Monthly Archives: July 2015

This is kind of a neat milestone

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When I was updating the Schedule page today, I realized that there are now four different concert acts on it: Block B, Zico, Bastarz, and Taeil.

Block B is pretty much a given, and Zico’s been doing hip-hop concerts as a soloist certainly ever since BlockB.com went live. Bastarz had a few concert performances while they were promoting “Conduct Zero,” but I wasn’t sure if they would continue to perform as a unit once those promotions were over. Apparently they are. Taeil performing solo is new–he’s going to appear in a pretty sizable concert (the venue has 7,500 seats!) focusing on idol vocalists that’s headlined by Lee Jae Hoon.

That’s pretty cool. I mean, obviously I would love a full-group comeback and all that, but it’s also nice to see how successful they’ve been in promoting a new sub-unit and soloist. I think that says something about the quality of Block B’s current management–it’s not just that Seven Seasons isn’t constantly making dumb mistakes; they’re actually quite good.

And the group is being set up well for the future: Having more people who can draw at concerts just gives them greater flexibility. Taeil can reach out to a different audience, while Bastarz can fill in for the whole group or for Zico when the schedule gets complicated (which will definitely happen if the members keep acting and doing musicals). Seven Seasons can reserve the full Block B for big venues, but still make money from the smaller venues because they’ve built this menu of talent to offer people.

I assume the solo/sub-unit push is going to ease off for a bit so that Block B can have a full-group comeback and then do all the year-end shows. But I don’t expect things to end here. Park Kyung has done hip-hop concerts in the past, he composes, and he’s soloed on albums, so he seems like a really obvious choice to push as a soloist. And they were able to get Taeil going despite his ballad focus, so Jaehyo should also be doable.

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Getting back to Old Reliable–Zico’s appearance on Show Me the Money 4 seems to be drawing a new audience to BlockB.com. There’s been an upswing in traffic this month (if things continue the way they have, July will beat May, which was when Block B was so active in Japan), but the telling detail is that everyone is going for the mixtapes….

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Seriously?

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This is not the first time I’ve seen people respond to new subbers by telling them that they must to go through Block B International. That’s just weird. The whole “I definitely won’t support any other subbers” thing is like this bizarre extension of the already-bizarre notion that you are committing adultery if you like more than one K-Pop group. You’re not. Stirring up shit like this only makes sense if you’re hoping to start a feud.

I certainly appreciate Block B International. I also appreciate BeeSubs. I appreciate all the translators! In addition, I appreciate all the various fans and fan organizations that monitor and publicize information about the group. I am very, very aware that without these people, BlockB.com would be up shit creek. I appreciate them every day!

Is BlockB.com associated with any fan organization? No! Have I ever even met anybody from any Block B fan organization? Not to my knowledge! Am I in regular contact with any Block B fan organization? No!

Is that OK? I think so! As long as we’re able to all pull in the same direction, I don’t see why we have to be more organized than we are. It’s simply unnecessary.

I’ve seen other comments elsewhere that assume we all must be closely affiliated with each other and all part of the same (tightly-knit!) organization. And I guess we’re all also supposed to live together and periodically have orgies just like the members of your favorite K-Pop group do, right? Because you’ve completely lost touch with the way people actually behave in real life, and you have no concept of boundaries?

Guess what? We have lives. I personally feel like I dedicate plenty of my time to Block B. I’m not particularly eager to have my entire social life revolve around them as well.

And on a strategic level, not having everyone be in the same little group frees people to do what they can do well. When Block B lost their lawsuit and said they were going indie, my first reaction was, “Oh God–they’re going to need help reaching an English-speaking audience.” And I did contact Block B International with a very vague, I’d-like-to-help-in-some-way-but-I-don’t-know-how e-mail, which they quite properly ignored.

Then I started thinking about what had to offer. I sure as hell didn’t speak Korean! But there had to be things that I could do that some other fan might not be able to do.

I came up with three things:

1. I could afford to buy the BlockB.com domain name.

2. I had experience setting up a Web site.

3. I had excellent English-language skills.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Once I realized what I could do, I did it. My plan did not require assistance from a fan organization, so I didn’t waste time by asking to be put under some organization’s umbrella when there was no reason for me to be there. I certainly didn’t worry that my work would somehow diminish the labor of other fans–on the contrary, I knew it would amplify it. One of the rules of marketing is that it’s always better to have more material out there for people to discover rather than less.

I will say that part of me felt like I needed to ask permission from Block B. But I had no idea how to do that, and I figured that if they wanted the domain name, they could always ask. In the meantime, the Web site would be up, marketing the group to English speakers.

And you know, if Park Kyung had been any more grateful for it, I would have had him arrested. So I think that was the right call there.

Render unto Caesar…..

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This sort of thing:

just really needs not to happen. Seriously, the person is asking for one line: “KOR/ENG translation by XXX.” It’s not remotely worth starting World War III over. Just make them happy and give it to them, and then you’ll get your English translation and you’ll be happy too!

It seems like this kind of disrespect for fan labor has been cropping up quite a bit lately. Translating and subbing is hard work and is very time-consuming, which is why translation teams flake out so often–they start out thinking this task is manageable, and then three weeks later, they realize that there’s no way. Trolling, abuse, and being a dick about credits only makes it more likely that the translator will look at the next episode and think, “This is so not worth doing.” [ETA: And, I should note, nothing expresses appreciation for a translator quite like a donation.]

The other thing I’ve noticed is this trend to “recolor” fan-taken photographs. The idea is to counter shadism, which is of course a real problem that deserves addressing, but you have to consider how your tactics are going to be received. (Did you know that death threats are never ever a good idea? It’s true! Not ever!)

The main thing is that fan photographers are accustomed to having their materials screwed with, because it happens all the time. (For example, quite recently the P.O/Taeil fan photographer Monkeyfish had a photograph used to illustrate a malicious post about the two.) In particular, having someone else “correct” the color of a photograph or even a painting happens a lot, and that’s HUGE trigger for visual artists–it’s regarded as extremely patronizing, akin to rewriting a novel to “correct” the author’s prose. As a result, fan photographers are not likely to see efforts to counter shadism by editing the color of their photographs as anything other than some random asshole being a dick.

And while someone doing an unauthorized translation may not have a lot of options other than no longer doing them and pulling their subbed videos down (which tends to happen anyway), photographers typically do have legal copyright for their work. The serious fan photographers in Korea sell their work on a regular basis, and I have seen them threaten legal action against people who alter or use their work without permission.

Bleeping fail!

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Seriously? They bleep “underwear” but as long as Zico says “motherfuck” instead of “motherfucker,” that’s OK. Because the “-er” is the really offensive part of that word. And “you know you can’t fuck with my team”? Also OK.

Hey, the important thing is that he didn’t mention gynecologists! (This notion that you can’t make jokes about gynecology–ahahahaha. I grew up in a medical family. I could share my grandfather’s joke about gynecology, but I–yes, even I–think it’s too vulgar.)

Awwww, these are cute

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1-pair-of-character-socks-blockb-po 1-pair-of-character-socks-block-b-zico

Block B character socks!

Unfortunately they don’t seem to have anyone other than Zico and P.O. And they won’t fit my ginormous feet anyway. But they’re cute!

ETA: Further research (you know, into Block B socks. Well, at least it’s not underwear) uncovered these photo socks, although they are not as cute and it sounds like you don’t get to pick the design….

I think they should include character socks in their next DVD. It seems like a logical step.

Responsibility

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So I don’t normally do this kind of thing:

But I did today because after using two headlines (“Block B’s Zico Reportedly Involved in Car Accident Caused by Drunk Driving”“Police Reveal Results of Investigating Zico’s Car Accident”) that were criticized for implying that Zico was responsible for the drunk-driving accident that might have killed him, Soompi went on ahead and used yet another headline implying that Zico was responsible for . . . well, you know the rest.

Because according to Soompi, it’s Zico’s car accident, not a car accident where he was a victim, or a car accident that, you know, might have killed him because the person who is paid to drive him got drunk on the job.

I mean, to me, the result of the police investigation was to exonerate Zico of responsibility, which is why he’s not facing charges. So a responsible journalist might want to headline articles about these results something along the lines of “Police Exonerate Zico in Drunk Driving Accident” or “Zico Will Not Be Leaving ‘Show Me the Money 4’ Following Police Exoneration,” but yeah . . . I’m just a dumb biased fangirl who doesn’t know shit about journalism. Whatever.

Back when I was a reporter at a local paper, and I attended a public meeting regarding an issue upon which I had reported, and every single person there–the panelists, the moderator, the interested members of the public–quoted my article on the subject, my feelings could best be summed up as: HOLY SHIT!!!! THESE PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE WHAT I WRITE!!! I’D BETTER BE FUCKING CAREFUL AND MAKE SURE IT’S REALLY SUPER-ACCURATE!!!!!!

But that’s just me! I’m dumb! And uptight! And old! And have I mentioned dumb! I clearly have not adjusted well to this Brave New K-Pop News World where you just make shit up about people.

You know, until they threaten you with legal action. (Did you know that sometimes the people you write about are bilingual? Oh, fuck!)

(Normally with this kind of post, I would be using the “don’t get sued” tag, but at this point I’m hoping that Soompi and its ilk do.)

ETA: Gee, can you get sued for a misleading headline when the body of the article is accurate? You bet your ass you can! Why? Because, depressingly enough, most people never read past the headline.