Category Archives: promoting homosexuality

Keeping my finger on the pulse of K-Pop

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

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Yup.

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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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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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 #비범 이랑 #태일 이랑 방송준비. 내 조카가 너무좋아하는 블락비동생들 흥해랏

A post shared by Tonyhong1004 (@tonyhong1004) on

#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!”

Oooh, I get it

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I was thinking the video for “Toy” was just about heartbreak (with disposable idols being more the subtext than the main story), but around the 1,000th viewing, certain things about it have become more clear.

First: Why is Zico’s hair so bad?

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Did you never cut your doll’s hair as a child? Or maybe your sister’s doll’s hair? Or maybe somebody else (probably your brother) cut your sister’s doll’s hair and YOU took the RAP for fucking TEN YEARS until you FINALLY managed to convince her (at the age of 15!!!) that, NO, you had not been LYING for TEN YEARS, you NEVER CUT HER DOLL’S HAIR?

No? Anyway–that’s what it looks like when you do that. (Or DIDN’T!!!)

Second: What’s going on at the end? I mean, obviously, they all decide to give up on Crush’s girlfriend, but then how do they cope with the termination of what was apparently a fairly complex polyamorous relationship?

Some do not cope positively. B-Bomb just gets beaten.

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That’s another “trash” meme for you, if you like them.

But Kyung takes a more destructive path:

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He mopes about the toilet, and then his ever-sensitive G.I. tract does what sensitive G.I. tracts tend to do under stress. There’s killer flatulence:

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And a badly clogged toilet.

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But the damage Kyung causes is nothing compared to Taeil, who has gone ’round the bend and become the serial killer in a horror movie.

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That’s blood on the walls there. No, it’s not from the toilet.

Is there anyone who is able to cope positively with this setback and display some much-needed resilience and growth? Why, yes, there is!

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P.O looked at his dead romance and said, “Was that what I really wanted? Or was I just buying into a heteronormative fiction that doesn’t truly reflect who I am? Maybe I should crawl out of this prison-like dumpster, abandon this truly foolish pursuit of women, and embrace my authentic identity as a fabulous fashion designer with sassy gold pins, a leopard-print pocket square, and a bow around my neck!”

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And they all lived happily ever after. (Well, Crush’s girlfriend was always kind of embarrassed to tell people she used to date P.O because she knew they’d make jokes about it behind her back, but you can’t have everything.)

Of course I’m on the road

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Yeah, when I was posting before about when Block B was likely to come back, I almost wrote that it was SURE to happen this weekend because I’d be in Vancouver for the Dynamic Duo concert. But then I didn’t, but then of course that’s exactly what happened. So, you know, the Video page of BlockB.com will be updated when it gets updated–sigh. It’s a bit of a bummer because of all the Korean SNL stuff, but there’s not much I can do about it.

Speaking of which–you guessed it–the Fan Service post, which is always this blog’s #1 post, has been getting a lot of attention lately. I want to point out that, while SNL just posted this clip:

there’s a lot more to the skit than that, and it is explicitly a spoof of fan fiction.

Some people seem honestly quite unaware of the context there….

ETA: Ugh, I made the mistake of reading the NB article and the comments on AKP. Jesus. There are some hateful, hateful people out there. Now I’m REALLY hoping that this song and album are massively, epically popular, just to prove those homophobic idiots wrong again, some more.