Sunday, July 28, 2013
Ramblings and Musings: Monday Morning Therapy with Dongsaeng
Well, hiya there! And how are you doing? I'm just fine, thanks. Sorry for my MIA action this week on Monday. I didn't forget. I wasn't sick. I wasn't out of town. I just really had nothing to say. Sometimes Mondays are like that you know. I'm still enjoying the latest music video releases from the likes of KHJ and Junsu and wasn't really ready to discuss any others that have come out (because they just weren't as epic and monumental in my extremely biased opinion). Today though, as often happens, I was waxing philosophical as I showered and dressed for the day. So many thoughts and ideas were spinning around in my head and so I decided that I would strike while the iron was hot and write it all down in preparation for next week's Monday Morning. Did I mention that today is Wednesday? I would have posted it today while still fresh but Wednesday is Unnie's day, so you will get the slightly stale version. Sorry. Sort of. Stale isn't the best word for it. Better to write while the juices are flowing, right? And what I'm writing about isn't time sensitive or anything. So it's more like putting my thoughts on ice for a few days. Once they're thawed by Monday morning, they'll be just as fresh as they were the day they went in, down, whatever. You know what I mean.
Soooo, what's today's topic? Well, funny you should ask. As I was writing this, I was actually trying to remember myself. I got a little panicky because I couldn't remember and here I was telling you how I was going to share this mind-blowing stuff with you. So I stalled. Could you tell? I am like blog ninja so I doubt it. Stealthy as I am and all. Two ideas, completely different from each other, are actually swirling around up there. One is angry and full of vitriol and the other not. As I tend to be a generally nice person (hahaha - no really. shut up) I'm going with the non-vitriolic. Okay, that's more due to the time sensitive thing mentioned earlier, as by Monday morning it will most certainly have developed and changed as it is an ongoing thing. I suppose I shouldn't be all vague and mysterious about it. I'll just tell you, in case you haven't already guessed, it's about the whole SM/JYJ/FTC thing. You know, Fair Trade Commission finding SM and some other acronym guilty of preventing JYJ activity and issuing sanctions against them and SM's swear word swear word swear word response. Ugh. I don't want to talk about it. Okay, yes I do, but not now. Some other time, if for no other reason than I don't want your Monday morning to start off all angry and boiling over. That's not a good way to start the week, wouldn't you agree? Besides, your Monday Morning Therapist shouldn't be responsible for committing such a crime. That's like a malpractice lawsuit just waiting to happen.
No, today I will not talk about that. Today I will talk about something else that is percolating and mulling around up in there under the hair. Today I talk boy bands.
I was out to lunch with some of my gal pals yesterday. One asked a couple of them about a recent concert they had attended. This concert featured blasts from the past such as Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block. They were kind of sheepishly admitting that they ended up enjoying the NKOTB more than they thought they would. Come on girls! You're children of the 80s and teens of the 90s. That was our playground. Why shy away from it? Now, as a matter of full disclosure, I will say that I myself, back in the day, never could claim to be a fan. Why? Because that's just my personality. It may not come as a total shock to you, but I am one that tends to automatically avoid pop culture. If everyone is doing it, it's not for me. For example, and please don't judge me too harshly here, I am a former Twi-hard. Oh yes. I read the books. I went to the Twilight Prom. I went to multiple book signings. I dressed up. I was very much into it. But it was back when it was still this small phenomenon and not the ugly monster it became. This was long before the first movie was ever made. Once the movie came out and it became a part of mainstream pop culture, my interest died. Poof. Gone. Ick. No more. I haven't even seen either one of the last movies. I just don't care. It was cool and kind of underground (oh goodness, please don't call me a hipster - groan) back in the day, but now it's just a hot train wreck and I'm running far far away from the carnage and trying to play off the fact that I was ever there. What was it that changed? The stories didn't. They're still the same that they were. But when public attention grew, I changed. I have always been this way. It is my curse, my anti-pop culture curse. So, back in the day when groups like NKOTB and later NSync and Backstreet Boys were popular, I couldn't have cared less. I listened, no joke, to classical music. Yeah, like Mozart and his homies. Yo, he was da bomb! Why? Because no one else was doing it. It wasn't what was expected of me, a teenage girl, and far be it from me to ever be a stereotype.
Okay, so what does this have to do with what I'm here to talk about? Well, I of course took that opportunity to point out to my friends yesterday at lunch that there was nothing wrong with liking boy bands. They, knowing my "weird" interests of course laughed. And then the topic moved on and was done. Except it was resurrected in my mind this morning as I had my ponderous, contemplative shower time. It got me thinking about the differences between those boy bands of yesteryear and those I love and adore today. And it got me thinking about culture and society in general. Why? What is the appeal of Korean boy bands to someone who, back when it would have been socially acceptable, steered clear of such things? My own personal quirks aside, I came up with another additional reason, and it's one I believe with a rather large scope. A scope that reaches far beyond hotties dancing and singing (though, I am still a big fan of that of course). Going along with my shun-all-things-pop-culture, I never understood those that followed celebrities or cared one whit about them. I didn't know who married who, who cheated on who with who, or whatever current news/scandal was going on in the entertainment industry. TMZ and Inside Edition were totally lost on me. It even went as far as to anger me when people cared about such vapid nonsense. Ha. Now look at me. Now I care, but not even about my own culture - about one on the other side of the world. A culture I have no personal connection to. I wish I did, but I don't. I simply stumbled upon it one day and was caught up in this whole new world in a way I have never before been. Is some of that the novelty of it all - the fact that it's something no one else around me is doing? Yes, definitely. I fully admit to that. Yet, there is more. There's a whole world of stuff out there that my friends aren't following that I too am not following. So why the K world?
You know, when I first started watching dramas, I insisted to my teasing husband that my interests would never go beyond just watching a few tv shows now and again. I told him that I wasn't interested in learning about Korea or Korean culture or society. I wasn't going to try to learn the language or any other silly tomfoolery such as that. It's laughable now to me, as here I am two years later and so completely and totally engrossed in this culture that I must every once in a while step back and remind myself that I am just a visitor here and sadly not a full-time resident. Though, and this is just me rambling more, at the same time I'm grateful to be who I am from the culture I'm from. I'm proud of my heritage. There are points about my culture that I love and treasure. I have not, nor do I ever plan to, denounce my American culture. I am a red-blooded Daughter of the Revolution and American to my core. This, however, does not preclude me from recognizing and appreciating things and aspects of other cultures, and, as has been the case with Korea, embracing a good majority of it. As I sit back and watch my own beloved society crumble around me as widespread entitlements and general bad behavior start to take root, I look to cultures, such as those in the East, longingly. Our different culture's entertainers illustrate the divide so well. Let's take a look-see, shall we?
When you think of a Western entertainer, what kinds of things come to mind? Most likely they're related heavily to wealth and a posh lifestyle, as well as the vices that come from such things. Now, wealth isn't bad, wealth doesn't equal these less-enviable traits. However, at the same time, celebrities in our culture are often given a free pass to do things that regular people wouldn't do. I will refrain from getting all preachy, and just leave it up to you to think about. Think about qualities in certain celebs that you see that you don't like. Certainly there has to be something. Now, look at Korean celebs. I am fully aware that they are not perfect and that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than we know about. I am not an idiot. They're human and fallible just like the rest of us. A glaring difference though is what society as a whole is willing to put up with from them. Western world celebs can get away with some crazy stuff and it doesn't hurt their careers. But look what happens to Korean celebs when they do minor things - things that here wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but there can be career killers. There is arguably a greatly increased social awareness on the part of Korean celebs. Not only that, but the whole idea of respect is more valued there. I will never forget the image of Big Bang bowing, down on their knees, to their audience as they finished their tour. Where were the smashed guitars? The destroyed stage? The wild after-party plastering the front page of the gossip rags? What did they do? They acted like pretty darn good well-behaved young men. And they immediately went back to work.
Again, I'm not here to argue that their way is not without its pitfalls and troubles. Of course it isn't. I'm not even going to get into the whole concept of them working themselves literally to death (when you think for example of all the car accidents that happen in the middle of the night due to exhaustion and such). It's not perfect. It's not without its own flaws. I will, however, argue that given the choice, I would much rather support those that work extremely hard for what they have and don't abuse it so openly and brazenly. I love and appreciate seeing a celeb apologize for silly missteps instead of wearing it proudly as a badge of honor. I much more enjoy seeing a "yes sir, can do" kind of attitude than a "screw you, it's all about me" one. Am I over-generalizing? Yup. I sure am. I will argue though that my over-generalization is based upon years and years of watching from the outside. Call me a goody-two-shoes or what have you, but I like that the Korean artists are well-behaved and respectful and humble. I love the "scandals" and how minor they are. I love just how pure and innocent that world is and mourn the day when it is lost, as it most certainly will be. I hope not, but I'm sure it will happen. It happened here, it can happen there. I for one hope that I am long gone by that point because I don't know if I could handle seeing so many wonderful things that they have going for them disappear through apathy and vice.
You know, I had a moment the other day when this struck me. And it wasn't about the giltz world of the idols. It was while watching a news report on that incident in Japan where the lady was under the train and the crowd rushed to lift the train car off of her. The news reporter I was watching was just shocked, because, in her experience, more often, crowds just stand there motionless for lack of not knowing what to do. But the fact that the entire crowd immediately rushed to action floored her. How sad is that? No really, how sad is that? What a perfect illustration of the different directions a society can take. Not that everyone here is cold and heartless and callused. Of course not. Most of us are warm and loving and caring and would do whatever we could to help someone in need. Yet, as a people, we've lost that ability to work together as a whole. We've become so separated and segregated that we've lost that sense of society. Leave it to someplace like Japan to show us how positive a healthy sense of community can truly be when used for good.
My take away from all this is to not put one above another. I simply want to say that there is something that we can all learn from each other. No matter where we are from or who we are, we have good in us that can and should be appreciated by others. This is ultimately how Korea won my heart. Sure, the boy bands and dramas helped draw me in, but the people and culture and what they have to offer kept me coming back for more. Imagine what a force we could have in this world if these cultures drew the best from each other and incorporated it even just a little bit more instead of blindly and foolishly thinking that one has it more figured out than the other. There has to be a way to find balance, to bridge the gaps that separate us and find common ground that we can all believe in and support. Korea has a heritage and a culture that they can and should be proud of. The people of Korea make me happy to know them better. I am proud of and humbled by the wisdom and maturity they demonstrate. Their voice may be a quiet one in all the overwhelming buzz of the world, but it's one we should really stop and listen to - we just might be able to gain something of value. I know I have
Now, what kind of Monday Morning Therapist would I be if I didn't give you something pretty to look at and/or listen to? A pretty lousy one I'd venture to say. I'm going to start with one that is slightly personal. I'm honestly a little nervous to put this out there for fear of looking like an even bigger weirdo than I already am. But really, what else is a girl supposed to do when, by a total and freaky coincidence, her biggest hearthrob just so happens to have the same colored bedding as her and posts a selca on Twitter? Especially on a lazy Sunday afternoon when she has nothing better to do? So yeah, I had a little fun with it. And I'm kind of proud of how it turned out. It makes me laugh and I'm hoping it will make you laugh too. If for no other reason than the silliness of it. Oh goodness, you guys.... this is so embarrassing! I was trying to mimic his face and look really goofy doing so. It's not fair when your idol is undeniably prettier than you. Okay, time to stop with the stalling and just yank the bandaid... Here it is --
Change in plan...my computer is seriously messed up. I can't put anything else on here. I don't even know if it will publish at all at this point. So I will have to post any videos I wanted to share on the FB page. I'd link it, but again, computer isn't working and letting me do such things. My apologies. P.S. Never let your children touch your computer unless you want it bombarded with all sorts of "goodies". Grr. I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids....