The March of Fools: a College Comedy Darkened by Dictatorship

By Colin Marshall

This is one in a series of essays on important pieces of Korean cinema freely available on the Korean Film Archive’s Youtube channel. You can watch this month’s movie here and find links to previously featured movies below.

Mixers, sports matches, drinking contests, brushes with the law, anxiety about the future — Western audiences have come to expect all these elements from college comedies over the past half-century, and they’ll recognize them all in The March of Fools (바보들의 행진), a movie that belongs to essentially the same tradition. But it renders its college-comedy tropes a few shades darker to better reflect the reality of mid-1970s South Korea, a time and place caught between the demands of a very old social culture and the equally rigorous ones of the relatively new dictatorship intent on developing the country’s economy and keeping its people in line. Its hapless freshmen protagonists may get into as much trouble as the denizens of Delta House, but those guys never had to look into quite so deep an abyss. Continue reading

April Horoscopes

By Ichrak Dahou

April is a month of mixed progress. While new beginnings, proper to the Spring season, arrive with enthusiasm and spirit, the retrograde movement of key planets this month will delay robust and firm establishment. Therefore, be sure to give your situations additional thought, care, and consideration. This is more an extended season of seeding than getting brand new ventures off the ground. Continue reading

Standing with Standing Rock: Chiefs, Veterans, and Reconciliation

By Brendan Clarke

The following article is the fourth in a five-part series about the movement at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The mobilization, of people and resources, which was spurred on by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, began an unprecedented convergence of hundreds of Indigenous Tribes, and thousands upon thousands of people. The series, which was originally written as a single piece, offers the reflections of Brendan Clarke, who traveled to Standing Rock from November 19th through December 9th to join in the protection of water, sacred sites, and Indigenous sovereignty. As part of this journey, which was supported by and taken on behalf of many members of his community, Brendan served in many different roles at the camps, ranging from direct action to cleaning dishes and constructing insulated floors. He, along with the small group he traveled with, also created a long-term response fund, which they are currently stewarding. These stories are part of his give-away, his lessons learned, and his gratitude, for his time on the ground. Continue reading

Battle Fatigue: Why It’s Your Civic Duty to Get Some Rest in Trump’s America

By Amy Newlove Schroeder

We all know that life has changed since Election Day — and those changes have not solely occurred on the national stage. Trump’s election has affected the way many of us face our daily lives, causing deep and granular alterations in behavior. Instead of greeting the day with a steaming cup of joe and a casual perusal of my Facebook news feed, I now start the morning by immediately turning on CNN and pulling up the New York Times on my phone .I only read the articles about Trump, because every other piece of news seems like small potatoes. I used to get most of my news from NPR: now I subscribe to three newspapers. I used to channel surf when I got home from work. Now I go straight to MSNBC. There has been so much news, and all of it is bad: false claims of Obama wire taps; Jeff Sessions; the travel ban; Australia; Mexico; Ivanka Trump’s pumps; Russia, Russia, and more Russia. If you’re anything like me, you can’t look away. Continue reading

Best of March

Dearest supporters, readers, and friends:

Wondering what you missed this month? Besides a zillion completely wrong March Madness brackets, a winter storm nobody could stop talking about, and three steps backward for Obama’s climate change policies, there was also a heck of a lot of rigorous writing on literature, culture, and the arts. We present to you the Best of March; at least, according to us, your friends at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Continue reading

Glendale’s Comfort Women Memorial “Controversy” a Symbol of Passive Liberalism

By Steph Cha

Japan — as in the country — has beef with the city of Glendale.

During World War II, the Japanese government forced about 200,000* women and girls into sex slavery to service its Imperial Army, almost all of them taken from Japan’s occupied territories, including, but by no means limited to, Korea. In 2013, Glendale erected a memorial to these comfort women in its Central Park, a bronze statue of a Korean girl sitting next to an empty chair. Continue reading

Awakening, Returning, and Looking Forward: An Interview with Ian Johnson

By Ting Guo

It is March in Beijing. Many local friends tell me that it is the loveliest month here, as one can see, smell, and feel the change of seasons coming after a long smoggy winter: The day is warm and the golden sunlight streams brilliantly on a blue sky — so blue that it seems as if it had been washed by the Dragon King, the deity for water and weather in Chinese folk beliefs. Plum and apricot blossoms and willows glow with life. Indeed, the divide between all the four seasons is more distinct here in the north than in Jiangnan, the southern region by the Yangtze River where I grew up, echoing loudly the 24 solar terms. After the Rain Water (yushui 雨水) reaches Equinox, then it arrives Clear and Bright (qingming 清明), the day when people sweep the graves of their ancestors. Ancient solar terms such as these figure centrally in Ian Johnson’s new book, Souls of China, which includes sections named for them, one of the first things that intrigued me about his approach to the topic of the revival of religion in the PRC. Continue reading

Acquiring Targets

By Evan La Rue

This spring marks the 50th anniversary of a massive U.S. air campaign against the Viet Cong who were sequestered in the jungles and fighting a guerilla war against a technologically superior foe. This chapter in military history and its bitter lesson cries out to be remembered in this era of anxiety over a destabilized Syria and a potential alliance with Russia to fight ISIS from the skies. Continue reading

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