Editor’s Note: This interview was done during the first couple of issues that 3wm published (February 2010). The Korea Times never published it though. Riddle me This: Why didn’t they?
A set of questions from Jonathan Breen at the Korea Times to the founder of The Three Wise Monkeys, Mizaru.
How and Why did you come up with the idea of thethreewisemonkeys.com, and I understand it came from DDD magazine, how is the Web site different?
DDD: Difficult, Dirty Dangerous…. 3wm: See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil. People should be able to catch on. We are just using in-touch technology. We can take submissions from everywhere in the brave new world, nothing on the 3wm site ever gets dated it just rolls on to new stories and images.
You call yourself an interactive Webzine, and also an English language media outlet for the peninsula—what does this mean? What is it exactly that you are trying to do?
We are non-chamber of commerce. No one gets paid for 3wm work and we don’t post info on where to find a good dentist. Of course if you come to Seoul in the Year of the Tiger to get your fortune told by blind-soothsayers we do have a good front story up and running on that now. In September you can read a lengthy nitty-gritty memoir of what it’s like to teach English in a Korean Boy’s prison. That’s Independent Media for the peninsula. We are only 50% where we want to be. We were going to blog from the live Killers concert in Seoul but they cancelled. The blogging interactive component is important to us and we have a way to go on that.
When did you officially launch?
We 50% launched three weeks ago. We publish on Mondays and now update on Thursdays. The figuring is better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven…. Oops wrong question. We figure better to get something up and let people take part early: walk in thru the front door of Monkeyland while the back part is still being finished.
You say you are looking for submissions, how have the contributions been since you began, is the number increasing?
Over the transom submissions are very healthy. And we like short films, photo essays and artwork as well. It’s a community project. We often come up with story ideas in a local bar or cafe and we are committed to getting contributors to start an idea, work it through till completion: which is to post on the site. It’s also an open media sight; so contributors can also send out their work anywhere they want… just don’t forget 3wm after you get famous.
How many readers do you have? If you know, by how much has your readership
increased/decreased from DDD to the website?
DDD was up to 10,000 copies and that’s a lot of tree-guts to schlep around the peninsula. An independent bi-lingual magazine like DDD has an average shelf life of 2/3 issues over a year. We made 12 issues over 3.5 years. A good amount of DDD is archived on the 3wm site. We had 500 hits for the first two issues of 3wm and that’s acceptable at this stage of the project. Currently we are up to 3000 a week.
How invested are both Taru Taylor, John Rodgers and yourself in thethreewisemonkeys.com ?
Well, John is an achiever. He is the head English teacher at a foreign language high school in Seoul, does quality investigative journalism, and still is able to maintain OB is the best domestic beer we have. Taru reads a lot—Western philosophy as a starting course and Guns and Ammo for desert. Nobody really knows what the hell Taru is doing and of course that is part of his charm. For me: all I know is that it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll. Editor’s Note: Taru Taylor is out of the project and probably gone from the Kr. Peninsula (word is he is in Palestine).
What is your mission or aim in establishing the Web site?
Truth, Beauty and Mischief. For example, consider this, we are in Asia, the East side of the universe away from the West side we knew. And if everybody thinks that no one can fight city hall, then what choice do the local girls here have? Either get caught in Ajjoshi love land and serve the gods named: Mr. Park, Mr. Lee and Mr. Kim., or hang around foreigners from the prairies who have brought their guitars to Asia so they too can play God. We are thethreewisemonkeys.com and our mission is to pull the pedestal out from under the gods and have a creative fun time while doing it.
Site: thethreewisemonkeys.com inquire at: firstname.lastname@example.org