New wings for the anonymous criticsAt the end of the ninth century, the third queen of Silla, Queen Jinseong, was a ruler who failed to live up to her predecessor, Queen Seondeok. Rumor had it that Jinseong committed adultery with handsome young men and accepted bribes for official posts. Naturally, the public did not approve.
One day, someone anonymously criticized Jinseong s misgovernment in writing, and placed the piece on the market. The furious queen searched for the culprit but the person was not easy to find.
When a servant said, Someone who can write something like this must be well-educated but unsuccessful, so it is most likely Wang Geo-in, who lives in Daeyaju, the queen ordered her people to bring him to her immediately.
Locked in a cell after having been captured as the culprit, Wang Geo-in wrote a poem expressing his mortification on the wall. Samguk Yusa, or Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, states that suddenly one night, lightning struck from the sky and the queen let Wang Geo-in go for fear she had offended the heavens.
There are records of anonymous people criticizing the government dating from the time of King Yeonsangun of the Joseon Dynasty. The royal court was turned upside down on July 19, 1504, when it was revealed that a document criticizing the oppressive government of Yeonsangun had leaked within the Hanyang ministry. The document, written in the name of medical assistants, stated, Our king is very evil as such, and specifically talked about killing many scholars and engaging in pleasurable activities.
Yeonsangun failed to find the culprit and instead unleashed his anger on the language policy, banning Korean from being taught or written.
Time has passed and development of the Internet has given new wings to anonymous critics. Through the Internet, the many anonymous voices criticizing politicians are now amplified beyond the media s reach.
Needless to say, the greater the strength, the greater the responsibility, and the financial crisis and hardships that overtook Korea even brought us an Internet star known as Minerva.
Minerva was pointed out as the culprit who worsened the financial crisis because of his high popularity, but he was tried in court on charges of spreading false information and found not guilty. He began publishing a biweekly economy column in the daily newspaper Ilgan Sports on Thursday. Of course, now that he has stepped into the system, his return to society is likely to provide him with a chance to prove his skills once more.
I very much look forward to finding out whether Minerva, who transformed himself from an anonymous and controversial citizen to a finance columnist, will be able to stand as the hope of netizens once again.
The writer is the contents director at JES Entertainment.
By Song Won-sup [firstname.lastname@example.org]