Colin Marshall is a Seoul-based essayist, broadcaster and public speaker on cities, language and culture, he is also the host of Notebook on Cities and Culture Podcast.
We sat down with our friend Colin Marshall who is an American essayist and broadcaster currently living in Korea. We asked him how he learned to speak fluent Korean and how he got to meet a lot of people and also generally what he does for a living. We filmed this video last summer so please note that many months have already passed from the time of this interview.    Follow Colin’s activities here: http://blog.colinmarshall.org  https://twitter.com/colinmarshall 
In downtown Seattle, Colin talks with comic artist Peter Bagge, creator of the legendary alternative comic series Hate, contributing editor and cartoonist at Reason magazine, and author of such graphic novels as Apocalypse Nerd, Other Lives, Reset, and Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story. They discuss whether Seattle is still the place to be for the Buddy Bradleys of the world; the cheap "place to invent yourself" he first found there; the ever-increasing importance of place in his work, and its necessity in telling longer stories; how Seattle won out as a storytelling location versus the other "cities where hipsters gather"; what Seattle once looked like from his perspective in Manhattan; the feeling of a "pioneer town" then and now; how he found Seattleites who took the time to live elsewhere differed from Seattleites who'd never left, and what it has to do with the Seattle inferiority complex; the relationship between Seattle and the alternative comics scene; how he convinced his publisher Fantagraphics to come join him in Seattle, and how the town came subsequently to crawl with cartoonists; Buddy Bradley as a young cynic, and Seattle's accommodation of the young cynic; what the fictional life of Buddy Bradley and the real life of Margaret Sanger have in common, beginning with their premises of "doing exactly what they want to do"; which of Sanger's many accomplishments and battles (which she never fought on straight gender lines) he usually uses to explain her life; why Sanger's achievements in birth-control legalization became so important to all society; our transition out of "the age of stuff"; the probable fate of bookstores, and how they might succeed through the social dimension; why conventions have become more important than ever to comics, and why cities have become more important than ever to life; the impossibility of the Spokane swinger; what his visit to the depleted city of Detroit taught him, especially about the ways the government itself holds back a potential revitalization; where he thinks Seattle goes too far, politically; why he prefers the monorail Seattle might have built to the light rail system it is building; whether governments just can't build transit right, or whether specifically American governments just can't do it right; what happens when anyone's shovel hits an Indian artifact in Seattle; and how to win mayoral office by campaigning against the inevitable.
The Kickstarter drive for Notebook on Cities and Culture's sixth season launches now. If we raise its budget, we'll spend an entire year in Seattle: the city of grunge, Microsoft, Amazon, the Space Needle, Buddy Bradley, Archie McPhee, sleeplessness, Starbucks, and much more we'll discover through at least 52 in-depth conversations with its novelists, journalists, comic artists, filmmakers, broadcasters, explorers, academics, architects, planners, cultural creators, internationalists, observers of the urban scene, and more. Once we raise season six's full $6000 budget, the show will go on as planned. And for every additional $200 we raise, the season will include an additional episode. In other words, if we raise $10,000 rather than $6000, you’ll get 72 Seattle interviews rather than 52. Depending upon the amount you pledge to back Notebook on Cities and Culture's year in Seattle, you could get a mention at the end of each episode, postcards from the city, me talking about your project or message at the top of one episode and its associated post, or at the top of all of them. But do note that, since no one likes a long drive, we only have five days to raise the money. The Kickstarting ends on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time, but before then, I’ll put up a special preview episode featuring a new interview with a favorite long Seattle-based guest from whom, if you’ve followed my interviewing career for a long time indeed, you’ve heard a couple provocative and funny hours of conversation before. Visit season six's Kickstarter page for details. Thanks, and stay tuned.
In an officetel in Seoul, Colin talks with Brother Anthony of Taizé, one of the most renowned translators of Korean poetry, president of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch, and naturalized citizen of South Korea. They discuss the frequency with which he's heard "Why Korea?" in the 35 years since he first arrived as a member of Taizé; the Korean lack of belief that anybody would actually opt for Korea rather than their own homelands; what fills Korean taxi drivers with strong opinions; Korea's aging rural population versus Japan's even more aging rural population; the Seoul he arrived in in 1980, and how it compared with the Philippine slum in which he'd spent years previous; the "trickery and violence" involved in the city's redevelopment; how a "shame culture" deals with modernization (and especially with thatched roofs); how Japanese society accommodates a kind of "nonconformism" that Korean society doesn't; how he began translate Korean poetry, and why he got into poetry rather than other forms of Korean literature; how Korean fiction came into being after the war, and what it often lacks; how the concept of separation has been expressed as "the great Korean thing," and younger Korean writers' desire to get away from it; why "Koreans can't speak Korean"; the endless pattern drills he endured while studying Korean at Yonsei University; how he began "doing tea," and where in Asia the interest has taken him; how China has used Korea as a developmental model; why he isn't sure he wants to live in a "fascinating country"; how some foreigners love traditional Korean music and architecture while most Koreans themselves don't; whether Korea can gain the confidence it has long lacked; why we should rightfully be able to ride the train from Busan to Paris.
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Creator Details

Location
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Episode Count
365
Podcast Count
2
Total Airtime
2 weeks, 17 hours
PCID
Podchaser Creator ID logo 490516