Saturday 14 November 2009

Interview with Sang Hyun-joon, Korea's Top Fawner

Sang Hyun-joon comes across as a normal man, at first. He is of medium build, his haircut is a five dollar Blue Club special. His glasses make him seem like a man more comfortable in a library than a night club. But when he opens his mouth, something about him changes.

"In all the auspicious history of this great restaurant district, truly, we have not seen a bori-bap so succulent."

Yes, Sang Hyun-joon is Korea's top pangyrist -- he's the one who writes, either directly or through ghost-writing, the best and most orgasmic articles trumpeting the greatness of Korean culture, athletics, politics, finances, and whatever else is going well.

You've probably read his work. More than once.

"All the world stops to hear the announcement: it is true that more than ever before, I write under more than a dozen different pen names: I might be world's top writer in terms of different pen names. Number one!"

Sang has always had this gift. The first composition he wrote in elementary school described how his teacher would be the one to usher in a golden age for Korean education, and his sister charmingly complains that their mother never became a better cook, because Hyun-joon's breathless praise made her complacent, and she never improved.

Sang might be best known for his work praising sports stars, like Park Jisung, Kim Yuna, Park Seri, and Park Chanho, and he's particularly proud of a "Look out, MMA, Here comes Choi Hong-man" article he wrote after Choi's spectacular win against Jose Canseco. However, the writer claims he doesn't have any strong preference for what he likes to fawn over best.

"Finance, Korean companies, politicians, athletes, tycoons, scientists -- I'll write about'em all. Ditto for culture and natural features -- pansoori, K-pop, dramas and movies, film directors, mountains, wetlands, minefields, massacre sites, four seasons, spicy food -- I've done it all, and I'll do it all again. That is the greatness of Korean everything. I really never tire of thinking about my country and culture, and how awesome it is. Sometimes it makes me want to explode."

When asked to let us in on the secrets of the trade, he said, "Study superlatives, and bring in Japan or America anytime Korea compares favorably to them. Also, never give an individual credit if you can instead attribute their success to some national characteristic -- Hwang Woo-suk's success was due to Korean skill with chopsticks; Korean women golf well because of their relationships with their fathers (notice how I managed to give credit to Korean men after all there?) Kim Yuna succeeded because of her Korean Mother's love, and Park Tae-hwan has more jung."

With this amazing skill for making things sound like the greatest in the world, one must wonder whether Sang never tried to sell his skill to other countries. "I'm sure my skill would be one of the world's most desirable talents, truly a singular feature among world talents. "A few countries and non-Korean companies have tried to hire me... but I had to cancel the contracts. I just couldn't write anything, and the most positive adjective I could think of was 'crummy'"

Yes, once again, the world will have to stand at the outside looking in, as the world's greatest hype-writer, much like the world's greatest swimmer*, the world's greatest female figure skater, the world's greatest slow-moving MMA fighter, the world's greatest despot, the world's greatest cellphone producer, the world's greatest awkwardly large boy-band, the world's greatest ultra-violent filmmaker, and the world's greatest internet e-mail army, all belong to Korea.

*other than Michael Phelps

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