My Intellectual Hero


OK, Ok, ok, it’s been AGES since I posted anything besides Toastmasters speeches.  I promise, I’ll explain what I’ve been up to these past 3 months and get back into the swing of writing.  I kinda have to, since Twinkies and Eggs just scored a huge coup of free publicity – which is today’s big news.

For the last 10 years now I’ve been a regular reader of Andrew Sullivan, one the most fascinating intellectuals alive.  He’s an Irish-descent, British-born, American-naturalized, gay, Catholic, pot-smoking, small-c-conservative writer.  I suppose it’s technically possible for one human to internalize more contradictions – say if he were also black, female, and in the military – but damn.  My personal conceit is to draw parallels with my being a Korean-descent, American-born, British-naturalized, engineering-trained blogger/public speaker.

I don’t read him because I agree with all of his stances – at times I find him quite difficult to read – but because I agree with the way he thinks.  He openly struggles with difficult questions without rushing to judgment, cleanly separates his axiomatic beliefs (which are open to disagreement but not to attack) from his logical reasoning of inferences, accepts and publishes emails from his audience with contrary points of view (although he doesn’t allow comments on the site), and has publicly changed his mind on issues where subsequent data contradicted his initial forecasts.

As for me, back in 2009 during the Obamacare debate, he posted one of my emails and it just about made my month.  Or it would have if I hadn’t been spending that entire month on vacation in India.

But today tops that.  Last week he posted about an debate within academia comparing the culture of casual sex among the Millenial generation currently in college vs. GenX prior.

To which I emailed back:

Both sides of the dialogue on “hookup culture” start from the assumption that hooking up is inherently wrong. As a US-born, UK-naturalized ethnic Korean who moved to the motherland five months ago to get in touch with my “roots,” I challenge that assumption. Korea lacks a normalized hookup culture, and its societal views on sex can only be described as pathological.

Between Confucianism and Christianity, there is no education in school or open discussion on sex, so the population is astonishingly ignorant of safe sex and contraception.  Even with the 15th largest economy and a fertility rate of 1.24, the overseas adoption rate is the highest in the world. Upon marriage, most women quit work and reduce sex, stopping entirely after childbirth. Husbands sleep in a separate room from their wives, who sleep with the baby.

Not surprisingly, the sex industry is rampant: an estimated 20% of men in their 20s visit a prostitute weekly.

There’s more to my email, which Sullivan’s blog reprinted in full.

Best of all, his post included a link back to my own blog – so time to get back into the swing of writing.  SCORE!

NOTE: Andrew just left for his 2 week holiday, which means

  1. my email wasn’t actually read or approved by Andrew himself
  2. the editor Chris who posted it is probably taking in a greater proportion of user-provided content than normal

I’m still well chuffed about the posting, just wanted to provide full disclosure.

Besides, maybe this means they’ll also publish my email about the Burka Avenger.

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One Response to My Intellectual Hero

  1. susan chung says:

    I am so glad that you are back with your blogging , making me feel that you are just standing next to me.I am not surprised that your hero, ” Andrew” took the serious notice of you since your writing skill is excellent! You have a very quick grasp of the situations where ever you are which, I hope, will not make you feel too negativistic.

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