Itaewonian of excellence

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Itaewonian of excellence

We at Itaewon Wanderings love teevee so much that, believe it or not, we even watch “BBC World.” Granted, those BBC anchors are miserable people, and it’s tough, when they’re sneering through the good news and gloating through the bad, to resist thumbing the remote.
Did you ever wonder why those British types never smile? We did, too. But then we remembered Prince Charles’s teeth.
Between the streams of shock and blah the BBC calls news it runs lame self-promos. One kind advertises a series of programs, “Great Britons,” and invites viewers to click on to the channel’s Web site to vote for their favorite Limey. Of course, the channel subtly plugs a couple of politically correct candidates, the late Princess Diana and some guy nobody’s ever heard of named Brunel.
Intending to vote for one of our favorite Britons ― King Arthur, Keith Richards or Kylie Minogue ― we visited the site, bbcworld.com/vote. Unfortunately, none of our picks was on the ballot. So we voted for Winston Churchill, the most booze-soaked world leader of all time.
Then we were shown the updated results of the poll. In first is that ditz Diana; Churchill is third, behind Isaac Newton (who’s falling fast).
We reckon the highbrows at the BBC are campaigning against Churchill. Remember, the guy prevented Western Europe from being led by the likes of Hitler and Mussolini. And let’s face it ― journalists tend to despise democracy and adore dictators.
Led by the instinct to steal a good idea, Itaewon Wanderings has begun its own contest to honor the neighborhood’s best: “Excellent Itaewonians ― Profiles in Sleaze.” Like the BBC, we will also conduct a vote via the Internet and announce a winner in August.
And being as biased as the BBC, though less obligated to disguise the fact, we’re also going to promote our preferred candidate.
That man is Mr. Lee, the founder of the legendary dive bar Stompers. Before the 1995 fire that gutted it, Stompers, at the top of Itaewon’s notorious hill, was the center of Seoul’s expatriate community.
We especially admired Mr. Lee, who rebuilt his club after the fire but never got the magic back, for his ability to get female patrons tipsy and persuade them to do something exhibitionist for his camcorder. He also loved to start brawls, and was never shy about fighting above his weight.
Sadly, Mr. Lee packed up his deejaying gear about a year ago and moved out, transplanting Stompers to the nightlife area in front of Hongik University. Now Mr. Lee provokes the wrath of the bars in Hongdae for not banning American soldiers.
Do you have in mind another Excellent Itaewonian who deserves to be honored in this column?
Write us, at the e-mail address below, and tell us in 50 words or less who your favorite Itaewonian is and why. The winner gets a free aircraft carrier, and a stirring tribute in this column.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to get back to our beloved teevee, and try to find some fair and balanced news programs.
Does anyone know how to get Fox?


by Mike Ferrin
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