Hello, Everybody--nice seeing you again.
About a year ago (July 18, 2005) I wrote in Beware of the Blog about the great hero of my life, the Immortal Admiral Yi Soon-Shin, and the 100-episode Korean television series about him. Now a version of that TV show is available from DVD From Korea. I say a "version" because it's been edited down to 33 episodes in two boxed sets. I don't care—it's worth it, worth it, WORTH IT. It's worth the $90 for each box, and it's worth the $34 just to ship 'em over from Korea. I know, I don't have that kind of money either, but put 'em on your credit card-—it is WORTH IT. Supposedly the DVDs are all-region, and they are definitely English subtitled. If I could afford it, I would give these box sets to everyone I know for Christmas this year. But since I can't get them for you, I hope you will get them for yourself.
Lately I've been reading about another big hero of mine, Adriaen Van der Donck, the man who invented American democracy. I've been thinking about heroism, and how it's defined as much by circumstances as by character. If Japan hadn't attacked Korea in the 16th Century, Yi Soon-Shin would still have been born and lived and died, but he would not have been the immortal hero who was created by that war. Van der Donck, too, was shaped by the forces of history, and could just as well have been a fat and happy Calvinist preacher in Breda in the Netherlands. Any random person you see on the street today may have the heart of a hero, but just not the circumstances ever to demonstrate it.
One of the original members of ESG drives a New York City bus for a living: When you get on the bus, do you see a middle-aged Latina driver, or do you see the quintessential 20th-Century beat machine?
Thanks for reading my blog post this time, and may God bless.