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World Cup Fever and Enfants Terribles
      
          
      World Cup Fever and Enfants Terribles
         
          World Cup fever is just  sweeping the whole nation.  At
          last, 2-0  victory over  Poland gave  Korea's supporters
          something to shout  out. On  that Tuesday  night when
          Team Korea achieved  its first  ever World  Cup soccer
          victory,   hundreds  of   thousands  of   Korean  people
          swarmed  the  main  streets  all  over  the  country  to
          celebrate the glorious milestone  on home soil. It  was a
          moment that touched the hearts of many from all  walks
          of  life  and   brought tears   of  joy  to   the country.
          Particularly,  the  streets   of metropolitan   areas  were
          covered  with  people,  mostly  young,  dressed  in   red
          T-shirts, which looked like a sea of red.
         
          At the very  heart of  this fever  were the  Red Devils,
          fervently screaming   and shouting   "Dae-Han-Min-Guk
          (South Korea)." It is true that the energetic spirit of the
          Red Devils has been successively playing a vital  role in
          inspiring both Team  Korea and  the whole nation.  The
          Red Devils,   who have  formed a   group in  1997, are
          mostly in their  20s and  30s. Youth  is pure,  energetic,
          and full of  fresh ideas, always  challenging the untried;
          youth   is  also   impetuous,  unpredictable,   and   even
          rebellious, always being  discontented with their  present
          situation. They  are the   future of our  society,  a new
          force, enfants  terribles, whose  driving,  but inebriating,
          ambition  can  be  possibly  funneled   into a   powerful
          interest group in the political arena.
         
          Leaving aside   all the  enthusiasm for   a moment  and
          cooling down our heated body  and mind, we must  look
          into the  seamy  side of   this World  Cup frenzy.   The
          politicians are already calculating  their gains and losses
          in this election  year--how to  capitalize on  this World
          Cup fever. What kind of  change such excitement would
          bring to  us? It  could be  a positive  phenomenon only
          when  group   behavior  without   political  ideology  is
          involved. It could be beneficial to us,  as John Dickinson
          said, "United we stand, divided we fall." It could be also
          highly dangerous because there is  a possibility of artful
          blend  of   nationalism and   populism   manipulated by
          "invisible hands." It is awful to imagine that  somewhere
          in the hind sight some extreme power-mongers, whether
          they are rightists or  leftists, are scheming  and plotting
          to exploit the energy of young  people, full of vigor and
          vitality.  They  may   bide their   time  to   seize their
          opportunity with "privy paw" behind the scene.
         
          What makes   humans different   from animals   is that
          humans have  rationality to   balance their instinct.   We
          must not abuse  the dreams,  passions, and  energies of
          young people.  Rather,  we must   show them  who are
          seeking to manipulate and  exploit information and  even
          knowingly   dispense   false    information   that   their
          maneuvering could backfire on  themselves. Cheering for
          the victory  at the  World Cup  should be  a cry  for a
          healthy, moderate, and mature society where  reason and
          commonsense should be social rules.  Or, the excitement
          that filled up  the nation could  be a  nightmare for our
          future.

Park Yoon-hee  dgudp@dongguk.edu

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