Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Papers midterms hate.

Posting's been... nonexistent lately...

I'm sorry readers. I have a midterm on friday and a presentation later today and so on and so forth...

but here are some links you should read, some culled from the radio feature I've been doing on TBS Radio:

Adventures in the 4077th, on tutoring North Koreans... and links where you can get involved!

Stupid Ugly Foreigner, on personal space (why I never go to lotte department store on a weekend).

I really liked this story about Tablo. Tablo seems cool. I'd buy him a beer and chat, if he had the free time. (if I had the free time)

If I Had a Minute To Spare has a well-written piece about the simple pleasures that help him enjoy his life.

Michelle Lee became a sympathetic character for being eliminated on K-pop Star, and JYP's comment was kinda cool. I'm currently researching multiculturalism (or lack thereof) in Korea for a couple of my research papers - I'll fill you in more on that soon... there are surveys!

But I'm not thrilled with Hong Suk-cheon wanting to buy Michelle Lee lunch out of some sympathy impulse...if his reason is because she's multiracial-Korean. Here's what I said on air, more or less:

If we recognize her for her talent, that’s great, but if we single her out for special attention, or treat her as a helpless victim because she’s multiracial, that sets a pattern of patronizing treatment toward multiracial kids that I don’t like, because I don’t want MY multiracial child to be patronized or treated as some kind of weirdo who needs special attention or sympathy. I want him to be treated as a normal part of a healthy Korean society.

Ms. Lee To Be's must-read "What About The Fathers?" is response to a Joongang Ilbo editorial that, rightly, suggests workplaces should be more family friendly. However, JI misses the point by saying these things should be done for mothers who work, (or SO mothers can work AND raise the babies) when part of the reason Korean women don't seem to want to have kids, is because moms still feel like ALL responsibility for child-rearing will land in their lap if they have a kid. Let's get the fathers involved too, folks!

Going back a little...

And, the most academic, philosophical discussion on K-pop you'll ever read... followed by a mix-tape that actually does a pretty good job of summing up what's great, what's important, and what's coming up, in K-pop.

A response in kind (but not as good) that boils down to - Kpop is fascist because it's popular, and it doesn't do it for me, and I resent you for giving reasons I might like it, or should give it a chance... a bunch of critiques that could be applied equally to any pop, from someone who clearly doesn't know much about K-pop, if s/he doesn't know where to strike. It's not hard to find, if you know where to look.  (my comment on this blog outlines most of how I feel on the topic)

The reply, from the original article's author. Which disappointingly, sounds like s/he's apologizing for loving K-pop, at points. There's no need to be apologetic for liking something that's been designed to give pleasure. My relationships with chocolate, beer, boobs and really fresh ddeok are love-love: there's no need to add guilt or shame.

K-pop is corporate... it's for-profit, sometimes cynically so... it's also really, really, really good at what it does, and the sheer skill with which it's accomplished, whether you like it or not, is admirable. But don't hate Justin Bieber because he's not Radiohead: Biebs isn't trying to BE radiohead, and it's disingenuous to think there's only one kind of good music. Don't hate Sistar for not being Shin Joong-hyun or Kim Kwang-seok. Hate Sistar if/because they're not good at what they're trying to do, which is make catchy, marketable kpop. And if catchy, marketable pop isn't for you, don't consume it.  Me? I like a little squee pop from time to time, when I get droned-out on art rock.

Meanwhile, I found this great theoretical article titled "The Political Economy of Hate" which you may have seen linked if you follow me on Twitter... it's a great article and I'm thinking of making it the basis for a series here, as well as a research paper. It asks the question "Why do politicians and other groups stir up hate of other groups? What's the benefit, and how do they choose groups to scapegoat?" And then formulates an answer.

Some of the points are very, very relevant - hell, observable, in South Korea's multiculturalism debates. Others take interesting sideways spins. But I'll save that for another post.

And if you want to hear from me more often, follow me on twitter (see sidebar) -- I'm more active there, because it takes twelve seconds instead of an hour to write a post on Twitter, so that's easier to justify when I have lots of homework or research to do.


Roboseyo said...

Thanks for the link, Rob. I do think the best (better?) link would be The Korean's article on tutoring defectors, as he personally has more connections than I do. Probably.

Ask a Korean: Volunteer to Teach English to North Koreans

Hopefully my HTML doesn't get borked...

Good luck with the school work!

Roboseyo said...

Firstly, thanks for the linkage! 

Now on to more important things :)

The whole hate/love K-pop argument reminds me of when I was a teeny-bopper at junior discos when arguments would flair up between the fifteen year-olds and the thirteen year-olds about why Boyzone were utter shite or god's most recent gift to music, among other complaints...At this stage, I reckon people have made their mind up about whether or not they enjoy the genre of music that is K-pop (I know I have). The fact that it's turning into an argument is beyond me - aren't we adults who can make out mind up by ourselves and enjoy music for what it is? Do we, and I mean the royal variety, have to be so immature as to insist on everyone that we should love and celebrate, or hate and trash, every time someone raises their objection or approval of it?

But while I'm here, there's one thing that does bother me about K-pop, and that's its industry and the overplay everywhere. I wouldn't mind hearing some other modern Korean music more often. But then again, maybe if I was a little more vigilant in my choice coffee-drinking/mobile-phone-shop-passing/dunkin-donuts-or-whatever-the-name-of-the-franchise-is-that-I-am-selling-myself-short-in-again/etc. establishment. 

Although, all that being said, I think it's awful drivel that I wouldn't wish upon the ears of my worst enemy and I do my best to avoid making it a part of my life.