Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kids React to Kpop Hatefest!

Update: Babyseyo came home from the hospital on Tuesday...
and is in fine form again.

But Kpop hate?

I first spotted this at Foreign/er Joy... since January 8, this video's grabbed around 800 000 Youtube hits, spawned a huge number of angry, defensive, or simply butthurt responses from Kpop fans, and given us a little more grist for the discussion of whether Kpop would ever make it, "big time" (whatever that means) in America.

As I've spent a lot of time talking about Kpop lately, I feel duty-bound to post this, and host a discussion about it.

My own thoughts:
1. the kid in the striped shirt has clearly had somebody (maybe his dad, maybe an older cousin) training him to have contempt for modern pop in general - not just K-pop. And likes attention and drama.
2. The girl who says, if the group is all arranged and planned by a manager... "if I even liked one of them, I would pretty much be liking the person that trained them" is bang on, as is the kid who says, "So they basically make them to be their puppets...I hope they get paid well."

So... watch the video. It's an interesting view of the differences in the way American kids that age are trained to appreciate art and creativity, and what young Koreans are trained to appreciate and admire... sprinkled with a little hate here and there.

In response to that hate, the K-pop shock troops have responded with hate of their own. Responses have been bitter and defensive in large part....
Check here and here and here and here (for a longer response)... and over 3000(!) comments on AllKpop.

Best post I've seen on it so far (linked in the comments) is this thoughtful talk about orientalism, exoticism, and who is asking these kids questions/editing the video, at "Adventures in the 4077th"  It also uses the word "Koreaboos" which is a word I would love to see, read and hear more often.

One thing I'll say for sure about these fine brothers (makers of the video): my hat's off to them. Kpop fans were certainly ripe to be trolled, and they're clearly reaping the benefits in hits and notoriety, in the proud tradition of Stephen Colbert.

What say you, readers?


Anonymous said...

"Asian Rebecca Black"


UNKNOWN said...

I haven't seen the video, but I think people are taken it WAYYY to seriously. You are right about the defensiveness times 1000, even from the adult K-pop fans. Whether or not the children were coached or not, this video is really not that serious to me (and I love K-pop).

Anonymous said...

Stripey shirt kid certainly comes off like the mouthpiece of a hipster dad. In regards to the actual kids, the video itself seemed pretty balanced, with equal amounts of enjoyment, hate, and bewilderment. Morgan (the youngest girl), as always, is the champion of the video.

I guess trolling K-pop fans is like shooting fish in a barrel, but hot damn... I just find it difficult to imagine myself getting so enraged that third graders don't like the same foreign-language music that I do.

The best part, though, is the rampant rationalizing going on in some of those comments. That these kids are just too young, that with age and wisdom they will come to understand the glory of the K-pop. Living in such a fragile world must be scary.

Anonymous said...

The kids who said "yes" in the end made the most insightful and non/least ignorant comments, whilst the ones who made the "my language" ect comments said "no".

Side-eye to the parents!

- Selom

Katherine said...

I wrote about this elsewhere and was debating porting it to my K-blog. I decided to go ahead and do it, so here it is:

But a summary of everything I wrote over there is:

There's a massive hatefest going on at LiveJournal's "Oh No They Didn't" community, peruse and be amused:

Most people who find issue with it find issue almost exclusively with the kids, which is like...yeah, I bet you were totally racially and culturally sensitive and open-minded when you were ten years old, asshole-who's-picking-on-kids. (To be fair, I think like 90% of the hate is directed towards William, who is obviously mugging it up for the camera which is kind of annoying.)

If there's anything problematic in there, it's adults who asked the pointed questions and edited together the responses.

Perhaps it could have been edited a bit better (comment about how they all look the same, which I totally agree with because of the styling and plastic surgery and so forth, is obviously not the best thing to say about a group of Koreans, still) but I don't think it was worth all the butthurt.

As an aside, all the hordes of K-pop fans who loudly proclaim K-pop's superiority for all to hear bug me just as much as people who are incredibly derisive and dismissive of it. Instead of rejecting something because of its Othernesss, they're reducing something to *only* its Otherness. Many of them are willing to cheerfully ignore how abusive JYP et al can be and just parrot on about how CL is so ~fierce~. Bonus points when they hate on American pop music, as if K-pop music is better just because it's Korean.

That's one thing I wish the video HAD talked about: how many of these groups have physical trainers and strict diets and the like; the exhaustive touring schedules; the not-necessarily-fair contracts, etc.

And finally, despite everything else, look how many kids say they'd listen to MORE when the video's finished. Geeze, K-pop army.

Everhet and Sydney are my favorite of the whole lot, they don't seem to be mugging it up and they have some pretty thoughtful things to say. Also Everhet has a sweet t-shirt.

Katherine said...

(NB I should have chosen my words a bit more carefully in the above post; "all the hordes" is a bit of an exaggeration and I don't think this way of every K-pop fan; but many members of the K-pop army who are freaking out about this video are also making comments about how this is so much better than American pop music which is just kind of "bwuh?")

Anonymous said...

"There's a massive hatefest going on at LiveJournal's 'Oh No They Didn't' community"


Katherine said...


It's a massive lolocaust, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Unrelated: can someone do a parody of Tom Lehrer's "Folk Song Army" called "K-Pop Army"?

Anonymous said...

Great to see Babyseyo out of hospital and smiling.


Anonymous said...

"I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did."

I did. Thanks for the link!

Suzy said...

I saw this a while back and was rather amused at the backlash. I'm a Korean Korean who laughed my head off while watching the video. Although I was rather surprised at some of the kids saying they couldn't understand anything so they won't listen to it - do they think people who listen to pop music in English all understand the lyrics and shouldn't listen if they don't? For being a multicultural society, sometimes the "non-multiculturalness" of America is rather baffling.
Besides that, I don't have any issues with the kids. Everyone has their own taste, why shouldn't kids? Heck, ask a selection of Korean kids here and not everyone would be saying good things about K-pop, either. Candy K-pop existed back in my day as well and even I refused to listen to it (and I was a Korean kid growing up in Korea) but now I'm a total K-pop junkie. You never know, a year from now that kid in the striped t-shirt might be uploading raving K-pop album reviews.

Anonymous said...

It is always expected for some kids to say ignorant and insensitive things apart from their own personal taste. They should be 'taught' what is not right instead of being 'criticized'. Those who are seriously mad at the kids themselves might not be much older than the kids anyway. Editing also plays a big role in swaying the overall tone of the video.

Anonymous said...

that was awesome! And I'm Korean! lol!~ Thanks!

Roboseyo said...

KKoba: awesome post. thanks for linking it.

gordsellar said...

I haven't been following along, so I didn't know there was a Babyseyo, so, well, congratulations!

On the striped-shirt kid, bullshit on the idea he's been coached. I sounded like him at that age, and my parents neither knew about nor cared about popular music of the era; we never discussed it. But having grown up without it (in the bush, with no local radio and no TV access to the crappy factory-produced pop music of the time, and then suddenly having been immersed in it, I was seeing it through relatively foreign eyes and couldn't figure out why people were so crazy about it.

(And didn't really figure it out till middle school, when everyone was using pop culture to identity-brand themselves. Then I joined in, I suspect mostly as a strategy for fitting in.)

Anyway, I think it's dismissive to suggest the kid is mouthing someone else's words. What if he's just bright and sees the same thing smart people of all ages see: that he's surrounded by clowns? Of course, it's sad that he thinks the 80s weren't a clown-filled monkey-show too... but he's young.

But it was interesting to see their attitudes about corporatization of pop music, and the imitation of American groups.

As for people who get irate about some kids not liking the crappy factory-produced pop music of a foreign country (as opposed to the crappy factory-produced pop music of their own)... wow, some people's lives really are empty.

Mostly I just find it sad that so many people hold this commercial junk up as somehow representative of their culture or society or something.

Roboseyo said...

Watch the video again. The disparaging remarks are from the white kids only. The minority kids and the really young white girl are more accepting. It's a white thing to be critical of things non-white.

Roboseyo said...

It's wrong to be harsh on the kids but let's admit it... some of the kids are very narrowminded and sounded racist. Personally I think alot of Americans are raised only into the American culture and first when they get alot older they learn about other cultures.

Some of the kids made me angry or rather irritated. I don't think it's the kids fault it's the parents who doesn't teach the kids about the rest of the world.

I think they should have shown better pictures and other videos/songs but they just searched and took what they found and who can be angry about that?
The pictures they could have taken new ones, I agree on that.

I don't know who I'm most angry, some Kpop-fans have gone too far.

Please understand that I'm not bashing anyone I''m just saying my opinion. Doesn't everyone have the right? So does the kids. Don't bash them... IF you have to bash, bash the way they got raised.

Remember not all kids react like that and they HAVE to overreact... it's for entertainment. Yes some sounded racist, yes they didn't like your oppas/unnies but seriously.... not everyone does and we have to live with that.