Category Archives: promoting homosexuality

Oh, boy


It’s been, well, interesting to watch people flip out about the news that Zico will be appearing at a Korean hip-hop festival with Migos.

Part of what’s interesting is that this just isn’t big news in the Korea media. It’s a hip-hop festival. Zico is a hip-hop artist. No one is shocked that he’s going to be there. Even the fact that he’s replacing Yuk Ji Dam after her mess wasn’t actually a big story.

But this got reported as a collaboration, which…might be kind of a stretch. As far as I can see (granted, it’s not like I’m fluent in Korean, so I could be missing something), Zico and Migos are just appearing at the same festival, and some of the Korean outlets are hyping it up. Even if Zico and Migos are actually collaborating, there’s nothing to indicate that it would be anything more than this one festival.

But lo! English-speaking K-Pop fans must! make! this! about! who! deserves! it! which is so fucking bizarre–I’d assume that any popular hip-hop artist deserves to perform at a hip-hop festival, but I am kind of simple that way. It’s especially weird in this case, because you would think that any SJW worth their salt would just throw up their hands at this one–has Zico been more offensive to Black people than Migos has to Asians? Is one somehow more homophobic than the other?

Your move, Offset!

But, of course, that assumes that SJWs are actually interested in, you know, social justice, which is rarely the case. This seems a lot more like people trying to prevent Zico from getting anything that remotely appears to be prestige in the U.S. market. That prestige apparently is reserved for one and only one K-Pop group. Even if they use the N word and make colorist jokes. The magic of problematic!


Jeez, guys


This happens:

And everyone goes running to this post. I guess we must be getting new fans—all the old farts are like, “Those two haven’t kissed before?”

This is why it’s called a FOREIGN country


Of course the news that Zico will be appearing on one of Taeyang’s songs has lead to some discussion over whether or not Zico deserves such an honor, given his defective character. (Yes. You would perhaps expect Big Bang fans not to play this game, but . . . welcome to K-Pop.)

The specific context isn’t important, though–I want to talk about one particular exchange because it is something that I’ve seen happen repeatedly whenever Zico’s sins are under discussion.

First, some SJW comes up with a list of what he has done that is bad. I’m going to screenshot this one, because (quite possibly for the first time) it is factually accurate. These are things Zico actually has done–most other lists include a lot of fanciful inventions to make him look racist, sexist, or homophobic:

And the other person replies, Oh, but Zico got dragged by K-netz for all that.

That’s a pretty typical reply, regardless of the accuracy of the “Zico is racist/sexist/homophobic” list–whatever it was, K-netz dragged him for it!

But here’s the thing: Zico got dragged by K-netz for none of that. All that stuff upset American fans, but not Korean fans.

Would you like to see the list of things Zico has been dragged by K-netz for?

  • Dating Seolhyun
  • The Thailand scandal
  • Another member of his group wearing clothing with Japanese writing on it during a Korean Independence Day celebration (happy Korean Independence Day, by the way)
  • Kissing a man on Saturday Night Live
  • The rice-pizza scandal

Notice a gap there? No concern about racism; no concern about sexism; no concern about homophobia (quite the contrary, in fact). Case in point: The American controversy over racism and homophobia in “Tough Cookie” was SO big . . . it resulted in a couple of Pann posts explaining to Koreans that it existed. (Kissing a man? Government sanction of the show. No lie.)

Korea is 96% Korean. The use of American slurs or anything that requires knowledge of American history doesn’t have a huge impact there, because Koreans (including the Koreans who do these things) don’t understand–that is not an excuse, that is a fact. This is why you have really weird shit, like Koreans doing the minstrel Michol character, and then saying it wasn’t racist because they didn’t make him that dark.

None of that is the same as saying that Koreans are not capable of understanding that something is offensive and why (and then apologizing, and then having those apologies left off those SJW lists). But it does mean that education is required. It’s simply unrealistic to expect Koreans to have the same intuitive knowledge of what is offensive to Americans that Americans have (just like an American isn’t likely to have the same intuitive knowledge of what is offensive to Kore–Jesus Christ! Did you just give your money to that store clerk with one hand!?).

Education does work though, which I think is something these K-Pop SJWs like to ignore, because then they’ll have nothing to post about. (Other than, you know, shit that actually matters–but that stuff is scary and hard.Show Me the Money never even used to bleep the N-word out of raps; now it’s widely understood among Korean rappers that it’s better to avoid the use of that word (even though they’re not white). It’s an uphill climb, of course: Why would you expect anything else, especially given Korea’s demographics? Korea is a country with a 96% rate of ethnic homogeny trying to remake itself into a multicultural society–that’s not going to happen without a few (more than a few) hiccups.

Keeping my finger on the pulse of K-Pop


OK: So we all know what this blog’s mostpopular post is, right?



But I’ve been noticing that lately, it hasn’t been all that popular! At least not as much as it used to be.

I had to investigate!

It turns out that my perception was kind of accurate: The average looks per day for that post went back down to its historical average in August, after shooming up to three times that average in April after this happened.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 2.24.03 PM

Why is Zico always on the left?

Well, you’d kind of expect that, right? I mean, now that Zico’s dating news is out, it’s got to be pretty hard to convince yourself that he’s not into women, no matter how bizarrely attached you are to shipping or how angry you get that Seolhyun is seeing someone who is not you.


A special message from Seolhyun to all the haters out there: She’s playing “My Heart Bleeds for You” on the world’s smallest violin. And they can kiss her ass.

And in fact, daily views for most of August are considerably lower that the average would lead you to believe!

Why is that?

Because the day after the dating news came out, there was a big surge of interest in that post!

Hope springs eternal, doesn’t it?

And LL Cool J should apologize for having entered your girlfriend’s placenta


So the latest “controversy” is about BeWhy, because he won Show Me the Money 5, so now he’s famous and it’s time to look for reasons to hate him.

This is one of these particularly stupid things because it’s people getting their panties in a wad over a lyrical theme that is extremely common in hip-hop: BeWhy said his flow was so very awesome that even lesbians get hot over it.

Of course these are HOMOSEXUAL HATE LYRICS!!!!! and not, you know, pretty standard in hip-hop, in which a male rapper’s flow is often so very awesome that even [lesbians, your girlfriend, your mother, any other unlikely/inappropriate woman, all women without exception, straight men] are compelled to whip off their clothing and throw themselves on the dude in a sexual frenzy.

It’s such a common theme that it was even parodied by Flight of the Conchords.

If you’re wondering why it’s a common lyrical theme in hip-hop music, I’d suggest some research into the history of African-American music, in particular “easy rider” blues songs–these lyrics are meant to be over-the-top and comical, not as something to be taken seriously.

This kind of “controversy” is why I wish K-Pop fans (OK, fine, the dumber and more fetishistic K-Pop fans) would stay the fuck away from Korean hip-hop: They’re astonishingly ignorant of the music and can’t seem to understand that not everything is intended as a Sunday school lesson.

Gatekeeper problems


Apparently Hyunseung (formerly of Beast) has been getting hassled by haters, so fans of his have filed a criminal complaint. What was interesting (although not at this point surprising) to me was their explanation of how a relatively small group of people have had this outsized impact on his career, including getting negative stories written up about him in the media (which of course is easy enough to do, because K-Pop journalism is pretty much an oxymoron).

I think this underscores that, while haters don’t often represent the majority of the public or even of fans, they can have this sizable impact in K-Pop–if their target is vulnerable. Hyunseung quit Beast, and he did not take the trouble to file this complaint himself: I don’t know if he’s actually depressed or if he seriously just does not care, but he obviously has not been defending himself with any vigor (and his label has done absolutely nothing). This has left the field open for bullies to do what they do when you don’t.

In K-Pop decisions can get made by people fairly high up that encourage the bullying. For example, I feel pretty certain that the recent stupid complaints about that kid from the rookie group NCT U have been so loud because equally stupid complaints got another kid ousted from the rookie group Day6. This is what happens when you feed trolls–they just want more.

(And hey, isn’t it remarkable how, as Monsta X has gotten more popular and less vulnerable to trolling, That Jooheon Kid’s imitation of and disrespect for Zico has gotten so much less problematic? It’s really amazing, because it’s exactly like how as Block B has gotten more popular and less vulnerable to trolling, Zico’s imitation of and disrespect for G-Dragon gotten so much less problematic as well! It’s almost like those people were pulling all that dumb shit right out of their asses, and never gave a fuck about any of the entertainers involved in the first place!)

In case you are wondering just how bad (and how highly-placed) the gatekeepers can be, I will point out that I still haven’t seen anything to indicate that the KCSC had anything say about the Korean SNL skit where Jackson kissed a man. Now, I certainly don’t think that they should–if the KCSC could just fuck off with their stupid homophobia, I’d be really happy about that–but I want to emphasize that this is a government entity whose regulatory decisions are apparently being manipulated by…a passel of K-Pop haters.

Tax dollars at work!

Anyway, some people complain that Seven Seasons is constantly threatening legal action, but I think you can see why–if you don’t slap these people down, you end up in a situation like Hyunseung’s, where one or two fanatics are single-handedly crafting your public narrative.

ETA: Oooh, another case of a relatively small group of anti-fans coordinating a hate campaign. Again, it’s not that difficult to do because the Korean entertainment media will pretty much print anything.

Same gay planet, different gay worlds


Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 2.24.03 PM

I’ve been going back and forth on doing a post like this for a while now, but I think the recent sanctioning of the Korean SNL provides a good opportunity to talk about how the issue of gay rights in Korea gets perceived by English-speaking K-Pop fans.

Anyone who witnessed the “Tough Cookie” brouhaha has to notice that the accidental use of an American homophobic slur in a song written by someone whose English is not so great got a LOT more attention in international K-Pop circles than an instance (not the first!) of institutionalized, government-sanctioned homophobia. Given the silliness of the skit, with this sanction the KCSC has effectively ruled that any portrayal of homosexual activity, regardless of context, is inappropriate for a teen audience.

Because the Sexual Orientation Fairy doesn’t visit until your 18th birthday, don’t you know.

Anyway, the commission took up this issue because the skit generated complaints (so these people were busy). It is going to be interesting to see if they also respond to this skit, which aired about a week later:

or if Jackson just doesn’t have sufficiently committed haters.

I do think it says a lot that this kind of government action didn’t touch a nerve internationally the way “Tough Cookie” did. I’m sure one reason is that K-Pop fans tend to perceive idols as these kind of puppets to judge and control. No one is getting in a lather because the KCSC isn’t shaving its head and groveling before them because it’s too abstract, and an entity like that isn’t going to listen anyway.

But I also think that this kind of homophobia is largely outside the experience of (oh my God I’m actually saying this) Young People in America Today. There’s this kind of naivete about how acceptable homophobia can be–which is a good sign, I think, but it can blind people. When I was in high school in the latter half of the 1980s, for example, nobody else at school knew what the word “homophobia” meant. When I explained it to them, they thought the concept was hilarious–There are people out there who actually think there’s something wrong with hating gay people!! HA HA HA!!!

Those were the days….

But having had that experience is why I didn’t assume Zico’s apology for “Tough Cookie” was bullshit, as so many other (younger) Americans did. As I hope the sanctioning of SNL made clear, “[Zico] has no prejudice or negative intention with respect to homosexuals, and he has respect for sexual minorities” was not a statement that his label had to release, otherwise he’d lose his audience because everyone would hate him–that’s just not the case in Korea (at this point).

That naivete about Korean attitudes toward homosexuality can be quite startling. For example, here’s an interview with a very out young gay man about how awesome it is to be in Korea and back in the closet.

The truly scary thing is, he doesn’t even realize he’s in the closet! He has fallen into the Tolerance Trap that was so very popular before AIDS came along–everyone “tolerates” you for being gay until they find out that you are gay. It’s exactly the same way we “tolerate” child molesters!

[ETA: And the video I put up in my next post has a great example of the kind of thing that can create the impression that Korea is really open to gay people–but that doesn’t really mean that at all.

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Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 4.46.20 PM

Yup, just a couple of dudes, sleeping on each other in the same bed. Looks pretty damned gay to us, but as Ask a Korean notes, that’s because we’re simply more aware that homosexuality is a possibility. The Zico/Park Kyung kiss got dinged because it removed all deniability from the subject.]

The communication gap runs the other way, too. I mean, obviously, if people aren’t going to accept “[Zico] has no prejudice or negative intention with respect to homosexuals, and he has respect for sexual minorities” as some kind of statement in favor of gay rights, then there’s not much hope. But it’s also true that things that Mean Something to Koreans don’t necessarily Mean Something to international fans.

Things like:

#블락비 동생들. 최고핫한 #아이돌 멋지고 착한

A post shared by Tonyhong1004 (@tonyhong1004) on

블락비 지코와

A post shared by Tonyhong1004 (@tonyhong1004) on

have a certain meaning in Korea, and it’s not “I hate gay people!”