That’s a word I think I made up myself, in Korean. At least, I’ve never heard anyone else say it, though Lime told me it sounds like the mopey protestation of a five-year-old. 븨~!
This word is occasioned because my Sado Seja story did not make it into the Datlow/Mamatas anthology Haunted Legends. I’m sure competition was fierce, though, and they’re good editors. If only Nick had had the time to savage the story, I’d have learned a lot, I imagine. (But who has time?)
Anyway, I’m going to do what I often don’t do… send the story out immediately. I think it’s a good piece, I think it’s ready for publication, it just needs to land upon the right desk. So out it goes in the mail tomorrow. (Along with another long-deferred postal obligation.)
I’m thinking of revising my nasty Xmas story, “Solvjaynghi’s Christmas Wish,” a little bit — I think there are some elements that are hollowed-out in it that don’t need to be, and a little tinkering would render the factories more vivid.
By the way, I learned a few things about the history of the Korean legal systems system today. Did you know that back in the Buyeo Kingdom, the standard penalty for wives who were found guilty of adultery, or of “jealousy” (!!!) with regard to their husbands, was death? (Apparently their remains were strewn about the mountains; that, or they were abandoned in the mountains to die; the text wasn’t explicit on this.) That’s a pretty amazing double standard, but people took it for granted in many places — not just here, but in similar form in many societies — for a long, long time. Which is a reminder that no matter what you think, no matter what remains to be done, many societies — including Korean society — have come a hell of a long way towards sanity in the last few thousand years.
Are there people still trying to stay in that world, and keep their kids trapped in that world? Yes, there are. They’re a minority, but they exist, and they’re increasingly embattled by the coolness and fun of living in a modern, open society. Failure’s in the air for people like that — it’ll take centuries, maybe a few millennia, but they won’t win. They can’t.
How can you win in an argument between, “Let’s live in the Bronze Age!” and “I wanna live the way I wanna live!” You simply can’t, especially when kids in a technological world have more doors open to them. Control-freak states will block the internet; people will find a way hack around it, like they did in Burma till the whole telecom system got shut down (temporarily). Control-freak states will ban DVDs (as in quasi-theocratic North Korea, where a dead man serves as quasi-religious sock-puppet to his son rules as Witch-King President); people will hide the DVD players under the floorboards. Every generation will be successively a little more hungry for whatever else is on offer on planet Earth, and the rest of the Earth will be just a little more eager to share the cheap, wacky fun.
And yeah, big businesses will do their best to commercialize it, and yeah, there’ll be inane beauty pageants and sex-based advertising and reality TV (or whatever lame crap people think up next) and all the rest, and yeah, there’s bound to be a lot of monkeybrain stupidity in the mix. And maybe the thing won’t be sustainable over a long, long time. (Entertainment like we have today requires energy resources like we may not still have in some non-immediate tomorrow.) And our instinctual dependency on whichever local primate has ascended to the top of the local hierarchy leaders probably won’t disappear. We’ll still want leaders, in the general sense of “we.” We just will laugh when they try to micromanage our world, or do more than set up trash collection schedules and talk nicely or nastily to the other local primate at the top of other local hierarchies nations’ leaders.
I think that the idea that people can choose things for themselves, that their tastes can vary as individuals and they have the right to choose what you or I wouldn’t, is so simple and seductive, so infectious, so natural to those same crazed monkeybrains of ours that eventually, I believe, it simply has to displace everything else. Mostly because it’s like a virus set loose from its Pandora Box-like petrie dish, and the people who are against all of that are seriously lacking in the creative imagination it would take to truly extinct the idea of freedom.
I don’t think I’m being naive, though maybe it seems I’m being optimistic. Are there people or groups who hate this freedom? Well, yes — they hate it for others, that is, usually not for themselves. (The tiny, mentally-ill fringe minority who hate it for themselves alike are the scariest people in the world, aside from psychopaths.) But you know in Buyeo, someone who dressed and behaved like Lee Hyori would have been fed to the tigers in the mountains (or maybe made a concubine to some powerful rich old guy):
Nowadays, not only is her society throwing money at her by the fistful — there’s nobody who seriously thinks she doesn’t have the right to do what she’s doing and become wealthy in the process. Nobody seriously thinks that this particular cat could ever go back into the bag.
Well, nobody in the (relatively) free world. (I’m not American, mind, I don’t mean that as in “the free world,” I mean it as those parts of the world where this wondrous infection is most concentrated.) It’s lonely, outside of this wonderful world we live in, isn’t it?