The death of ‘healing’
On Feb. 1, the last episode of “Healing Camp” aired. Many were surprised that the show was still on when they learned the broadcaster ended “Healing Camp” due to low ratings. In the past, presidential candidates would be eager to appear on this show. Viewers are cold-hearted, indeed.
Someone said, “The show should have ended when Ahn Cheol-soo became ruined.” Healing, mentoring and trauma were the three trendy words. When Ahn joined the Democratic Party two years ago and surrendered to establishment politics, mentoring disappeared and healing faded. Now that Ahn has made a new party, should “Healing Camp” continue?
Prof. Sung Ki-wan of Kaywon University of Art and Design said, “When ‘Hell Joseon’ became a buzzword last year, healing got a direct hit.” It was a luxury when people were barely making a living day after day. The “gold spoon, dirt spoon” theory summed it up.
The underlying idea of “healing” was a sort of growing pain. With such comforting words - like “I know you are struggling, and I feel the pain, too. But if you bear it now, you will have a bright future. Let’s work together and get through the hardship.” - the magic of healing proved its credit.
Healing was romantic rhetoric for endurance of today’s struggles leading to a brighter future. But no matter how hard you try, not much will change if you are born with a dirt spoon in Hell Joseon. How should we hold up any more? People are growing skeptical that healing won’t help and feel deceived that half-hearted consolation has diverted us from looking at real problems.
Absurdly, comedian Kim Gu-ra was the biggest benefactor of the downfall of healing. It is no coincidence that he won the grand prize at the MBC Entertainment Awards. The basic idea of healing is to listen. It is a narrative form. But the latest trend of content consumption is selective viewing. No context is needed.
Here, Kim’s cynical and straightforward style works the best. His biting remarks are considered bitter yet insightful advice. In the complicated and chaotic world, people would rather hear comments that get to the point rather than roundabout consolation. Many find vicarious satisfaction from Kim’s language.
So let’s stop clinging to the expired concept of healing. There is no need to worry about the world becoming colder and tougher. We may finally begin to stand on the ground of reality and have the courage to look at the world straight on. Self-pity and seeking consolation are infantile behavior. There is no animal that pities itself.
Youth may be painful, but we have to get over the pain and grow up.
The author is a deputy culture and sports news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 3, Page 30
by CHOI MIN-WOO