The Marmot's Hole

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Tag: PSY (page 1 of 2)

And from the nation that brought you Yi Hwang and the Hunminjeongeum…

Oh, the humanity.

UPDATE: Well, at least the BigHominid likes it. The best I can say for it is that in the long run, it’ll probably have less of a deleterious effect on Korean civilization than the Mongol sack of Gyeongju. (Note to wife: not that’s there’s anything wrong with sacking cities).

KBS bans PSY’s new video, calling it ‘inappropriate’

While Park Geun-hye was praising PSY as an “exemplary” example of the country’s “paradigm shift” from an economy based on manufacturing to one that embraces creativity (veiled dig at Samsung?), state-funded network KBS has banned his new video “Gentleman” from the airways, calling it “inappropriate.”

Apparently the biggest gripe by KBS is the opening scene where PSY abuses public property by kicking over a traffic cone and the effect that it might have on impressionable minds. (I slightly grazed one myself today, but decided to give it a break and cross the road before getting run over.)

KBS released a statement saying: “We strictly forbid any material that might disturb basic public order.”

According to other reports, some Korean lawmakers aren’t too wild about PSY’s string of obnoxious behavior throughout the video nor the message that it sends –one politician in particular worrying that the library where the fart scene was filmed will become a famous “PSY landmark”, thus disturbing those trying to study.

While “Gangnam Style” will be forever branded on our brains for a lifetime, some are not happy with the “new” face of PSY. Writing in the Huffington Post, celebrity editor You-young Lee writes about her parent’s (avowed “Shy” fans) reaction to the rapper’s new release:

And when I asked them, just this week, what they thought of the 35-year-old’s new single, “Gentleman,” and its trying-too-hard music video, my mother responded: “I wouldn’t let my grandkids watch it!” which, at the end of the day, is probably sage advice.

Over the weekend following the “Gentleman” video release, I too posed my own questions as to what PSY was doing with his immense fame (yes, I might very well have finally become my father), but a ban? That’s way too much for my liberal-leaning mind.

Besides, it always (ALWAYS) draws more attention to the object of scorn and defeats the purpose anyway.

PSY saddles up for another run at the international limelight

Time to see if PSY can break the “sophomore jinx” –at least as far as his presence on the international stage goes.

Friday night he will debut his follow up to Gangnam Style during a streaming concert live from Seoul. The new song is called “Gentleman.”

As you might have heard last month, the tune was renamed and the lyrics reworded from the original title, “Assarabia” (Korean, for when you feel good or something great happens) in light of worries that it might upset some in the Arab world. This, no doubt, much to the chagrin of standup comedians across the globe.

You can check out a preview of the song here, but be warned: The minute-and-a-half previews of “Gentleman” have been popping up and disappearing from YouTube as quickly as his management company can pull them down.

Life of Psy

I take it Kimmel is not a huge Psy fan:

(HT to reader)

Do something with your fame, PSY

At the HuffPo, Prof. Emanuel Pastreich pens a humorous letter to PSY:

You are in a position to show that we can be happy without consuming.

Please, Psy, please stop eating meat.

The consumption of meat is a tremendous waste of water, soil and other resources that is destroying our world. If we were to eat only vegetables and grains, there will be enough food for everyone in the world and our soil and water could be preserved. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, compared to a mere 25 gallons to produce one serving of rice or grain. That difference will make or break our future.

Read the rest on your own.

PSY: What would have happened if a foreign singer had sung anti-Korean songs?

Perhaps that apology PSY game last month was more sincere than some thought. Or so the Chosun Ilbo would suggest.

Participating in a New Year’s event at Korea’s UN delegation, PSY reflected on the kerfuffle (see here). When work of his anti-American rap lyrics first broke, he thought about packing his bags. Imagining what would happen if it were belatedly learned that a foreign singer had made sung an anti-Korean song, he thought Americans would never forgive him.

He was surprised by the American response. At first, he took a lot of abuse, but after a few days, comments of support began to appear. He was most surprised by how the White House handled a petition calling for PSY to be dis-invited to a year-end event with President Obama… by deleting the petition and inviting him anyway. He’d expected his invitation to be cancelled. He asked, “If this were Korea, what would have happened?”

And finally, for all those folk who think Gangnam Style is satire—and you know who you are—PSY said it wasn’t. He just did the song to make people laugh in a bad economy.

PS: Anderson Cooper’s weirdest New Year’s moment was, oddly enough, not Kathy Griffin trying to play with his sack, but PSY and MC Hammer. Kathy Griffin apparently had some off-color comments for PSY, too.

Man drops dead after doing Gangnam Style horse dance

Take that, Glenn Greenwald—PSY might not have droned some kid in Yemen, but he’s killed someone dead all the same:

The death of a father-of-three who collapsed while dancing to Gangnam Style has prompted a warning to middle-aged men not to attempt the vigorous dance from the hit video.

Eamonn Kilbride, 46, collapsed with chest pains at his office party in Blackburn last weekend after performing the dance moves made famous by the South Korean rapper Psy, who mimics riding a horse.

Professor Bernard Keavney, a consultant cardiologist at Newcastle University, has warned older men not to “stray outside your comfort zone” while dancing at their Christmas parties this year.

You’ve been warned.

Controversy over the PSY translation

The WaPo’s Max Fisher penned an interesting story on the controversy regarding the translation of the controversial lyrics sung by PSY in 2004. Here’s a sample:

“There is a bit of ambiguity in the third line of the original,” the interpreter, who works in Korean and English professionally, said. “It’s unclear whether ‘daughter, mother’ are referring to the Westerners’ family or Iraqi POWs.” That’s a big distinction, and would imply a very different reading than the one implied by the original translation, which has driven much of the controversy.

A Korean American who spends time in both countries and is versed in South Korean pop culture said he found the same ambiguity in the lyrics’ references to killing. Though the wording of the original, CNN iReport translation clearly suggests that Psy is calling for killing Americans, that’s largely because the translation begins the first two lines with “kill.” But no translation I solicited drew the same conclusion: they all characterize the first two lines as slurring the American servicemen rather than calling for their deaths. That would seem to open the possibility that the lyrics say something very different from the call-for-American-deaths that has been ascribed to them. Using a racial slur to accuse Americans of killing Iraqis’ family members is still pretty serious, but it’s a good deal less so than cheering for listeners to murder American soldiers.

Still, these translations also suggest that we may have been underplaying the slur that the lyrics use to reference Americans. The word commonly translated as “Yankee” or “—— Yankee” is actually a unique Korean word that’s meant as “a derogatory term for American,” according to Lois Nam, a Korean-American who works at Al Jazeera English. Roger Cavazos, the American coordinator who worked on the translations with his Korean wife, also said the word “Yankees” doesn’t capture the slur’s full meaning. It’s “impolite in most circles” and “commonly used in protest crowds but would be like dropping [a harsh English swear word] on Western TV.” The Korean American who spends time in both countries called it a “nearly untranslatable” racist “epithet,” perhaps best approximated as “—— foreign barbarian.” Jone translated it as “big nose.”

Just to lend my own assistance in this matter, the term translated as “Yankee” in the original was ssibal yangnyeonnom (씨발양년놈), which appears in the first and second lines. It’s certainly not a nice word, and perhaps best translated as “fucking Western bitches.” The base word of this is, of course, yangnom, or “Western bastard” (or something to that effect). Some of our native speaking Korean readers can offer their own (and probably better) interpretations. Suffice it to say, though, it is not generally regarded by those of the Caucasian persuasion as a term of affection.

In the third line, PSY uses another term, kojaengi (코쟁이), which means “big noser.” Like yangnom, it is a term of abuse directed at those suffering from severe melanin deficiency, which usually presents with long noses, rhythmic difficulties and an unexplained affinity for Duke basketball. Interestingly enough, it’s also used in the Korean name for the elephant seal, but in this case, I’m 65% certain PSY was referring to white people rather than the seals.

Anyway, I don’t really have much to say other than that and what I said earlier.

(HT to Hamel)

Obama, PSY and a merry moving on

In my mind, the PSY story reached its grand finale last night when this photo was snapped.

Christmas in America can be pretty awesome.

Happy Holidays to all.

PSY Apologizes

Bobby McGill’s piece at Busan Haps is seriously blowing up.

Washington Post, Gawker, Drudge… it’s all over.

It’s even got political, with calls for the cancellation of a planned performance by PSY for US President Obama.

PSY will be performing for the president anyway, but he did make an apology:

“As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I was featured in — from eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time,” the statement read. “While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words.”

“I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months — including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them — and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology,” the statement concluded. “While it’s important we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology.”

Marmot’s Notes

– I’m guessing PSY had the apology on standby, since this story has been out there since October. It’s amazing it took so long to catch fire.

– If anything, the translation of the lyrics went easy on PSY. As MTV pointed out, “a Korean employee for MTV News, for instance, pointed out that Psy actually rapped ‘bitches’ instead of ‘Yankees.'” Which is about right, although perhaps a better translation would be “Western bitches.” The term that really got me, though, is kojaengi, or “big noser,” a term of racial abuse directed at white people. Back in October, when word of this first surfaced, Myongji University professor Kang Gyu-hyeong (writing into a conservative news outlet, admittedly) was horrified, calling the line “딸래미 애미 며느리 애비 코쟁이 모두 죽여” not only anti-American, but anti-human.

– Time heals, and five years of late President Roh Moo-hyun providing you great blogging material day in and day out heals a lot, so I’m a lot less angry about 2002 than I used to be. Anyway, a lot of stupid shit got said in 2002, much of it by people who should have known a lot better than PSY. Sure, given what was said and his current prominence, an explanation was in order. And he gave one. In fact, the apology he gave went way beyond anything I was expecting, even mentioning the “sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world.” Not to sound like a raving lefty loon, but given that the US did back a series of (admittedly, quite competent) military dictators in South Korea between 1961 and 1987, he didn’t have to put it that way.

– As for President Obama attending the PSY performance, I can understand why some might ask questions. Frankly, though, given how the president sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years, I don’t really think a couple of stupid things PSY sang in the heat of the moment in 2002 should be a deal breaker. Anyway, compared to Wright and Bill Ayers, PSY is virtually Captain America.

– See also Iheartblueballs and Sonagi’s comments in the discussion here.

PSY’s anti-American past?

Over at Busan Haps, Bobby McGill writes about a story I’m quite surprised hasn’t developed more interest in the month or so since it first broke, namely, some very, ahem, blunt lyrics (which I think are worse than the translation provided) reportedly sang by PSY during the anti-American protest season of 2002.

Psy reaches 500 million viewers in shortest time. And Japanese Youtube users suck.

Don’t blame me, blame the Korean Wave Research Institute and Newswire:

n the meantime, in Japan, they express doubts on the globally dominant status of “Gangnam Style” on YouTube, generating conspiracy theories about its possible manipulation. Such an outrageous argument is tantamount to doubting a world record in an Olympics marathon. Rigging is perhaps possible if it is a local portal, but to express skepticism toward the views generated from 222 countries on YouTube, the world’s largest user-created contents sharing site should be viewed as a primary school kid’s jealousy and envy. Such interest in conspiracy theories about rigging in Japan only attests to the great significance of the record on YouTube.

On 30 Most-Viewed Videos on YouTube, there’s a Japanese video titled “An Experiment”. As of Oct. 19, it registers whomping 237,170,000 or so views (with “AKB48” at 80 million views as the second most-viewed as a Japan-made video), and it contains the most grotesque and preposterous content of all 30 most-viewed videos on YouTube. It shows a Japanese woman putting Mentos in coke to make it explode, another lowly example showing the video-related preference of the Japanese.

Mentos in a Coke bottle… par for the course for a culture that couldn’t produce decent ceramics prior to the 16th century.

(HT to John Power)

Gangnam Style: Americans just late to the party

In Foreign Policy, Mark Russell notes what while Americans might be learning about K-pop for the first time, Korean pop culture has been a big deal in Asia and elsewhere for quite a while:

Korean pop culture may not (yet) turn heads in Los Angeles or London, but its impact — economic as well as cultural — across the developing world is startling. First taking off in China and Southeast Asia in the late 1990s, but really spiking after 2002, Korean TV dramas and pop music have since moved to the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and now even parts of South America. “Gangnam Style,” a music video by the rapper/satirist PSY, has been viewed 292 million times since it was released in July. Since then he’s been welcomed with open arms, and has been spotted teaching several celebrities his iconic “horsey dance.”

Indeed, the rise of K-Pop is the bellwether of a variety of trends that are changing the global economy (and emerging markets in particular) in fundamental ways. Its success as a product – but, more importantly, as a cultural brand promoting Korean exports ranging from soft drinks to cosmetics to consumer electronics — suggests that Western countries aren’t likely to have a lock on the hearts and wallets of developing countries for long. More generally, it illustrates the new reality that the North-South pattern of trade and cultural exchange that has dominated the world since the ascendance of European colonialism is giving way and making room for unexpected soft power.

Read the rest on your own.

Psy reaches No. 2 on US Billboard Chart

Psy’s manager is claiming in the most recent US Billboard singles chart, “Gangnam Style” has hit No. 2, just behind Maroon 5’s “One More Night.

Oh, the humanity.

The site doesn’t reflect it yet, but I guess it soon will.

So, I take it you’re not a fan of Psy, then?

Oh my…

And in case you haven’t seen US Naval Academy cadets doing “Gangnam Style” yet

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