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Oldboy made him do it?

OK, now NYT’s Mike Nizza is drawing connections between “Oldboy” and yesterday’s shooting.  See also here [Korea Pop Wars].

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://orientem.blogspot.com/ The Western Confucian

    Steve Sailor, “evolutionary conservative” and film critic, did the same thing a few days ago:

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2007/04/virginia-tech.html

  • michael

    Like I said elsewhere on here, and I know y’all are fixated on my every word, the pose in that photo is a B-movie cliche and it’s more likely he never saw “Old Boy” in the U.S. because it had limited release as an “art house” movie.

  • mondoo

    every korean-american i know btwn the ages of 20-35 either owns or has viewed the DVD version of ‘Old Boy.’

    If this ‘Old Boy’ relation picks up steam in Korea I predict we’ll soon see an outcry from the govt against violent content in movies/tv/games.

    and on that note – probably some Japan-blaming since ‘Old Boy’ was adapted from a nihon manga.

  • peninsular aborigine

    Old Boy was certainly pathetic enough that it made me want to kill myself – but others?

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    If this ‘Old Boy’ relation picks up steam in Korea I predict we’ll soon see an outcry from the govt against violent content in movies/tv/games.

    As far as I know, it hasn’t been picked up in Korea yet (I haven’t been looking all that closely, though). But god, I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that.

    Old Boy was certainly pathetic enough that it made me want to kill myself – but others?

    Hey, I liked “Old Boy.” Park Chan-wook’s next two films, on the other hand…

  • dogbertt
  • michael

    Mmmm…maybe he saw it, still the image itself as I said is a B-movie, slasher movie cliche. There’s no cut-and-dried connection to “Old Boy” (which was just a “Blue Velvet” clone anyway–yeah, everybody’s a critic).

  • taxman

    A little out of topic. This is a message i got on my xbox 360 profile yesterday from some random Japanese guy

    “korean man killed 32 peoples lol hahahah very funny

    Poverty and depression made gunman kill 32 in Virginia Tech Rampage

    i hate korean very very very much
    i think korean is KIMCHI AND PSYCHO COUNTRY”

  • seoulmilk

    hmm…one is holding the hammer with two hands, and one is holding it with one. like michael said, that “pose is a b-movie cliche.” i mean, if you asked people to pose with a hammer in an intimidating pose, nine times out of ten, you’ll get that same cliche pose. maybe i’m wrong but for the ny times to make that connection seems far-fetched.

  • peninsular aborigine

    Sorry I can’t agree with you, Robert, but I can anatomize Old Boy with one Korean word – 변태.

    PS: Slightly off message, but … I know this shooting story has been a bit trying on you, but thanks for your skillful navigating between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I appreciate it that you let people say their piece even if you don’t always concur. Keep your pecker up.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “Like I said elsewhere on here, and I know y’all are fixated on my every word, the pose in that photo is a B-movie cliche and it’s more likely he never saw “Old Boy” in the U.S. because it had limited release as an “art house” movie.”

    He could have easily downloaded.

  • dogbertt

    Travis Bickle.

  • madne0

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1261402,00.html

    “Police believe the Virginia gunman may have been copying scenes from a film when he carried out his killing spree.

    Detectives say Cho Seung-Hui repeatedly watched the South Korean movie Oldboy in the days leading up to the massacre in which 32 people were killed.

    The film’s themes of obsession and revenge also occur in Cho’s own writings.”

    Doesn’t mean Oldboy made him snap. There are millions of people who have seen it, tens of thousands of which (including me) have seen it more then once. None of us have been going on spree killings lately. Or in the last few years for that matter.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    I’m not excusing what he did, but the guy was clearly insane. Just looking at the video that was released today, it’s obvious he was mentally ill: the lack of facial expression (he tries to express anger but all that comes across is how emotionally and physically exhausted his illness has made him), the incoherent thoughts, etc. The guy in the video looks nothing like the one smiling in the pictures.

    The whole thing delivers a strong blow to the argument that the movie made him snap.

  • http://www.san-shin.org sanshinseon

    There is a really good movie that closely paralells this tragedy, set on a US univ campus with alienation and racial/sexual tentions leading to multiple-murder explosion — John Singleton’s “Higher Learning” 1993. I show it to students of my American Culture class to help them understand — it’s already scheduled for later this semester; guess i’ll move it up to soon…

  • http://hojupjimong.wordpress.com/ JiMong

    It is necessary to get all the puzzles of “why” and get some answers so the society could prevent another massacre as all expert believe. BUT is this reporter out of puzzle pieces? I could draw more connection with “Tomb Raider” or “Matrix” with a Cho’s pic with two guns and dressing than “Old Boy” if I asked to draw a connection.

    It’s is also interesting to watch how most people try to connect mentally ill Killer Cho with video games and some music. For example, on a NBC interview clip with his roommate , interviewer try to get a connection with video games but failed.

    http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?g=4F4E05E1-A9EA-4245-9C3D-704A438719A2&f=00&fg=copy

    Cho will go down in infamy as the senseless, deranged murderer and a moment of madness confined to the history books.

    May those victims rest in peace.

  • wjk

    at the time, Pearl Jam’s Jeremy kind of reminded me of what happenned in Columbine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_%28song%29

    Don’t let psych patients purchase guns. That should be the new law of the land.

  • wjk

    at the time, Pearl Jam’s Jeremy kind of reminded me of what happenned in Columbine.

    Don’t let psych patients purchase guns. That should be the new law of the land.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_%28song%29

  • mondoo

    I wonder if its common practice for US reporters to dig at the videogame causality every time a school shooting takes place?

    or

    is it more of a dig at the stereotype of the Asian loner nerd being an obsessed gamer?

  • slim

    Columbine killers were gamers/nerds/loners and not Asian.

  • abcdefg

    On a news segment in America that I watched, correlations between one of the pictures and the Matrix were focused on.

    Anyway, this thing about Old Boy is nonsense for all of the reasons stated, but also because of this: Cho seems like one of those particularly “whitewashed” asians whose pscyhological bread and butter were all things American culture (no! I’m not saying American culture is etiologically related to psy-cho killers in general). Cho wrote stupid plays that had no hint of asian nationalism or race consciousness in them, and describes the Columbine killers as martyrs. The best interpretation is that he was a wacked out American kid who was misguided terribly not by movies or video games but by a single personality-forming/affirming idea that would house the activities of his life and other constructs for years, this before the shootings and perhaps even before Oldboy was released.

  • Paul H.

    #16 JiMong: “….I could draw more connection with “Tomb Raider” or “Matrix” with a Cho’s pic with two guns and dressing than “Old Boy” if I asked to draw a connection…”

    The “Cho’s pic” being discussed in connection with “OldBoy” is the one with Cho bareheaded and holding a cocked hammer in the air, on his right side (I mean a hammer for driving nails, not the hammer of a gun).

    The movie “Oldboy” (which I had never heard of, before reading this thread) is now beginning to be mentioned on US cable news channels for its possible connection. On CNN Headline news, a photo still from the movie was shown side by side with the Cho pic; it showed a young man who was a movie character (“Oldboy” himself?) holding a hammer with one hand off to his right, up in the air, as though prepatory to delivering a blow with it against the viewer.

    The Fox news Channel also just mentioned “Oldboy” two hours ago, as the lead-in to a story about the NBC news release of the Cho still pictures (such as the “hammer” one) and the video of Cho mumbling his manifesto.

    Fox is evidently no longer going to show these each time the VT story is brought up; they did run a short few seconds of some scene from Oldboy, but it wasn’t the “hammer” picture.

    I think there is going to be a large reaction of disgust here in CONUS to the NBC news decision to publish the Cho pictures and video; I have noticed editorial opposition to that NBC decision on line here in CONUS, by other than Fox news.

    However, I think the “Oldboy” references on the US news will be too obscure to gather much more attention. I suppose if you’re a US video store owner, you might start getting some inquiries for it as a rental. There will have to be an English-language subtitle or dubbed version available, though.

  • dogbertt

    If I were cynical, I’d call it viral marketing by whoever distributes “Old Boy” in the U.S.

    There’s not even a hint Cho ever saw it, much less was influenced by it.

    And it is not helpful for the media to grasp at straws to make a spurious connection between Cho and a violent Korean film.

  • terrible dan

    The pundits and some commenters vastly underestimate the near-universal popularity of Oldboy among young men of any race. That and “Ong-Bak” are pretty much requisite viewing to participate in college-age male dipshittery.

  • kauffner

    The photo isn’t the only Oldboy/Cho connection. Cho is also throwing hammers around in one of his plays. But of course this doesn’t connect Oldboy to murders themselves, since they weren’t committed using a hammer.

    The Columbine killers were inspired by a dream sequence in “The Basketball Diaries” which featured killers in trenchcoats. When I first heard about this, I thought “Hollywood deprivity at work.” But then I watched it and it’s actually an anti-drug movie. The scene in question is used to illustrate how cocaine caused the narrator to lose his athletic edge and mental stability. So there is just no accounting for what people will want to imitate from a movie.

  • http://hojupjimong.wordpress.com/ JiMong

    #22. Paul H: “The “Cho’s pic” being discussed in connection with “Old Boy” is the one with Cho bareheaded and holding a cocked hammer in the air, on his right side”

    Everybody knows from the NYT article and news clips.

    Was there only one picture of this sick killer holding a cocked hammer in the air in the package?

    Again, what do you and US media, you think, see from other pictures with handguns and a knife?
    How about his poses on pictures?

    To me, this kind of logic from some of US media, reporter, is like saying “Cho was influenced by skinhead as he was bareheaded”

    BTW, Please do not watch the movie “Oldboy” as you already got a fixed idea about it and spoiled by media or mindless killer Cho.

  • peninsular aborigine

    BTW, Don’t watch Old Boy because it’s a horrible movie. Idiotic story glorifying human mutilation – what an utter piece of crap.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    BTW, Don’t watch Old Boy because it’s a horrible movie. Idiotic story glorifying human mutilation – what an utter piece of crap.

    Oh, poo.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “BTW, Don’t watch Old Boy because it’s a horrible movie. Idiotic story glorifying human mutilation – what an utter piece of crap.”

    It’s not one of those stupid action movies with a paper thin storyline.

    Watch it for its narrative and subtext (it’s the retelling of the Oedipus story, by the way).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus

  • http://hojupjimong.wordpress.com/ JiMong

    “BTW, Don’t watch Old Boy because it’s a horrible movie. Idiotic story glorifying human mutilation – what an utter piece of crap.”

    Really?

  • peninsular aborigine

    Old Boy Question (non-snide): The guy’s name is 오대수, right? Is this supposed to mean Odysseus? As you might know, some people (eg, Ezra Pound in his reading of The Cantos) pronounce that name as “oh-day-seus” with the last syllable said like Zeus. I’m interested because that name etymologically means “no one.” And I can’t help wondering if it’s supposed to have some other meaning which, of course, is a non-Oedipal one. Anyway, I don’t know how Koreans say it (or if they just say “Ulysses” like Westerners did for hundreds of years).

    I’m not sure what disliking Old Boy has to do with “stupid action movies.”

    PS: A sufficient number of people who I respect like this movie, so I vow not to slag it anymore until I see it again. Until then, however, I stand with fraternal solidarity with Rex Reed (sans racist aspersions).

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Good question, PA. I don’t know, it may well be. It would be interesting to know what Chinese symbols his name was based on.

    The story has also elements of the Count of Monte.

    Having not read the manga that the movie was based on, that’s pretty much all I can tell you about the story. It’s available in English, by the way.

  • http://hojupjimong.wordpress.com/ JiMong

    Do you need more draw connection to solve the puzzle? I found this post on “Who’s fault?”

    http://www.cynical-c.com/?p=7191

  • bluetranslator

    Hahahahaha. You have got to love the headline of this orginal blog entry. “Oldboy Made Him Do It?” Talk about sensationalistic and misleading.

    Nothing in the NY Times article even remotely suggests that Oldboy was the inspiration for Cho’s actions. What it said was “The inspiration for perhaps the most inexplicable image in the set that Cho Seung-Hui mailed to NBC news on Monday may be a movie from South Korea that won the Gran Prix prize at Cannes Film Festival in 2004.” It surmised that the movie may have been the inspiration for the IMAGE of Cho with the hammer. Stop projecting, folks.

    And no, Oldboy is by no means is obscure to film afinicianados around the world. It is to this day one of the highest grossing films in Korean history, and is considered a minor masterpiece in art film circles.

    And it is widely available at video stores across the US with English subtitles. In fact, it was just released as a fancy schmancy 3-DVD collector’s edition, complete with all kinds of additional features. And this is in addition to the single DVD US edition that has been available for a while. There is a Hollywood remake in the works, and Justin Lin–of Better Luck Tomorrow and Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift fame, was tapped to direct it, but it has faced some difficulties getting off the ground. Who knows what may happen now. Some sickos may want to capitalize off of the people’s misunderstanding (fed by sensationalisic blog titles like this one) that Oldboy was the film that “made him do it.” Why do people distort what others say or write? Strange…

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    From the NYT piece:

    The poses in the two images are similar, and the plot of the movie, “Oldboy,” seems dark enough to merit at least some further study.

    Seems like the guy is suggesting something to me.

  • bluetranslator

    Sorry for the acerbic tone, Robert. I kind of wish I’d left out the nasty tone of my post. After a few days of active posting and getting bombarded with so many sarcastic, cynical, and downright mean-spirited responses (esp. by a certain notable poster who seems unable to communicate unless he employs extreme sarcasm or ad hominem, profanity-laced attacks), I must have had a temporary breakdown.

    But, I do think that it’s a stretch to say that the NY Times reporter is suggesting that “Oldboy made him do it.” I was objecting especially because it seems like some posters at the site seem to read what they “project” the writers are saying rather than what the writers have actually written.

    This NYT writer seems to be suggesting that Cho may have watched Oldboy many times, and this fact may have served as an inspiration for the disturbing photos of Cho. And since Cho is dead and gone, any pieces of puzzle to his life–even as seemingly as minor as what types of movies he may have enjoyed–can provide a glimpse into his twisted psyche. I don’t see any attempt to present the idea that watching Oldboy caused Cho to go on his murderous rampage. Just another small glimpse into the sick and twisted soul’s psyche. That’s all. I think it’s an important distinction and that’s the point I was trying to make.