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Former spokesman got drowned in his own power

Posted May. 17, 2013 07:30,   


Kim Hyun-chul, a son of former President Kim Young-sam, denounced former presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung for being a person “worse than a prostitute,” condemning Yoon for his careless words in December 2012. Kim wrote this on his Facebook account as Yoon, the then spokesman for President-elect Park Geun-hye’s transition committee, called him a “political prostitute “just because Kim supported the main opposition Democratic Unity Party’s presidential candidate Moon Jae-in. Today, what attracts attention more than the “prostitute” argument is that Kim denounced Yoon for being arrogant after “taking feather-like power.” Kim, who had once been at the climax of power, seems to have predicted Yoon’s political end.

President Park Geun-hye’s former spokesman Yoon, who has recently been fired for his alleged sex assault on a female intern during the South Korean president’s visit to the United States last week, gained reputation for his columns as he viscerally criticized powerful men using their real names. Numerous politicians and political bigwigs, including former President Lee Myung-bak, were humiliated at the tip of his pen. In two months after he joined the core of power as President Park’s spokesman, however, he did things that dwarfed the wrongdoings of those he criticized, finally falling from power.

How come Yoon committed such an outrageous thing at an important time of a presidential visit to the U.S. Was he usually so lascivious? Did he just dream of breaking away from the social norm after getting excited by a foreign atmosphere? According to psychologists, people with power harbor some kind of “sense of sexual entitlement.” The more powerful they are, the more they tend to be. The old Asian saying that heroes like sex and that kings are shameless also suggests such attributes of power. To Yoon, who rose suddenly to power, the power was, after all, what put him into trouble.

The characteristics of power include a sense of stardom, which makes a star believe that he or she is a chosen and attractive one and that it is natural for everybody to love or worship him or her. Entertainment or sports stars are prone to have such a sense of entitlement. According to Paul Hodgson of GMI Ratings, a corporate governance rating agency, politicians, high-raking bureaucrats, and corporate chief executives are no exceptions. Therefore, he called power an “aphrodisiac.” It is said that those who grab power tend to think that the world revolves around them. A person who once served as a minister in Korea noted, “When I talk lightly about something, I have a report on my desk the next day.” According to him, once one gets addicted to such taste of power, he could have an illusion that nothing in the world is impossible and that he can touch women as much as he wants to.

It is said that many people expressed concerns over President Park’s selection of Yoon as her spokesman, he did not care much about such opinions. Rather, he is said to have given the impression that he enjoyed his power, complaining that woman reporters kept bothering him with so many phone calls. Why woman reporters, not just reporters? It is natural for reporters to approach him. But why was he conscious of only women reporters? Even if it was true that women reporters called him more often than men reporters, their purposes would have been to get information. Did he think it was because he was attractive? It may be possible that such a distorted sense of stardom was lying under his attempt to approach a young woman intern who is just over 20 years old.

Power makes one to unlatch hidden desires. A person with power would have made endless efforts, exercised self-restraint, and thoroughly maintained integrity to get to the position. Once he grabs power, however, he tends to vent his long restrained desires and wants to get compensated for the long painful time. Those who rise to power sometimes take a plunge due to outrageous misconduct because power unleashes their desires. Some cases in point include a sex scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus and a sex assault by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Yoon’s conduct is shameful even when compared with their behavior because his alleged victim is a mere intern, who was so weak in power relationship with him. Yoon, who criticized power more severely than many others, got addicted to his own power too quickly. Perhaps, his visceral criticisms of those in power might have been his acute desire for power in disguise.