Thursday, December 03, 2009

Of superheros and economic pundits

The Wired article actually depict Park in a sort of comic book-esque way
I found this article on Wired Magazine's site really interesting. The Troubles of Korea’s Influential Economic Pundit by Mattathias Schwartz is about a sort of nobody Korean guy, Park Dae-Sung, who took to writing anonymously about South Korea's economy and the recession and all that. His alias, Minerva, became super popular to the point where he was actually having an impact on the economy because people would invest or pull out based on his predictions. In the end he was found out and was tried in court. Now he's a nobody again.

It's a great article and I suggest reading it but what intrigued me wasn't so much the conspiracy or government involvement (Disclaimer: the Korea Government just started following Rory and I on Twitter @koreangov ;). What interested me was the concept of alter-egos.

Maybe it is my fascination with superheroes but when I read the story, I couldn't help but think of Clark Kent. A geeky farm boy disguise for an alien super dude who took to saving humanity. People loved Superman but no one really cared or knew about Clark Kent.  I guess Park was the opposite. He was a nobody who's alter ego was a celebrity. But really, how can people put so much trust in the anonymous predictions of someone who wasn't willing to show their face? Would something like that be possible in Canada I wonder...?

Spiderman on the other hand has always had what I believe is a more truthful depiction of an identity crisis in that the public is split between his heroic deeds and his need for secrecy. There is a lack of understanding and a lack of public trust about whether he truly has good intentions or that he is even qualified to save people. Police see him as a vigilante. JJJ thinks he's a menace. So then why were Koreans so easily trusting of someone who was hiding behind their monitor?

Peter couldn't always handle his superhero side
I think it is an interesting insight into Koreans and maybe even humans. What's your take?

*For more information on Korea, feel free to check out a blog I put together with my fiancee for our wedding in Korea. There is some interesting information on Korea there.
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