Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WTF Korea, seriously?

So I know what you're thinking. Trust me, I'm all in your mind. Don't get so panicked, it's comfy in here, but you should totally sit up straight, and get your left hand from under your chin. Done? Good. Now I know what you're asking? Who is this sexy, sexy, slightly photoshopped bitch, what does she have to do with anime or manga and are there more, sexier, less photoshopped pictures of her?

The answers to your questions are quite simple. Lee Hyori (이효리), nothing, and Google knows all. However, if you've listened to an episode or two of our podcast you should know at least this truth. We like Kpop and I love me some Kpop. Said banner pic happens to be of the Sexy Queen of Kpop and she happens to be an object of lust for the majority of the members of the podcast. In fact the only members that don't lust after her are the rare few that don't know who she is, but I digress.

No, stop asking me questions about her. It's an eyecatch people, focus, please.

Now in the coming weeks (months?) there'll be a full length episode discussing the Korean music industry, why I and others have mostly abandoned Japanese pop in favor of Korean pop, we'll have some sample songs that you haven't already heard, and we'll discuss a bit of the darkness that goes on, but overall the intention is to expose you to something that you may enjoy. Korean music does share quite a bit in common with American mainstream music and you may find that this helps you to adjust to the music in another, completely foreign language.

Today though, I'm bringing the darkness. Why? Why would I choose that your first peek under the magical curtain be the evil side instead of the music, the charismatic performances or the beautiful people? Damn you've got good questions today. Well the answer is simple.

This Guy...

Now, I know you don't know who he is yet, and trust me, at this stage it's far too late. But he and his all too appetizing body serve as a very good introduction into the shit that's all kinds of fucked up about Kpop. As to what exactly the issues are surrounding him, we'll get into in a few paragraphs, but first allow me to lay some groundwork and flashback a bit.

Now as denizens of the internet, I'm sure you belong to an internet community or two. As such I know you've come across some truly epic trolls and then the more disappointing douchebags with a keyboard who should be ripped away from their internet connection and reeducated until they either gain a sense of humor or remember how to be human beings. The founders of Penny Arcade, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, known to us best as Gabe and Tycho summed it up more succinctly and perfectly than I possibly ever could with this image.

Again, I'm in your brain, cause you're like “But Dame Dr. Foxy, I know people on the internet are d-bags. That's in Internet 101, what does that have to do with anything?”

You're right. In 101, we teach you about trolls, and netiquette, and how you should never visit 4chan without a firewall and a condom and never at your grandmother's house or using Internet Explorer. Now, some of you may be aware of the case of Megan Meier, a 13 year old who hung herself after a boy she'd become close friends with online became increasingly hostile towards her and eventually said “The world would be better off without you”. This boy turned out to not exist, and was the creation of the mother of a former friend who apparently had nothing better to do than harass a 13 year old until she committed suicide.

Now, my friends, we are heading towards the crux of the matter. In Korea, there is a very vocal minority contingent of Internet Users that seems to make it their sole purpose in life to police their celebrities. These people dedicate what must amount to years of their lives destroying the things that their idols have worked so hard to achieve, digging up even the most miniscule remark or spelling error they've made in an attempt to drag them down to their knees.

But every entertainer has their haters, right? After all, you're probably saying, "Foxy, you don't like Megan Fox". You're right, and all I do is avoid her movies and her interviews as much as I can. The post I made was to address a very specific issue, and I thought my anger at the time over it was hilarious and it would perhaps entertain you. If I saw her in the street and she didn't attempt to attack me or insult me personally, chances are I wouldn't try to punch her in the box, nor would I go on the internet and create false rumors about her, implying that she likes to partake in sexual activities with cows.

The idea that I'm discussing here is that of the Anti-fan, a person who, instead of being filled with joy when seeing an entertainer perform, instead is filled with hatred, rage, and jealousy, and they band together in groups with the purpose of making that person's life and career a living hell. May not seem like much of an issue, right? They're just dorks on the internet, American celebs have to deal with what they say and do all the time, who gives a fuck right?

Well, Korea seems to have a special brand of psychopath, or at least one that is strangely encouraged into thinking that they have the power to exert their will over someone's life simply because that person lives in the public eye. Let me hit you up with a few examples.

  • In 2006, the leader of the group with the world's largest fanbase, Jung Yunho of Dong Bang Shin Ki was given an energy drink by a “fan”. This drink was laced with glue, and his throat locked up, he had to be rushed to the hospital and he survived. He later begged the police not to press charges against the girl. (A decision which probably led to my loss of respect for him)
  • On the poisoning tip, in 2000, a former member of late 90s era boyband GOD, Yoon Kyesang was handed a poisoned drink that his mother later consumed. She survived.
  • In 1998, a jealous fan who thought that her idol, Moon Hee Jun (formerly of boyband HOT) was dating an actress named Kan Miyoun mailed her a letter and a razor blade, presumably hinting that the actress should kill herself.
  • The actress that is now famous for her roles in Goong and Coffee Prince, Yoon Eunhye was shot in the eye by a solution of soy sauce and vinegar, nearly blinding her.
  • The Chinese member of Super Junior, Hankyung was often mailed threatening messages, and in one case a bloody knife, demanding that he go back to China.
  • In 2007, a young girl that had lost over 40kg in an effort to please her late grandmother, was found dead in her room. Why? This girl had committed the crime of posing for a picture with a member of Super Junior. The anti-fans then stalked her online, sending her thousands of threatening messages, texts and voicemails, eventually pressuring the 16-year-old into suicide.
  • On the topic of Super Junior, the leader insinuated that he'd been insulted by Olympic Figure Skater Kim Yuna, and his fans responded in kind, leaving thousands of comments deriding her and demanding that she commit suicide? The end result? He confessed that he made the whole ordeal up for attention.
  • While this death, that of an actress who was near the point of stardom after a fine portrayal in Boys Over Flowers is not because of anti-fans, it does expose the other flaws inherent in the system. Jang Jayun committed suicide in an effort to call attention to the horrific things she was made to endure at the hands of her management. With the promise of making her a star, they were essentially forcing her and other girls to act as prostitutes for executive types in the industry. The document she instructed her former manager to hand over this year detailed all of the things that the police refused to believe. It is terrible that she had to die in order for the shining light to get turned on such horrible practices, but maybe she will effect more change in death than she did in life.
  • And there is the case of Mega-star actress, Choi Jin Shil. If I began to type in detail the events surrounding her death, this blog post would probably number well over 15 pages. Wikipedia covers it quite well here. Suffice it to say, that this woman's troubles didn't even end in death, as someone smashed her tombstone and then stole her ashes from her gravesite.
  • There are many other cases of actors, actresses and singers that are coerced into suicide by the hands of keyboard vigilantes, U-Nee and Jung Da Bin are just a few on the long list. Suicide is considered the more “honorable” option, a concept you may be familiar with from your anime and manga viewings. Add to that the fact that mental disorders are still considered a stigma, and many people are not willing to seek help for depression, and it is quite easy for the anti-fan to end up with blood on his or her hands. However, without consequences, and encouraged by their lack of prosecution, they still continue.

So that brings us to today, and to the fine young man pictured above. Just over four years ago, Park Jaebum (who until yesterday was the leader of popular beastly idol group 2PM) moved to Korea from Seattle, in order to pursue a career in music. Back, then after months of training, and moving to a new environment where he did not know the language, the culture or the food and seemingly ostracized, in frustration he posted on MySpace (SEE! It IS EVIL!) "korea is gay.... i hate koreans..." The words of his 18 year old self were uncovered less than a week ago, and patriotic (and anti-fans) Koreans flocked to the Internet (where else?) to unleash their rage. A petition soon began to circulate, demanding that he commit suicide, receiving over 4000 signatures. As their fanclub made an effort to support Jaebum, news came down last night (four days after the incident began) that he officially quit his position as 2PM's leader and was leaving for Seattle, not wanting to continue to drag down his brothers into his scandal.

Predictably, the corner of the internet in love with Kpop exploded with anger, frustration, sadness and betrayal. The fangirl tears and agony were epic, and as a person who thrives on schadenfreude, I was up for hours reading through threads. While I certainly understand his responsibility to the other group members and a part of me hopes that this is only a temporary hiatus in order to get things to calm down, the fact that he gave into the pressure from dumbfucks who don't deserve anyone's attention still irritates me. This sort of (cowardly?) behavior only empowers the anti-fans more, only creates more human scum who believe that they are entitled to dictate the way people in the spotlight behave, who they fall in love with, when and where they're allowed to do so, what they wear, and how they speak.

The saddest part about this, is that there's absolutely nothing wrong with what he said, yet fans and anti-fans alike seem to agree that his behavior was reprehensible. WTF Internet? Have we reached the point where freedom of speech and freedom to declare how you feel about an unfair situation are outlawed? I mean shit, in the US, the singers we listen to and the actors we watched have spouted far dumber shit probably in the past 3 hours than he'll probably ever say. I mean, Chris Brown beat the fuck out of Rihanna, and you know what, his career will probably come out okay. On the other hand, this poor kid typed something to express his frustration and his pain at missing the people that loved him four years ago, and just like that, because some Internet using tool-bag decided it was a good tool for hatred, his career is over.

*To my Hottests that accidentally find this blog (dumb name for a fanclub, I know) as a Wonder Girls fan, and a Hyuna fan specifically, I know this hurts now, I know this is fucked up, but if JYP replaces Jae, trust him. I mean, The Wonder Girls got Yoobin, and look how that turned out. For Hyuna too, she now has 4minute and they're looking like a damn fine group. Give Jaebum, 2PM and JYP some time to figure out what the next step is.

Meanwhile, we can only hope that some intrepid Korean documentary filmmaker will take it upon himself or herself to create a fantastic film on the culture of Korean Netizens and Anti-Fans, thus allowing the rest of the world to experience what we International Korean Pop fans know, just how much you are lowering the reputation of your country in the eyes of the rest of the world. Or, alternatively, it seems like it'd make the subject of a pretty good sociology/psychology thesis or dissertation. So there you go, don't say Dame Dr. Foxy Brown never did nothin' for you. I just made you a film and got you a graduate degree.

Lemme leave you with the following 2PM official Music videos, probably the last Jaebum will ever participate in as a member of 2PM

BTW, Congrats for proving the 18 year old version of him right. The actions taking by the anti-fans and those who rallied behind them, are indeed, pretty gay.

Again & Again

I Hate You


noelle said...

yes sweetie, korea is gay (kinda like what my bf thinks of big bang), lol!

sissi_style said...

sorry but for me 7=1 7-1=0 no more no less NO ONE ELSE !!!!

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