a tradition of honourable suicide the way Japan has. On the other hand, Korea has a significantly higher suicide rate than Japan. A lot of suicides are prominent and apparently successful people. In many cases, I think there's such immense pressure to maintain their image, that when they see that image might take a hit, they kill themselves rather than live through the humiliation. I haven't studied this in detail, but my casual impression is that among politicians, this is more common among the Left (the mayor and both Noh's are all leftist) because they make such a huge pretense of opposing supposed right wing corruption and then of course they do the exact same stuff and worse. But I am not really a neutral observer when it comes to Korean politics.

madAsHell said...

who founded the country’s most influential civil rights group

Civil rights?? Have you ever been to Korea?.....and then I see that it is woman's rights.

DavidUW said...

Bill Clinton didn’t kill himself!

madAsHell said...

Some ambiguity....yes, I'm not clicking on the pay wall......The highest rated comment talks about the accountability of Americans vs. Koreans. I'm thinking the commenter considers Korean suicide preferable to American denial, obfuscation.

Amirite???.....cuz....Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself.

Joe Smith said...

"This is very sad of course. But it also shows how different the mentality and the sense of guilt and personal responsibility is from the American alpha male (Bill Clinton)."

Did I guess right?

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

In the future, only gay men and eunuchs will be allowed positions of authority. They are the only people guaranteed not to sexually harass or assault women, or nearly guaranteed. Even women aren't pure enough, especially lesbians.

Balfegor said...

Also, just for context, there have been a lot of high profile sexual assault scandals in Korea over the past few years. E.g. former Chungnam governor Ahn Heejung (another prominent left liberal bruited about as presidential timber) was accused by his secretary of raping her repeatedly, and was convicted of sexual assault last year. A bunch of K-pop stars were convicted last year of a series of gang-rapes as well.

gspencer said...

"after leaving a cryptic, 'will-like message'"

"There's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all." Then he hung up. We're still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir."

There's nothing to figure out General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.

Well, I'd like to hold off judgment on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.

readering said...

"sense of responsibilty" and "taking responsibilty" not quite the same thing.

stevew said...

Agree. Taking responsibility would be facing your victim, admitting your guilt, apologizing, and accepting punishment. Suicide in cases like this is the coward's way out.

Bilwick said...

Have the Clintons been in Korea lately? Just wondering.

Freeman Hunt said...

Suicide seems like the ultimate in not taking responsibility.

Josephbleau said...

"The highest-rated comment over there is: "This is very sad of course. But it also shows how different the mentality and the sense of guilt and personal responsibility is from the American alpha male (no names needed)."

I agree, Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Chris Todd didn't give a shit about responsibility. As for Trump, I think that Tara Reade's Biden claim is more corroborated than anything claimed for Trump, at least there were contemporaneous accounts. A personality who says that if you are famous girls let you grab them by the pussy is only being honest, consensual sex is not a problem to Democrats, except for college students.

Michael K said...

All those alpha males that landed at Omaha Beach on D Day could not be reached for comment.

mandrewa said...

Three issues:

1) What is meant by "sexual harassment"?
The meaning of this phrase is so vague that it could easily be what many of us would see as a mild offense.

2) I suspect this guy thought the women liked him.

3) Was the women's accusation based on a recent event or something that happened months or years before?

And the issue I'm trying to get at with the last question is the issue of the accuracy of our memory. If she were reacting to something that just happened, well that doesn't mean that her response is necessarily correct, but it has a better chance of being so, since it hasn't been altered by time. I am cynical about the accuracy of human memory. I think a lot of people are not good at remembering the past and especially about remembering the context in which it occurred, and especially when we are talking about sexuality.

n.n said...

the sense of guilt and personal responsibility is from the American alpha male (no names needed)."

They still hope to indulge liberal license to diversity, prosecute warlock judgments, and establish rape-rape culture to social justify their special and peculiar and wicked interests.

mikee said...

He took all the shame of his actoins upon himself with his suicide and saved his family from having all the ignominy and public loss of influence continue, were he still around. Honor cultures, with family and tribe and locale so very important, handle things differently than we do.

Ice Nine said...

At least he saved face. That's the important thing.

Birkel said...

His indulgences did not buy salvation.

mockturtle said...

I reject the idea that committing suicide is "taking responsibility."

But in some cultures it is.

chickelit said...

The highest-rated comment over there is: "This is very sad of course. But it also shows how different the mentality and the sense of guilt and personal responsibility is from the American alpha male (no names needed)."

How do we know that guilt was involved? It could been shame or "loss of face."

rehajm said...

no names needed

Yah they are! I'll start- Joe Biden, Bill Clinton...

Achilles said...

"This is very sad of course. But it also shows how different the mentality and the sense of guilt and personal responsibility is from the American alpha male (no names needed)."

Yeah.

Buying more ammo.

I'm Not Sure said...

The NYT reports? I don't have an account- did they explain how Trump is responsible, and needs to be impeached?

rhhardin said...

The comfort woman rights thing was a scandal, showing that Korea may not be modern enough to deal with as a trading partner.

They had a deal with Japan in the 60s that all claims here hereby settled, and then Korea reopened the case decades later for domestic political advantage. Japan, as far as I know, stuck with the Western idea that an agreement is an agreement, and the matter has been a thorn in their relations ever since.

No honor in Korea.

RNB said...

"(No names needed)"? Names like Al Franken? Mark Halperin? Charlie Rose? Harvey Weinstein? Bill Clinton? Matt Lauer? Garrison Keillor?

Iman said...

I reject the idea that committing suicide is "taking responsibility."

If it is, the NYT has been doing it in slow motion, the rotters.

Joe Smith said...

@rhhardin

Needless to say, the Koreans and Japanese don't get along. And that is an understatement.

Hunter said...

I reject the idea that committing suicide is "taking responsibility."

It's doing to oneself what a great deal of the #MeToo camp would like to do to every man who's accused, although they only admit it sometimes.

MD Greene said...

If only the New York Times news team, or its commentariat, had access to someone like Balfegor who could speak knowledgeably about customs in other countries, or other American states, or even minor neighborhoods like Staten Island.

OTOH, once you're in the UWS-Brooklyn echo chamber, you already know everything. You need only to fit facts into the "narratives" you learned in college and to educate the proles.

We cannot thank these noble people enough for helping us to think as they do.

wholelottasplainin' said...

"I reject the idea that committing suicide is "taking responsibility."

Then you are unaware that in traditional Japanese and Korean culture people often attempt to offer an apology for their misdeeds by killing themselves.

An old taunt in Japanese goes like this: "Shinde wabite hoh ga yoi."

"You ought to atone by dying" ---a suggestion that someone who has done something very wrong should commit seppuku.

wholelottasplainin' said...

chickelit said...
The highest-rated comment over there is: "This is very sad of course. But it also shows how different the mentality and the sense of guilt and personal responsibility is from the American alpha male (no names needed)."

How do we know that guilt was involved? It could been shame or "loss of face."
*************

Can you cite any cases where shame or "loss of face" is not accompanied by a sense of guilt?

n.n said...

His Choice (i.e. self-abortion) is taking responsibility in a progressive faction.

n.n said...

"I reject the idea that committing suicide is "taking responsibility."

But in some cultures it is.


In fact, in our culture, aborting a life is considered forward-looking, em-pathetic, progressive, evolutionary (in some positive sense), a precedent for social progress and justice. Oh, well, at least it's his life, his choice, a slight improvement over the model of religion established in modern cultures.

Balfegor said...

Re: rhhardin:

I'm of a couple different minds re the Japan-Korea disputes. On the one hand, I think many Koreans resent the deal Park Chunghee struck in the 1960s for a number of reasons, one being that Korea was literally one of the poorest countries in the world at the time, so the assistance provided by Japan was, in retrospect, a pittance. Another being that Park had attended the Imperial Army Academy near Tokyo and did his training as a cadet with the Kwantung Army before he was commissioned as an officer in the Manchurian Imperial Army. He remained pretty pro-Japan even after the war, looked up his old classmates and comrades-in-arms in Japan when he was there on state visits, etc. And yet another being that the money, e.g. for people who were conscripted after conscription was expanded to Korea in 1944 or who were forced to work in factories in Japan, never actually got to the people but was used to finance industrial development and government projects instead (I think).

On the other hand, I think -- though I haven't been able to find authoritative figures -- that ethnically Korean veterans and war dead were paid less than ethnic Japanese. The figures I've seen suggest Koreans were paid more than Taiwanese, so different races were compensated differently (I think this became a political issue in Taiwan back after the very last Imperial soldier to surrender, a Taiwanese, was repatriated and sought his back pay). It's possible the Korean figures are just higher than the Taiwanese figures because there were more Korean officers and officers got paid more -- not sure. Anyhow, officers or conscripts, there were hundreds of thousands of Koreans who fought for the Empire of Japan after the war was already basically lost, and as a moral matter I think they ought to have received comparable pay, even though the Japan-Korea treaty probably extinguished Japan's legal obligation to pay.

Balfegor said...

Re: mandrewa:

I haven't seen details in any articles yet, but it was recent (~last three years), involved multiple victims, not just the woman who filed the police complaint and was interviewed into the wee hours of the morning, and the woman's allegations were apparently supported by instant messages.

mockturtle said...

Crazy Jane @7:54, Nail on the head! Thank you.

Balfegor said...

Re: wholelottasplainin:

That's true of Japanese culture -- not so much of Korean culture. There's a tradition in Korea of honourably remonstrating with the King and getting executed for it (e.g. the six martyred ministers). Off the top of my head, I can't recall any instances where notable Korean historical figures committed suicide after defeat or failure. In contrast, there's a lot of instances of Japanese historical figures committing suicide, even before the modern period, e.g. Oda Nobunaga committing suicide when he was betrayed and encircled at Honnouji Temple, Minamoto no Yoshitsune committing suicide after he was betrayed and his retainers all killed, etc.

And even there, I think the idea of committing suicide to atone for a failure (as opposed to simply avoiding getting killed after a defeat) is more recent -- the earliest incident I can think of is General Nogi Maresuke, who originally wanted to commit suicide to atone for the immense loss of life during the successful Siege of Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese War, but was ordered not to by the Meiji Emperor. He committed suicide after the Emperor died. Another comparatively recent example that comes to mind is the aide to one of the Korean royal princes who was serving in the Japanese Army. The prince died of injuries sustained in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. After the prince died, his aide apparently went outside and committed suicide to atone for failing to protect him from an atom bomb.

There are a lot of similarities between Japanese and Korean culture, to be sure, but they remain quite different. I think the stronger, more orthodox Confucian influence in Korea has tended to work against suicide, since suicide is generally inconsistent with filial piety and the duty to preserve one's body as a precious gift from one's parents. Suicidal self-sacrifice is not as inconsistent with Confucianism, I think, but that's a little different.

A little more on topic, the rumours in Seoul are that it may have been murder not suicide, although I have difficulty imagining the motive for murdering the mayor.

Nichevo said...

Joe Smith said...
@rhhardin

Needless to say, the Koreans and Japanese don't get along. And that is an understatement.


In the modern day I am being led to that understanding, but historically I had thought they were quite close.

ken in tx said...

Korea does have a civil rights problem, but I doubt if this guy was involved with it. South Korea has an ethnic Chinese minority that is totally marginalized. I had a conversation with one of them at the train station in Taegu. He showed me his non-citizen resident card. His family had lived in Korea for over 200 yrs. But, they were not allowed to vote or live outside their assigned area. Their children were not allowed to go to Korean public schools. They could not hold any business or professional license and could buy and sell only among their own people.
I asked a Korean friend about the and he said, "They are enemy. They don't belong here."

mockturtle said...

I only learned a few years ago that Korea has an older culture than that of Japan.

Ken B said...

‘ I reject the idea that committing suicide is "taking responsibility."’

I reject the idea Joe Biden is an alpha male.

When *are* we going to see the Tara Reade complaint?

Yancey Ward said...

I can imagine the highest rated commenter was too stupid to realize what would be done with his/her comment.

chickelit said...

Dear wholelotta: Parsing the difference between shame and guilt is not obvious. I suggest you start here.

You're welcome.

Unknown said...

Not enough symbolism!!!!

An appropriate SJW death sentence for Mr Park

Shoot him up with heroin substitute and meth
make him lay down on the sidewalk

Have a black man put a knee on his neck

Then put up a statue

Janetchick said...


My daughter who lives in Seoul said that by killing himself the woman accusing him, as well as the supposed others who were going to come forward, are no long able to air their grievances in public. To do so would now be considered defamation of the family. So she viewed it as he escaped responsibility.

Michael said...

Jeffrey Epstien did not take responsibility for himself.

MayBee said...

Balfegor - thanks for all of your insights.

MayBee said...

I think the term "alpha male" in the comment is very interesting. Are they talking about all alpha males in the US? Or Trump, the alpha male (?) of the US? Or does this commenter think Americans are alpha males where in Korea they are not alpha?

daskol said...

Well, the commenter has a point: I can't recall any of the ostentatiously pro-woman leftists revealed to be sexual abusers in the US committing suicide. Hugo Schwyzer did retire from blogging and public life, but otherwise they try to brazen it out. But this is yet another example of a man publicly and ostentatiously dedicated to women's rights who, it appears, treated individual women, at least some, badly. His kindness towards their community did not extend towards all the individuals--there's that damn individualism again, popping up and messing with our communitarian ideals.

ken in tx said...

My father was a sailor in WW II on an LST. After Japan surrendered, his ship was tasked to return Korean slaves from Japan back to Korea. There were thousands of them. They were used in industry because Japan had drafted most of their own men. They never thought of using women.

mockturtle said...

They never thought of using women.

Well, they did, of course, but for other things...

ken in tx said...

Right!