[Note, those who found Oranckay's new banner to be a bit mean might just want to skip this post. I've been holding this in for about a month and now that I finally have time to excrete it, I can't say it smells none to pretty.]
Korea is always hungry for world attention (something both North and South Korea have in common) and thanks to Professor Hwang, they got it in spades. Jeff has perhaps the best summary of the whole scandal (I'll have to put myself on the Korean Gaywatch for this comment, but Jeff, that's one damn fine voice you've got there, big guy. If Sillysally wasn't obsessed with you enough before, I'm sure your audio-blogs will put her over the edge).
What I find most interesting about the whole scandal is just how deliciously slimey Hwang has been to the bitter end (I won't give away the final act, but the scene takes place at the Han River). At every turn Hwang has looked the Korean people right in the eyes and lied his ass off. Even now he still rants about being the victim of a "long planned conspiracy."
"I definitely have the source technology to produce tailored embryonic
stem cells," Hwang was quoted as saying in Beopbo. "I can replicate the
process any time."
He repeated his claim that the laboratory samples found to have
been falsified must have been switched and that a state prosecutor's
investigation into the claims of a sample swap would reveal the truth
"within a couple of days."
Ah yes. He can "replicate the process anytime" but doesn't because..., uh... Hmm.
Let me get back to you on that one.
I think our dear Hwang has gotten so used to lying he's become delusional, but who knows? Maybe he has been the victim of a great conspiracy. Sure, that's it. Somebody switched the real samples for the simple and obvious reason that...uh...well, um..
Ok, I've got it now! You see, clearly by switching the samples someone could...uh...well...
Damn, stumped again. The world of science is indeed quite perplexin', ain't it?
Here's a picture of the good doctor Hwang doing his best scheming Montgomery Burn's impression as he thinks up other fraudulent claims he can make to keep the money ($40 million to date and worth every penny!) pouring in from the Korean government.
About 50% of Koreans want to give Hwang another try, and I say why the hell the not? It's been damn good entertainment and it saddens me to think it might end so soon. Be sure to check out the comments after the article.
Here are my favorite highlights of the Hwang drama.
The lies started when he claimed he didn't know that members from his own research team 'volunteered' their own eggs. He kept this lie up for about a year until he finally had to confess it. Even then, though, he claimed that he found out after the fact when the two female researchers told him about it. Yeah. Sure.
Here's Hwang playing the 'victim card' like a pro. Back when MBC was first questioning his work, our poor little guy got sick from the stress and was unable to continue his work. Now, some may say he really was sick because he knew the gig was up, but I don't think so. If that had been the case, no cameras would have been let into the room to dramatize the scene. It was as staged as they come in a desperate bid to win sympathy and rage from the Korean public to shut down the meddling kids at MBC. And it almost worked if only those around him were as devoid of conscience as he seems to be.
Yup, lots of stuff posted by Netizens that is coming back to haunt them hard now. Here's a particular goodie portraying PD Notebook producer as the devil persecuting the poor Professor Hwang who only wanted to cure the sick and make the paralyzed walk again.
Uh, yeah, thanks a lot there Jesus. I've got you right after Christian Scientists and Benny Hinn on my list of people to see if I ever have a spinal cord injury.
Of course, Big Nose Schatten is in the background running off now that he has stolen Hwang's core technology. F*cking USA!
Cheer up Professor Hwang!
The Adventures of Doctor Hwang and the Fantastic Hub of Super Fun-time Power Cutey Kids!
Wonder Chopstick Powers Activate!
Why not? It's all just fantasy anyway!
Playing the nationalism card.
Here's a picture from an article on how Korea's superior chopstick skills led to Hwang's great 'breakthroughs.' That Hwang not only lied about the research, but then had the balls to attribute their fake findings to the great Korean work ethic and chopstick heritage is just icing on the Hwang Shitcake. Given just a little more time, I'm sure Hwang could have found a way to link kimchi to their great success as well (but don't get me started on all the bullshit research on that topic...)
Hwang's nationalistic babble and Korea's intense need to feel good about itself led to a host of books about Hwang, particularly aimed at children. Here's one of the better titles (see Occidentalism for more, including the infamous "Hey Children, Let's Learn from the Success of Doctor Hwang!"). Note how America is placed in the background with Hwang symbolically leading people away to the East. Tangun only knows how many hours of racial-superiority propaganda Korean teachers got out of this before Hwang fell on his pompous ass.
This is perhaps the saddest picture of the lot (though a picture of a weeping Korean child dumping the above book in a trash can would probably beat it).
Wait, I take that back. These are far worse.
Handicapped people visiting the World Hub of Stem Cell research.
Here's Hwang and Korean singer Kang Won-rae who was paralyzed in a motorcylce accident several years ago (ironically from a music group called 'Clone').
From an article on Kang and Hwang (hey, that rhymes!).
Hwang publicly said last year he was moved by a letter Kang had written
asking for help so he could walk again, and has said his research
results would help patients like Kang. "That Hwang's research gave
patients like us even a fraction of hope is a great joy,” Kang said. “I
hope the research goes without snags."
Ain't Hwang grand? He knew his research was bogus, but still had the
nerve to meet and ham it up with paralyzed patients who looked to him
for hope. Quite a piece of work this guy, eh? I guess once you've stooped this low, doing something like bribing your subordinates to keep quiet isn't such a stretch. (a good question for our esteemed doctor: If you really did conduct the research successfully and you are a victim of a conspiracy, exactly why is it that you gave that kind of money to keep people quiet?)
To truly appreciate what Hwang has done, we need to step back and imagine all the time and energy that went into this scam. This is not your run of the mill bad study that fudges with the statistics a bit to get the desired results. This was a long-planned fraud that required countless hours of writing up imaginary results and getting who knows how many people to play along. I imagine this whole mess started at a meeting a year or two ago that went something like this:
Hwang: So people, we've blown 40 million US bucks on this research and we don't have much to show for it. What are we going to do?
Researcher Kim: (jokingly), Well, we could just fake some research to keep the money coming in and hope that things work out later.
[the researchers then have a good chuckle, followed by period of meaningful, thoughtful silence, then furtive glances at the faces of their colleagues. Hwang then thanks the staff for the very 'productive' brainstorming session, and begins his trip to the dark side...]
I wonder what will happen to the dog if it turns out he wasn't cloned. If I had a little mad money, I'd buy it and make 'Snuppy' the official mascot of me bloog. I'd take him (her?) for walks around the SNU campus and make sure I snap some good pictures of Snuppy pissing on the wall of the 'World Stem Cell Hub' building. I imagine Marmot would try to buy him off me just to find out what a faked cloned dog tastes like, but I would kindly (yet firmly) decline.
Hwang: Just keep smiling whiteboy, we're money.
Is it just me? Or does Schatten seem just as slimey as Hwang? At the very least, he has a bad habit of talking out of his ass. Here's a great quote from Schatten back in the good ol' days:
"There is full transparency, full openness and no ambiguity," said
Gerald Schatten, a stem-cell researcher at the University of Pittsburgh
who collaborated with the Korean researchers.
God, what a moron.
Our good friend Hwang was certainly not camera shy and played the media
to the hilt, never hesitating to let photographers enter the lab and
take some shots of him and his mighty crew in action. It's amazing how
much free time you have for this kind of thing when you just fake your work!
Hey, look at me working!
Yessir, 365 days a year they worked in that lab, Hwang once boasted. That sounded fairly impressive way back when, but quite pathetic now when it turns out they hadn't done much but pose for pictures and lie during all that time.
Here's a happy fun interview with Hwang before the scandal broke out.
Some choice tidbits.
"The stem cell researchers who've looked at the results are unable to
suppress their excitement,” he says. “Scientists who screened the
article I submitted to the journal Science are calling it a 'stem cell
[Oh yeah, it turned out to be tsunami all right, with all the destruction that comes with it. Sure were happy with yourself way back then Hwangy boy, weren't ya?]
- You've managed to come up with outstanding research results in the
short time since you restarted embryonic cloning in October.
"That's because I completed all the preparations before starting.
Because we'd built up a lot of experience through prior research, we
were able to reduce the amount of trial and error."
Oh yeah, that and the fact that the whole thing was bullshit. I guess you can get a lot of research done when you don't have to go through the formalities of actually doing anything. Even the fake photos were just recycled from previous published studies (talk about getting lazy...)
Now Hwang's previous research of the past 10 years is being put to the test. I say why stop there? Hwang would not be the first Korean to cheat and plagiarize his way through college. Sounds a little harsh, I know, but just ask anyone who teaches in a university about the average Korean student's views and practices on 'cunning' (Konglish for cheating). Frauds of this magnitude just don't come out of the blue, I'm sure he had his training somewhere.
Though most of the Korean public is no longer fooled by Hwang, he still has his loyal followers. Just last New Year's Eve they had another candlelight rally for Hwang, which I found very appropriate as it has sort of a funeral feel to it.
They knew it was Hwang, but it felt so right!
Some other random notes
Baduk was right along and I hereby proclaim him a Prophet of God. I
encourage all bloggers and commenters to stop disagreeing with Him from
now on and just accept all that He says without question. If you disagree, I'm sure
he'll be willing to write a 5,000+ word response to show you are wrong.
The word of 2005 is NOT hub
I'm not really the type to defend the 'purity' of the English language, but I really think Korea should no longer be allowed to use the word 'hub' for any further
bullshit ambitious projects. If this keeps up, 'hub' will become synonymous with 'nationalistic pipe-dream' or 'cesspool.'
Good on Korea
As much fun as it is see someone like Hwang and the uber-nationalist clones who followed him fall on their collective asses on the world stage (come on, admit it everyone, hasn't this been a great ride?), it should be pointed out that the uncovering of this deceit was done purely within Korea, despite intense public pressure not to say a single bad word about Emperor Hwang and his invisible clothes.
Props to MBC for choosing the truth over nationalistic pride. In the long run, that is what true patriotism is all about. Props to Roh Sung-il for coming clean despite the pressure and cost to his own career. The picture on the left is of a person who knows he fucked up and is trying to make things right. Hwang seems beyond redemption.
No props for Kim Seon-jong for confessing the fraud when he thought that the gig was already up, but then reversing his story when pimp-daddy Hwang gave him $30,000 in hush money. Your career is over, dude, should have kept the money and opened up a quickie-mart in Seoul.
What, me worry?
Anyway, I would like to end on a positive note and proclaim that I am 300% sure that Hwang will overcome these trials and go on to lead Korea to a brilliant future.
Keep the faith, brother!
Comments on original post
They knew it was Hwang, but it felt so right!
Best quote of 2006 for me right there. Sure it's only been 2 days.
Posted by: Joel | January 02, 2006 at 08:38 AM
hehehe. great post. you could make this the Miss Korea of all blogs if you would only post more frequently.
Posted by: Paul | January 03, 2006 at 07:09 AM
Posted by: Nomad | January 03, 2006 at 05:16 PM
Great stuff...look forward to more in the Year of the (Not Cloned) Dog.
Posted by: Giant Panda | January 03, 2006 at 05:53 PM
Great post....and yes, it's nice to see Schatten properly fisked too, there is something snake-oilish about that guy. I remember when he came to Korea 2 weeks agao, at the press conference he was asked in perfect English by a reporter "So is this a fraud, and what do you know about it?" and he started this ridiculous baby-talk English "I JUST CAME OVER ON A PLANE, YOU SEE? ON A PLAAAANE. MY BRAIN IS NOT WORKING. NOT WOOOORKING. IT'S JETLAG. (circling motion around his ear) BRAIN NOT WORKING".
Yeah, if you're done with the goo-goo English could you answer the damn question please? Perhaps in syntax and diction that reflects, oh, your job of professor?
God, what a moron.
Posted by: Hugh | January 03, 2006 at 06:18 PM
I particularly like the props to Baduk for his prescience...that was priceless.
Great post...you have been added to my blogmarks...great stuff
Posted by: dg611 | January 03, 2006 at 06:19 PM
i have to disagree with your comment that the word 'hub' is being overused, its just being used in thre wrong situations. some appropriate uses would be: Hub of academic fraud, hub of men wearing make-up, hub of media inaccuracy (although this would prob be NK, as bad as SK is), hub of bad driving, and i'm sure there are plenty more.
Posted by: rowan | January 03, 2006 at 06:35 PM
If loving you is Hwang... I don't wanna be right...
Posted by: gar | January 04, 2006 at 01:11 AM
Excellent job of fisking the whole business and reminding us of all that was said and done.
* * *
Posted by: Horace Jeffery Hodges | January 04, 2006 at 01:16 AM
Good stuff.. but it was not just Koreans who brought him down. Lots of people from the NYT and Nature were asking questions, but all the people were stonwalling.
Posted by: LordBeaverton | January 04, 2006 at 02:51 AM
Nice post. At first I has trouble getting my head around the issue because I couldnt see the big deal about one scientist committing fraud. But when I realised the nationalist implications, I could see something was up. Nationalism and science dont mix.
Posted by: Matt | January 04, 2006 at 03:12 AM
Jeez, Jeff in Korea does have a good voice for audio blogging! Does he have a media background?
Posted by: Matt | January 04, 2006 at 03:14 AM
Geee... Thanks Poop and Matt. Five years as a radio DJ/announcer/host before taking up the Law in order to be able to afford a few more luxury items...such as food and shelter.
Posted by: Jeff in Korea | January 04, 2006 at 08:49 PM
Great post and I have to agree with Matt that it certainly helped to clarify things in a kind of way. Now perhaps you could enlighten us on the George Bush school of fabrication although I would guess we'd need a larger bandwidth. At least Hwang didn't take too many lives in the process of his bullshit (should it be proven to be the case etc etc) unlike some ................
Posted by: Leone | January 07, 2006 at 02:52 AM
but but Bushie, he lie, migook bad, wah wah wah
so Hwang is not as bad...Korean logic at its finest
Posted by: Giant Panda | January 07, 2006 at 06:59 PM