Intersections are where collisions happen. How can we design them to be safe for children?
This is a normal Vancouver...
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Yesterday I wore the top half of a hanbok (한복) and cut-off shorts to class. One of my...
Way early this morning I sat down and did some writing and figuring about things I’d like to work on for myself. It felt good.
Funnily enough, what...
The Atlantic article parsing the DHM (deep hidden meaning) of Gangnam Style got passed around in my corner of the internet and household consensus is Korean Americans suck at Korea.
“Korea has not had a long history of nuanced satire,” Adrian Hong, a Korean-American consultant whose wide travels make him an oft-quoted observer of Korean issues, said of South Korea’s pop culture. “In fact, when you asked me about the satire element, I was super skeptical. I don’t expect much from K-Pop to begin with, so the first 50 times I heard this, I was just like, ‘Allright, whatever.’ I sat down to look at it and thought, ‘Actually, there’s some nuance here.’”
We bring so much of our own baggage to the conversation. We’re outsiders. I’m no different. My grouchiness about gender expectations make it almost impossible for me to watch Korean dramas (sorry every new acquaintance who tries to talk to me about the absurdly addictive series they are currently watching). But as my mom had to remind me, Korean mainstream pop culture is not the entirety of Korean culture. In other words, outside of coffee shop employees chorusing their greetings, how many in-real-life women did I meet in Seoul who spoke extra squeaky? Probably less than five.
Even when we try to study Korean history and society, most Korean Americans still suck at Korea. We want too much to belong. One summer it felt like every Korean American writer had a novel or memoir that mentioned that he or she is descended from Chosun Dynasty royalty. Me? Well you know Goguryo, the ancient kingdom, that’s the same Go family that became the Koh family in America.
Also after a summer of housing policy classes, I’m a little peeved at the lack of context masquerading as context:
Gangnam, Hong said, is a symbol of that aspect of South Korean culture. The neighborhood is the home of some of South Korea’s biggest brands, as well as $84 billion of its wealth, as of 2010. That’s seven percent of the entire country’s GDP in an area of just 15 square miles. A place of the most conspicuous consumption, you might call it the embodiment of South Korea’s one percent. “The neighborhood in Gangnam is not just a nice town or nice neighborhood. The kids that he’s talking about are not Silicon Valley self-made millionaires. They’re overwhelmingly trust-fund babies and princelings,” he explained.
Housing bubble, housing bubble, housing bubble. That wealth and the wealth of my relatives is based on rising real estate values. Also trust-fund baby is a terrible Americanism. Live at home until marriage so have a fair amount of disposable income babies?
But I guess if Koreans are happy to claim Jim Yong Kim, Hines Ward, and gah, is Michelle Wie the last Korean American woman to be feted as the shining pride of Daehanminguk, Korean Americans should get to claim the gajillion Youtube views of Gangnam Style as for us.
P.S. I am grateful that the parking garage and elevator scenes are cameos for other comedians but with no other explanation for the actual content of the scene.
P.P.S. There should be a speakers bureau of Koreans who can be called when American media needs a quote or a local source. English speakers naturally.